I turn off the car engine.
“Ed? Do you need a wee?” I ask.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes”, nodding seriously.
“Ok, then, lets go to football!”
At 3 years old, football classes are not really football classes. They are essentially good behaviour sessions, like you have for dogs. A man with a whistle and a fine pair of breasts stands at the front and tells them to stand, sit and chase a ball. And they do it. Ed’s football class has a inspired and genius array of interesting children to observe, most notibly a small chubby chinese kid that looks like Michael McIntyre did as a little boy.
There are so many kids at Ed’s footie class now that when they line up on the red line (everything is in colours) and the coach says “Ready, steady, RUN!” they look like the start line at The Grand National. Off they go! Jumping over the little flat cones that look like breast pads. Michael McIntyre falls at the first hurdle with a monumental face plant. SPLAT! His dad has to wait until the rest of the horses, I mean children, scurry over him before he can try and attempt a rescue. Michael McIntyre is lying on the floor, face down with his hands over his head.
A puppy races along the indoor pitch. The puppy looks behind him constantly as he does a lollopy run, grinning, with his tongue out. No, wait, that is Ed. Dammit Ed! You are a real live boy, Pinocchio! Run like one. Puppy Ed does an inpromptu swerve and runs back to me.
“Need a wee”.
I can only find boys toilets. How sexist! Only BOYS toilets! For FOOTBALL! Girls can play football you know. (Husband later reminds me that it is an all boys School. There may be a clue in that).
As a woman, who likes scented hand washes and hand creams in a loo, who does not go out on a Friday night and is not forced to use the loo in Wetherspoons, I am horrified by what I find when I tentatively push open the boys loos with my foot. It is like a horror movie – with a bad ass cop in a leather mac chewing a cocktail stick pushing open the door to a crime scene…*creek*….
It is vile. It stinks of stale, sticky urine. I know this is a toilet and toilets serve that very purpose. I know this. But it is like they have hosed down the walls in it. My body siezes…
“Need a weeeeeeee”. Says Ed.
I have to force my body to move forward…
“Don’t touch a THING” I hiss at Ed, like the wee wee monster will hear me and come out with a BOO and hug me and slather me in it’s sticky wee wee ness (can you tell this bothers me?)
“Ok” he says as he goes to put his hand on the rim of the metal urinal
“DON’T TOUCH IT!” I bellow.
“Ok. Yeah. Won’t touch”, as he goes to lean on the wall, before being yanked away, stood firmly straight and upright like a toy soldier by me.
(later my husband tells me on one occasion, Ed washed his hands in the urinal thinking it was a sink. *twitch*)
In my horror at what is before me, I forget that the door has slammed shut on us. I have to get us out safely somehow, without touching anything. There is no loo roll. The loos are blocked with ALL the loo roll. I have no makey-shifty glove to use. I panic. I realise I need to limit exposure of my skin on the door knob. There is not a doubt in my mind what is on that door knob. Pinky finger is called up to service. With phenomenal strength, I use the pinky finger on my right hand to pull the door open. I have actual magical powers and super human strength. Nice. But with my strength, comes the knowledge that that pinky is now my achiles heel. I can’t actually use it to touch anything else until I sterilise it with boiling water and a nail brush.
But we have escaped, and with pinky finger held out firmly away from the other fingers, head back to wallow in the other stench teenage boys emit - sweat and feet – the indoor football pitch where the class is now taking turns scoring goals.
Kids are weird. Fact. They lack stranger danger. They seem to like strangers. The scowlier the stranger, the better. If they take a liking to you, then you as a stranger can’t shake them off. No matter how hard you try. A child I had never met until this session at football, sat next to me on the mat, lay down, and used my shoes as a pillow. A PILLOW! I was shocked. I did a polite laugh,
“Oh goodness! Be careful! They may smell of cheese!”.
He scowled at me and put his thumb in his mouth.
“I like cheese” he said.
Hmmm…he’s one to watch…
There goes Lola, rolling around on the floor whilst the kids take turns kicking the goals, doing roly polies from one end of the hall to the other. Roly Poly Lola.
It is Toby’s turn to score goals. He runs along, wobbling his head side to side with his tongue out going “blahb blahb blahb”… as you do…
Competitive (C*ck) Dad is hoofing the ball with gusto at the back wall where it lands with a mighty echo and comes boshing back through the crowd of children and parents, parting the ones lucky enough to see it like the Red Sea…
“DANIEL! Come on! TACKLE DADDY”. Daniel is a twig legged 3 year old with glasses and a runny nose. Daniel attempts a tackle, but Competitive Dad swipes his feet out from under him and Daniel wipes out. Daniel cries. Competitive Dad doesnt notice. This may not be because he is a bad dad though – he has squiffy eyes that look in different directions. Maybe the good eye was just looking somewhere else…
…Perhaps at Fitty Footy Mum. There she is in her heeled boots and designer skinny jeans, tapping away on on her Blackberry, whilst Sebastian sits next to her picking his nose.
I am fully aware I have just rattled off a bunch of stereotypes. But by jove, these people exist! I know diddly sqwat about football. Nothing at all. But I know my pinky finger has the strength of Zeus.