I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Playground Biotch Gauntlet

One of the more annoying things about the kids' school is having to run the daily Playground Biotch Gauntlet during afternoon pick up. The main part of the school is an open asphalt court and a playground, both of which you need to walk through to get to the main part of the school. There are several small cliques of parents who, having no life of their own, show up to pick-up several minutes early. They then spend their time talking, bitching, gossiping and in general being irritating members of the public while their kids run riot around them.

"Sarah! We have to go! COME ON!"
[ten minutes of chattering]
[ten minutes of idle gossip]
"NU, SARAH! You have swimming/karate/soccer/obnoxious child lessons!"
[more chatter...with no actual intention of, you know, leaving]

You get the idea. Part of what pisses me off about this is that these parents spend ridiculous amounts of time at school - but somehow are always "too busy" to actually volunteer any of their precious time to help out. EVER. They think it's of more value to their child's education to stand in the playground and complain than it is to actually give the teachers a hand now and again.

Because I'm famous as "the triplet lady," a number of these parents like to make various comments to me. Often the comments are friendly and nice, and sometimes the comments are stupid ("Your son and daughter are SO identical! How DO you tell them apart?") Either way I don't love that loooong, loooong walk between the front gate and the school door. It's my version of running the gauntlet - the Playground Biotch Gauntlet [of idiotic comments.] As a result I've had to re-institute the "I'm not looking so you are not looking" stare as I make the long trek.

The INLSYNT stare is one that all parents with multiples perfect from very early on in their parenting. It's the look you have on your face when you're pushing the biggest stroller in the world through the mall, you have exactly 6.7 seconds in which to find the perfect present, and you DO NOT want to stop and talk to every well-meaning stranger who feels the need to chatter and touch your precious babies. It's the "please don't make eye contact with me" stare which hopefully acts as the warning signal to all approaching old ladies and gets them to veer off course. I graduated from using this stare once the kids were old enough to be "obviously" not identical. I've re-instituted it in the playground so that I can get in and out without having to deal with commentary (unless of course Poppet's Mum and/or Neighbour's Wife are there, in which case I don't mind a quick chat.)

On Wednesday I had no choice but to stick around in the playground, so that I could watch Neighbour's Wife's kids while she had her parent teacher conference. Quid Pro Quo, she was going to look after mine while I had my conference (yes, my kids are great and smart and blah blah, thanks for asking.) That short thirty minute span had me feeling very, very grateful for my usual "get the hell out" method of child pick up. I had to deal with these encounters of the Playground Biotch Gauntlet:

- DD1 was eating a cereal bar I brought her. In my defense, it was a rare moment of junk food which I allowed because I stupidly took the kids to the supermarket with me. Taking kids to the supermarket = conned into buying some crap. So DD1 is enjoying her treat when another Mom comes up to me and says, "You LET your kids eat that stuff?!" Well, dumbass, here's a clue. There's my kid, and there she is eating it. So, YES, I do let them eat that stuff. This same genius then tells me how my girls are identical, and wants to know if I've had them tested. When I point out that, in fact, they look nothing alike, she tells me I only think that because I'm their mother. Apparently, nobody can ever tell them apart.

It was at this point that I noticed the pretty little bird in the tree and simply HAD to rush off and go see it ... being the avid bird watcher that I am, of course.

- One of the other Grade One mothers is a bit of a nutcase. A lovable, well meaning, hippie nutcase, but still a nutcase. She comes up to me and says, "Oh, are you waiting for your teacher conference?" When I indicate I am, she asks me to do her a favour. The favour? Could I please ask the (secular) teacher about WHY the kids don't learn the Mah Nishtanah (Passover song) at school? Because after all we are paying for a Jewish education and our kids should be taught that song.

Okay, maybe she's right. But...lady...it's SEPTEMBER. Passover is in MARCH. What, exactly, is the teacher responsible for math and reading and life skills going to say about the kids not learning a Passover song? Better yet, why do I want to waste my teacher conference x 3 talking about some song that you are worried about 6 months in advance?

I got rescued from that one by the timely arrival of the principal, and my quick thinking self who told nutcase Mom to ask HER why the song isn't taught. Score one for a quick escape via the handball method.

- On the way OUT of said conferences, I pass yet another Grade One mother. "Here for conferences?" she asks. "Yes," says I, thinking - um, it's 5pm and I have no kids with me, why ELSE would I be here? "Everything okay? Kids doing fine?" she asks. "Yes, fine, thanks," says I, thinking, "and WHY exactly is it your business if my kid is a moron or a genius? "Oh, yeah," says other mother, "[insert snooty and sarcastic voice] of course they are. YOUR kids are probably all going to HARVARD." "No, actually, just one is. The other two are going to Yale," says I, thinking, "Listen you stupid jealous cow, it's not my fault that your kid is god's idea of a cosmic joke."

*sigh* ...and THAT is why I hate running the Playground Biotch Gauntlet. *stares*


Poppets mum said...

LOL - I can so relate. I am soooo over picking poppet up and I only do it once a week. It seems the older our kids get the bitchier the parents seem to be - why is that? I used to love drop off in the mornings and having little chats with the other parents but now I am glad I do the drop and run.

As for the "mah nishtana" - poppet learnt it at school. Maybe this other mother's kid just didn't get it this year.

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

I guess i have been really lucky.

I love hanging around after school with my kids so that they can run off even more energy on the playground (and avoid more TV).

Perhaps having several entry/exit points in the school helps.

You seem to have lots of bad luck with inappropriate advice (assvice).
Perhaps you need to cultivate a strange reputation of your own - crazy Mum.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


Normally I don't mind my kids having a play - for the same reasons you mention - so I tend to just kinda 'hide' around the corner a bit. :) I think hiding behind a tree probably qualifies me for Crazy Mum status. I should say that a VAST majority of the parents are nice people, and well-meaning. On that day I think I was just struck with a whole lot of idiots.

As for the rest of it, you've never steered me wrong when it comes to parenting advice - and I might have to steal the expression assvice. LOL!!


Heidi said...

A friend of mine has a theory on why she and I don't understand or fit in with the bitchy cliques: those women have sisters, sisters who are close in age. I really think she's on to something. They may be 40, but on the playground they act 14. The attention-seeking, the gossiping, the backstabbing, the self-centeredness...

We are three weeks into our new school and already it's been made clear that I don't belong. And really, I don't want to because they seems to stereotypically stand for everything I'm against, but it's strange feeling so isolated again, certainly compounded by the fact that I'm home alone again with a newborn all day. Funny thing is, as typically happens to me in these situations, the other misfit, a stay-at-home-Dad, and I are becoming friends. I'm always the freaky woman who hangs with the Dads. Guess it's no wonder I"m not to be trusted LOL.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


Oooh...making friends with the Dads! How dare you? *snort* I wonder about that sister connection - I've got a sister but she is 7 years older than I am, so we kinda missed that whole fighting thing altogether. (well, okay, we fought, but it was pretty rare.)

Here's hoping the SAHD is a hottie. :)