It’s 7:30am on a Saturday morning and Clare did not know this was a time that existed.
It’s still dark (it’s not, but it feels dark) and cold (it’s the middle of summer).
She’s driving to pick up a toddler, so his parents can go to a wedding and talk to other grown adults, perhaps for the first time since their three-year-old was born.
When Clare arrives, the toddler is sitting on the lounge with a toy that he announces isn’t his. After a few mumbled instructions, and a wave towards a pile of toddler accessories, the toddler’s parents leave, and Clare is alone with a baby who she quickly learns hates being referred to as a baby.
It takes an absurdly long time to leave the house, mostly because the toddler comes with a great deal of trinkets, including but not limited to: sunscreen, a hat, a nappy (just. in. case), a toy, another toy in case he decides he hates the other toy, Crocs, a change of clothes, a screwdriver that reminds him of his dad (probably should have confiscated that but eh), a book, a lunchbox, a water bottle, and a number of unidentifiable yet equally necessary objects.
LISTEN: If your kids go to bed with the Giggle and Hoot goodnight song every night, we’ve got some bad news.
Once in the car, on the way to our house, toddler mumbles to himself, and Clare wonders if she should make light conversation.
“How’s pre-school going anyway?” she asks, before getting a response that she is 90 per cent sure was in Spanish.
She realises one of the best qualities about toddlers is that they have no sense of social awkwardness, and she sits in silence for the rest of the trip, while he chats to himself about cars or dogs or something.
At home, Jessie embraces toddler who has sticky hands and no one knows why.
Toddler asks Jessie why she is wiping down the bench, and she says, “I clean on Saturdays”.
He replies, “But it’s Tuesday…” and both of us start to question our own sense of reality.
The plan is to take the toddler in our possession to the Wildlife Park in Darling Harbour, because we’ve decided that kids are just like dogs, and you gotta tire them out with activities.
He agrees to the plan, and says he is excited to see the ‘moos’ which is code for cows.
There are no moos.