"Here," Tracey said to me when I arrived straight from work. She planted a kiss on my lips and shoved Miss0 into my arms then tottled off with Miss2, who looked like she was about to fill her boots if someone didn't get her on a toilet seat very, very quickly.
We have a superb park in G-town, with loads of swings and activities and, best of all, a couple of flying foxes. I love it because the kids love it. All around our kids were running and playing and having an awesome time.
I sat on the grass with Miss0, absently letting her crawl around and stick the odd leaf in her mouth. I felt a kind of peace.
It lasted all of five minutes, roughly until Tracey arrived back from the loos. Sitting on the grass with a 10 month old is boring when there's a flying fox not twenty feet away. I wanted to have an awesome time as well.
"Tracey!" I called out, noticing for the first time Miss0 tearing some grass up by the roots and giving it the ol' taste test. "Tracey! The baby is putting all sorts of stuff in her mouth. You know you shouldn't trust me with this sort of thing. It's very irresponsible of you!"
Tracey hates it when the kids put unsanctioned things in their mouths. I could hear her thinking, 'People walk on that grass!' at me as she came and relieved me of my fatherly duties.
But then it turns out putting-yucky-things-into-mouths was kind of playing on her mind.
"Soapy (Miss2) dropped her lolly in the bathroom," Tracey told me. "In front of a loo! Then she bent down and picked it up to put back in her mouth." To make it worse (as if this story needs it) they're unisex loos here in the G-town park.
I gagged a little. A blade of grass is one thing, but a piss-coated jube!?! Yuck!
Fortunately, Tracey managed to dive across the room, Lara Croft style, and snatch the lolly out of Miss2's hand just before she started sucking on it again.
"You should have let her eat it," one of the other parents told us.
"Sorry? What?" I said, sure I'd misheard.
"We used to worry about that sort of thing but our daughter cured us."
It seems their daughter doesn't get sick. In fact, when they gave her the four year immunization shots her arm became so red and swollen they raced her back to the doctor only to be told it was her body fighting the immunizations themselves.
"It's fantastic!" the doctor told them.
And while I'm sure they were joking about us letting our daughter eat the lolly, I must say I was impressed with their story. How did their daughter get this fantastic immune system?
"Licking hand rails," this parent told us.
"We tried to stop her," the parent insisted, I'm guessing because Tracey's face, and mine, demanded some sort of explanation. "But we got sick of saying, 'don't lick the railing!' so we just gave up. I mean, it didn't seem to hurt her."
Unfortunately for me and my hopes of going on the flying fox, if there's one thing Tracey hates more than the idea of horrid things in her kids mouths, it's sick kids.
"Here," Tracey said to me, handing back Miss0. "Go sit on the ground and feed your daughter some grass."
I don't think we're in any danger of my wife encouraging her children to suck on urinal candy yet, but I'm guessing, because of the unique skill set I bring to the childminding table, I'm about to become more hands on with my kids at functions.
(don't forget to thank our sponsors by clicking their links)