We stood there, three moms watching the chaos of the playground. They had a general eye on the situation and their children. I had a general eye out for my boys, but my focus was on the toddler who thought he could do the climbing thingy. But as always, I’m calm, radiating a confident laid-back air as I watch Tornado A, suspended three feet up, reaching for a rope rung. I knew he wouldn’t reach it. I knew if he did he wouldn’t be able to climb the spiderweb. He didn’t know it yet. And knowing my youngest child, who believes he is as big and talented as his older brothers, he was probably going to try it and fall. I was close enough to be at his side the moment he hit the ground.
Compatriot Mom (just because she’s up for anything I suggest and I’m up for anything she suggests. Well, almost, she’s still trying to convince me that it would be a great idea for us to get drunk and play miniature golf at midnight. I say we should skip the alcohol and go and bring The Flip.): He’s going to fall, isn’t he?
Walking Mom (because we go walking three days a week or actually we plan to go walking three days a week but then there’s sick children, school meetings, volunteering, errands, so we can’t go as often as we like.): You’re pretty calm about this.
Compatriot Mom: Good job, Tornado A. That’s a boy; back up. He’s a smart kid. You’re so easy-going.
Walking Mom: It’s the third one. With our first one, we sterilized everything. We got the bottle just at the right temperature. We kept him from touching trash at the park. We coddled him. The second one. Nothing was sterilized-
Me: Don’t you need to do it just once?
Walking Mom: We’d pull the bottle right out of the fridge. We told him to drop the trash when he picked it up. My husband said if we had a third, we would just dump the formula and water in the kid’s mouth and pick him up and shake him.
Compatriot Mom: Totally.
Me: No. I was always like that. Tornado E was like 10 months when we took him to the beach the first time. We were sitting under the umbrella and he shoved a fist full of sand into his mouth. I thought, “Fine, he’s tried it; it tastes gross; he’ll stop.” Then the kid was grabbing handfuls and handfuls throwing them into his mouth as fast as he could. I just stared. I dialed my mom and said, “Mom, how many handfuls of sand should I let Tornado E eat?” My mom said, “None.” “Oops.” And she said, “You know, birds poop on that sand.” AHHHH! “STOP! STOP! STOP!” Yeah, my dad still asks, “How many handfuls of sand should you let a baby eat?” And then he laughs.
The other moms just stared at me.
Walking Mom: So the apple core thing was just another day for you?
Compatriot Mom: Apparently.