Friday, 13 June 2014

Park Life

     Welcome to the park on a weekday afternoon. To ensure that all visitors have a safe, enjoyable and fun!! experience, please ensure you observe the following rules.

     You cannot sit on the pavement side and smoke. Evil Parents Who Smoke MUST sit on the grass.

     It is permissible to share a bench with a stranger, but only if all other benches are in use. It is never acceptable to share a picnic table.

     Pushchairs may be green, black, or red. Only pushchairs with latte holders are permitted within the enclosure.

     People who are taking care of their grandchildren must have one too many children to adequately supervise them all. In the case of toddlers, one is one too many.

     Only children from surrounding schools may use the facilities. It is unacceptable to visit a park that is not the closest one to your school. If you are a private school pupil, you may not enter.

     Never talk directly to other parents or children. Always address your comments via your own child thus: ‘Darling, I think that little boy doesn’t want to get off the slide yet.’ to hide your murderous rage that Other Parents aren’t making sure their own offspring share.

     All of the Other Children will happily play together, despite never having met before this moment. Your children will demand constant interaction with, physical assistance from, and ceaseless vigilance by you.

     One Token Dad is permitted to be in attendance at any given time. His son (it must always be a male child) is required to wear a hat.

     If you bring food with you, it is mandatory for Another Mum From School to join you. She will then hand her beautifully behaved child rice cakes, organic carrot sticks, and mango juice, whilst your children bicker over Ribena and Pom Bears. She will silently judge you, and you will hate her for this.

     At four o’clock every weekday, there will be a sudden influx of teenagers, swearing and insulting members of the opposite sex within their group. At one point, a male teenager will shout ‘OY! Amy! You fucking dickhead!’ as they pass you. You must crisply respond ‘I’ll thank you not to use that language in front of my children.’

     The sense of victory you experience as they hang their heads and mutter an apology will be short-lived, as you realise they think of you as a Proper Grown Up. The feeling of your soul shrivelling into an aged and decrepit husk will last for a long time.

     Your lack of parenting skills will be cruelly highlighted by your nine year old son’s inability to correctly operate a swing, especially in comparison to the 18 month old boy sitting next to him.

     A group of university academics will walk past as you reach your lowest point. They will look smart, pretty, young and well dressed, talking excitedly about a concept you will never understand. You will feel dull, stupid, and insignificant. Sensing this, your children will reassure you of your importance by announcing that they need a wee.

     Despite the acres of green fields surrounding the play area, it is expected that the Token Dad will attempt to start a game of football with his young son, in the middle of the toddler play area. The game may only be abandoned when at least three young children have been hit in the face by the ball.

     Tears are expected upon at least one of these occurrences:  arriving, having no one to play with, no free swings, sand in eyes, being hit by Token Dad’s football, tripping over on soft sand, not being allowed to be Princess Jasmine/a Clone Trooper, leaving. Please note that all children in the group must cry at least once. Parental tears are not considered eligible.

     No adults may use the zipwire, if there is anyone else in the play area. When the play area has been vacated by all other occupants, it is a requirement that the female adult who uses the zipwire must fall off, and land heavily on her buttocks on hard, wet sand. She must then realise that there are still Other People in the play area, and that they have just seen her knickers.

    On your departure, you are obliged to take five kilograms of free sand home with you. Please ensure you store it correctly in your shoes, bags, pockets, underwear, mouth and eyes.

     Thank you for your understanding and co-operation. 

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