M doesn’t think that Small Z is mixing with enough kids her own age. I’m edging over toward agreeing with him. Mostly. So, this morning (after a night in which I discovered Small Z at about 4am entirely bathed in her own wee like she’d encountered a plunge pool) I hoicked her, my eyebags and myself down to the local playgroup.
When I say local – I really mean it. There is a community centre about a three minute drive away, and I suppose I should utilise it more than I do. They have playgroups twice a week. I have taken Small Z there once before, but that was before she could walk: at that time she was the youngest there and it was all a bit wasted on her. Now that she is running about and chatting away, I figured it might be worth another try.
It was good and bad. I accept that where we live there is a higher bogan percentage than you would get in a more inner-city area. Being this close to the wondrous Cranbourne, it’s to be expected. But you have to wonder when you look up the town name in Wikipedia and find…
I chatted to some of the mums, and Small Z had a go with playdough for the first time. The only kid there a month or two younger than her did not speak and had a huge yellow snot worm running from her nose to her mouth. The majority of other kids seem to be thuggy little boys who were preoccupied with hitting, kicking, running away and then screaming. (Maybe this says that I am just out of the loop, but none of the little boys that I know are remotely like this. One of the mums was so at the end of her tether with her two, that she left in tears.)
Small Z seemed generally happy to be in a place with lots of new toys, and was sort of interested in the other kids. Most of them were older than her – she mostly steered clear of the thuggy boys. It was when they brought out the food for snack time that I started wondering what I should do, and whether I was on another planet. Should I lie, and say that Small Z is gluten intolerant and has to be very careful what she eats? Or should I just simply state that I don’t let her EAT CRAP?
The snacks were chocolate covered biscuits, Cheezels, pink wafer biscuits, and barbeque flavoured rice crackers. Oh. And a bowl of grapes. Some of these mums were constantly telling their kids to stop acting up or they were going to get taken home…and they were sitting there with plates full of this stuff. And no grapes. Hello? I took refuge in changing Small Z’s nappy, feeding her sultanas that I had in my bag, and filling her full of grapes.
I don’t want to appear like some latte sipping snob, but maybe I am one. I could go on about shows like Jamie’s School Lunches – but, really, why bother. Surely these people aren’t dumb enough to think that this shit is any good for their kids? Therefore, they choose feed them crap, and then moan when they’re dealing with sugared up little monsters. Of course that stuff is fine in moderation, and I’m sure Small Z will encounter it at birthday parties and love it. Good on her. But playgroup? That’s just weird. And wrong.
Oh yes, I know I’m sounding holy. I have one toddler. What do I know? I know that I want to be able to take her somewhere nearby to hang with some other little ones her age, once a week for an hour or two. So if anyone asks me, I’m going the for the pussy option and will say she is gluten intolerant. And when I take some food along for everyone, I’ll be the one with the grapes, kiwi fruit and banana raspberry mini muffins. And this SHOULDN’T make me feel like a hippy, but it does. I wish one of these was nearby.