Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

7 October 2015

Welcome to the jungle (playground)

Miss4 seems to be getting on fine at school and she's made some new friends which is good.
She has no idea what their names are though. Which is fair enough.
Names aren't so important... unless you then find yourself talking the unnamed child's parents.

‘Oh and you must be Miss4's Dad’
Yes, nice to meet you <Tucks t-shirt in>
[Are you meant to kiss? Shake hands? Headbutt? High five? Camel? Who knows…]
<Nods meekly>
And you must be... er...
<They fail to spot my verbal groping>
the mother of...
<They still fails to assist the awkward social situation>
<Gives up and guesses>
'Yes I am'
<Internally celebrates random guess>
And you must be ....
<Feels on a roll, so guesses again> Frank?
<Gets frowned at>

So good news for Miss4 getting on nicely at school. Friends are developing and she currently races into the playground ready to play.
Long may that reign. Hurraz hurrazh. Happy little girl, happy parents.

I, however, am finding the playground a bit harder to manage.
What I really want to do is grab everyone's attention...

<Everyone looks and is already thinking weirdo>
Yes! Sorry to interrupt
But I thought as we adults, are well, adults
That rather than piss about over the next few years slowly getting to know each other
I thought to save time, anyone you wants to be my mate could just stick their hands up
<No hands>
Come on, I won't bite, unless you want that?
<Still no hands>
How about you? Hot Mum over there? No? You sure? Shame... Your mate? No? Shame...
Anyone at all?
<Hand goes up from man wearing football top and cap>
Uh-uh put that hand down again
<Hand goes down>
Anyone? ...
OK then, good to know, saves me some time <Holds back tears>
Shame though... <Voice is cracking>
I'll just go back to my Chocolate and Wine, Shoe-factory on my own then
<All hands go up>

(I'm not sure we'll have enough cake though...)

Back when Boy8 started school, me and Mrs. Amazing had loads of mates. We were young and crazy and still able to out in the evening together and see people. Ahhh drunken memories.
Then Boy8 arrived and staying in became a kind of prison sentence our groovy new thing, we struggled to see our mates quite so much.
However, when Boy8 started school, we suddenly found lots of new mates from all patents in the playground. It was brilliant. New people to play with! No previous reputation! Yay!

So obviously, when Miss4 started school, I thoughy me and Mrs. Amazing would get a lovely new influx of friends to drink play with.
Which I am sure will happen... eventually.

(The plan is to send Mrs. Amazing in first, then when they are already invested and have befriended her, I can stand near them, sometimes. Although I did have to promise not to talk until after Xmas. I assume it was this year...)

I know that hidden amongst all these parent/strangers in the play-jungle will be some amazing people that will become new drinking friends. I just gotta find them
But right now, all I can see is a lot of scary adults, that probably don't want to play.

They seem to fall into five main groups:

Suits (Parents in suits or dressed very smart)
- Normally men, but there's always a few ladies dressed very smart as well.
- Always in a rush, no matter how early they are, or what the time is.
- Lone wolves, friends would only slow them down.
- Will hug child, but at arm's length if possible. Cannot get mucky.
- Might speak to teacher if they feel teacher isn't pulling their weight, and will talk as though addressing a conference hall, in both volume and tone.
- Once child is deposited into school, they leave as soon as possible. Looking very important and busy, and a little bit as though they dropped a huge fart.
- They hate having to walk slow. Suit people are busy people.

(Oh there's my suit...)

Comfies (Parents wearing slippers, dressing gowns, onesies, string vests)
- Normally women, but there's always a few fellas looking as though they forget to get dressed out there as well.
- Never in a rush. Not matter how late they are, or what the time is.
- Gang culture. Found roaming in large groups.
- Never quite sure where their child is, so hugging not really done.
- Would only speak to teacher if forced to, and then only after reverting to teenage self.
- May not notice when child goes into school. May have left ten minutes before anyway, or are busy talking and are eventually asked to leave the school grounds.
- They hate school, and stupid rushing around Suits. They may walk especially slow if in front of a Suit.

First timers (First child at school)
- Sometimes both parents. Mum is more normal, but there's plenty of dropping off Dads.
- Not in a rush at all. Their precious comes before everything else. Work knows and understands, or the appointment is at 10.
- They know no one.
- Will hug the child at least twice, and will not want to let go. Ever. Normally requires teacher intervention for the first week, to help remove the crying parent off the child. Child's hand is held constantly. Would stay watching child through window all day if was not thrown out with the Comfies.
- Will talk to teacher at least twice a day about their '''''worries''''' and ''''''concerns''''''.
- Once child is torn from their grasp, and they are turned forcefully away from the class window, is likely to want to grab a coffee and sit on the floor telling long dull, meandering, stories about their precious. Probably cries a bit as they leave each day.

Old pros (Parents with other, bigger, children)
- Either parent. Mum is more normal, but there's plenty of dropping off Dads.
- Might be rushing, might not. It's hard to tell. Likely to be cruising the playground to see if there's anyone cool about worth hanging about for.
- They know everyone.
- If child can be found they get hugged. But may hug another child (any) just for appearances. Prone to blowing kisses no matter the child's age.
- Will sometimes talk to teacher, but only in bizarre third person, that isn't quite aimed at teacher, but is for them to hear, via the child.
- Once child is thrown into classroom can be seen fist pumping in celebration. Then counting off on fingers, saying 'crap' before grabbing another child (any) and dashing off.
- Will stop and chat for ages, despite wanting to leave immediately. Constantly late for something, but can't quite remember what.
- May have misplaced a child or two at some point this morning, but isn't worried, they'll turn up eventually.

Hungover parent (Wearing shades, smells of booze, swaying a bit, may say 'Cheers' when greeted)
- Either sex. But Mum's tend to hide it better, well, at least don't often stink of booze.
- Probably rushing, but every single movement and step hurts, so ambles at Comfies pace.
- Child gives parent the hug and tells them to stop crying, it will be all right. Parent wails for a bit until child cheers them up and tells them to be strong. May be seen drinking from child's water bottle.
- Will not, under any circumstance, talk to teacher for fear of being busted. May fake phone call (badly) to avoid teacher contact.
- Is relieved once child is dropped off. May rub temples and then leave sticking to the shadows and whimpering a bit.

Which group do I fall into? At least three of them.
Can I see, maybe, why I don't get on with new people sometimes? No.

Anyway I have made a new friend in the playground. The caretaker.
We have bonded over awesome tee shirts. She has twice pointed at me and said 'Cool'.
Which frankly, for a tee shirt, is extremely, very, high praise and has basically made my day twice.
We have since quickly chatted and discovered a shared cultural love of certain films.

But sadly as it's heading into October, and it is no longer just tee shirt weather, I've had to don a jumper. Which is a shame as today's tee was particularly amaze-balls.
Mrs. Caretaker was disappointed as well. She told me so.

(The UK autumn is surprisingly dry and warm this year...)

So obviously keen to make new friends I lifted my jumper up to show off my tee shirt underneath to her. 'Cool' was her response. 
Utterly worth it. 
Shame it was at the school gates, with loads of parents around, but whateve's.

I was quite happy and fine with the tee shirt showing weirdness until a bit later.
When it occurred to me, and bear in mind I am one of Miss4's key role models, that I had just lifted up my top to impress someone of the opposite sex.

I never thought Miss4 would learn that from me...