Playground Tales

Ger Renton by Ger Renton Additional Needs

Ger Renton

Ger Renton

Mummy to three boys and now a mother to a fur baby, Lola. Wife to D and lover of music, books, writing and reading. I'm a believer in the power of...

Bringing Ethan to a playground when he was younger was always a task. We tried hard not to bring him to the same park, as he felt if he played with it, he owned it.

But alas, good nearby parks are few and far between, we did spend time and probably too much time in one particular playground.

Yet, he liked going to different playgrounds yet he didn’t.

He liked discovering, but he liked routine.

It was always a guessing game with Ethan and one I miss terribly.

Let me explain.

He walked over to me and whispered incoherently into my ear.

His speech was never crystal clear but he always made sure he was understood, one way or another.

His chubby curled fingers prodded my shoulder as I tried to pretend I understood him.

He knew I had no idea what he just said to me. I knew I was beginning to piss him off.

I stood up. “Show mom” I said as I placed my hand in his.

“I show you” he dragged me in the direction of some small children playing in the sand pit.

Oh, please let this not happen again my mind raced as the parents sitting around the sandpit watched me being frog marched over to their children.

“He did it” Ethan pointed to a (roughly) four-year-old child.

“Ok, Ethie” I said rubbing his hand, hoping I could escape or at least divert a meltdown.

I bent down.

“They are playing too, you can play right here” I pointed to a little spot in the sand pit.

Ethan at this stage of his life was very much a routine kind of boy; if he played with a certain thing in a certain playground, it was officially his, of course unofficially it was not his; but try as I might, Ethan never accepted this, he suspected I was lying and often accused me of this.

“I won’t, leg him go” he spat.

I now had an audience, we were far more interesting than a mobile phone or filling a bucket with sand; well, to the adults at least, the kids and the boy in question didn't even bat an eyelid.

“Ok Ethie. Mammy and Ethie go slide.

Then we go swing.

Then we play sand.”

I could feel my face beginning to get hot.

“No!” He yelled and went to give me a smack with his little chubby hand, which, by the way, can hurt but thankfully, I was well rehearsed in dodging and predicting such slaps. It didn’t land. “Liar, you liar”

He then kicked me, which did land and did hurt.

I heard the tuts. Not again…

I could feel the embarrassment burning up through my body. Making me itch. I felt like a worm squirming while under a microscope.

“Leg go!!” Ethan roared while pointing at the boy. I was holding his arm preventing him from going over to the boy and shoving him off the digger which was in the middle of the pit.

Ethan had at that time and still does actually, have no sense of danger. He would have rugby tackled that little boy off that digger without a second thought; then he would have wanted to kiss him better after his fall.

“Ethan, you next” I coaxed him, hoping the mother of the boy might feel a full half hour on the digger might have been her boy’s fair share of the toy.

"Bill*iox off!"he roared, the more mad he got, the more his speech became mumbled, “Bog off!" "Billa him, Fu**s you, fug off all every!"

Ethan spat.

“My turn!”

"My turn!!”

I sat on the bench with a squirming Ethan on my lap, right beside my audience.

I am not spending the days my son can walk, talk (even use swear words) and show his feelings, apologising for him, despite how unreasonable he was being. 

I will not lie, the tension was tough, or so I thought.

They began to talk again amongst themselves, not a word could I understand.

I looked at them.

I began to smile and even let a giggle out. Had they any clue what Ethan had just said? Did they even understand it?

They stopped talking again. They shook their heads while I sat there smiling like a Cheshire cat.

I was no longer embarrassed and so caught up in that feeling that I hadn’t even noticed Ethan gnawing at my hands, legs kicking out and head swinging so hard trying his best to connect with mine but even in my aloof mood I was moving my head out of his way.

I smiled at them.

I nodded towards the digger and said “He really wants a go on that” again I pointed.

They looked at me bemused and all got up, got their buggies and their kids and left.

The boy however was still there. Really?

I stood up and walked over to the ship part of the pit and reminded Ethan of how much fun this part was.

He agreed and spent a few minutes going up and down the slide.

I glanced around the area near the pit and wondered who that boy was with.

I heard a deep voice behind me. “Your little man has a mouth on him eh?”

I spun around.

I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. “He does”. I will not apologise ...I will not…

“Gotta say, kinda glad my little man…” he nodded towards the digger fun child, “has a hearing issue” he smiled. “Sorry, I was on the phone, I will get him off the digger now for Ethan”

“Thanks” I grimaced. “Am, Ethan wears aids too “I blurted out.

"I see that!" he laughed, I followed his gaze, Ethan was currently sending his aids down the slide.

“Oh, for…” I stopped myself.

“Nice to meet you both," he smiled and walked towards his son who was now coming off the digger off his own accord.

“Ethan want digger” I pointed to the now empty sand pit and free digger.

“Pid off” he smiled and ran towards the swings.

At the time, I was embarrassed but looking back this story makes me smile, I hope it does for you too and that you remember that even if you’re embarrassed and your child is ‘acting out’ to the untrained eye, at least they aren’t cursing like a sailor, eh?

And if they are, you can always act like you don’t understand them or that it’s your first time hearing such language too.

Life’s too short, eh?!

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