Master J has passed out thanks to two bike rides and a marathon session at a local playgroup ($6 in the bowl, thanks for coming), at which he made his first ever painting – which was very exciting until he started sampling the paint and brush as a possible morning tea treat. I pegged his artwork to the line running along one of the perimeter fences, and it was dry by the time we’d done the hokey-pokey and the cows had slept in the meadow and the frogs had galoomped and Old McDonald had had a sheep… or something like that. My Mothers’ Group friend J has been telling me for months to come along, and boy, I’m glad we finally did, not least because there were four of the other kids from our group there, so plenty of familiar/friendly faces.
Though the playgroup is set up in the grounds of an old church, some of the children are distinctly unholy terrors. I saw a little boy smack one of our little ones, A, right across the face when he met her at the end of the slide. At the grand old age of 15-months-old, A is already a target. She’s petite and sweet, and her mother has said to me several times now, “A always cops it.” Always…? But she’s only 15-months-old! And yet I’ve seen it with my own eyes too many times to discount what A’s mum is saying.
One of the older girls there this morning was a mean little wretch – and yes, it’s an odd thing to feel an immediate aversion to one so young. I couldn’t help it, though, because she was so unpleasant: bullying the other kids until they cried; pushing them away from whatever they were playing with; claiming everything in the place as her own (occasioning much furious darting as she tried stockpiling toys about her); pouting until you hoped for a wind change; whining whenever anyone successfully reclaimed their used and often broken item of choice, and generally behaving like a sour little cow. Her mother, meanwhile, was preoccupied with Baby No. 2, occasionally letting out a feeble, “Share, G,” or “Go and make friends” – not bloody likely in either event. Maybe Baby No. 2 was the root of all this bad behaviour in the first place – for all I know, G was a total sweetheart until she was usurped.
It’s a crazy scene, in other words, full of children exploring their power and testing not only their own limits but also that of the supervising adults around them. Master J fended off a couple of bullies, fell off a bike and fell into a sand pit, but we emerged unscathed and without a single tear being shed. I was proud. Oh, and I remembered to unpeg his painting before we left, so it’s in the kitchen ready to show Llew as soon as he gets home. Do you think it’s nuts to want to frame it…?
The other highlight of this morning was that Master J also loves being on the bike, making riding there and back an unequivocal success. His seat is attached to the front of my bike, and he spends most of the trip calling out, “Wheeeeee!” whenever we get speed up or head downhill. It is achingly cute. When I suggested we go for a bike ride, he just about busted out of his skin with excitement. He knows exactly what I’m saying, too; this morning he took to frantically pacing the apartment pointing at our bike helmets and my backpack and of course out the backdoor, beyond which sits the bike. One of my other friends from MG saw us out on the bike last week and said, “He really loves it, doesn’t he? He looks so happy” – and it’s really true. Besides which, I’m so glad to be able to use it again. I love my bike, so between the two of us there’s a lot more touring to be done.
As for the new project, I was hard at it last Thursday/Friday while Master J was at Family Daycare; it’s now sitting at just under 6,000 words, so I must crack on while the going is good…