Attempting to outplay, outrun or simply tire out my child is a full time occupation.

Going particularly stir crazy one evening, after having had his bath and already attempting our first bedtime of the evening, I gave up. He wasn’t tired. I got him out of bed, reclothed him and put on his shoes. I decided to walk him down to the park. Usually I let him ride in his pram but I was a lady with a plan, I was going to wear him out if it was the last thing I did. Make him beg for his bed and the sweet release of sleep.

So we set off on our walk. It’s a decent walk down a hill to the park. Actually, I made him run. When we got to the park he had a look around at the play equipment, trying to decide which piece appealed most to a boy given a second chance at awakeness. Just then an old man and his little dog walked past. Decision made. He ran after them.

The man had a ball. His two favourite things in the world, dogs and balls together and moving across the park, away from us. This simply would not do, so he had to follow. The fact that the man only had one visible tooth and enough tattoos to make up the difference was of no concern to him. He gave joyous chase and when he caught up he captured their ball to make sure he was invited to join in their fun. The man held out his hand to get his ball back, my son offered his own hand in return, assuming that he, like everyone else in his world, wanted nothing more than to hold hands while they frolicked in the park.

Together the stranger and his dog, my son and I ran all the way across the entire park, chasing a ball. It got to the point that we were probably following a somewhat unsavoury strange man home and  I was quite uncomfortable with the situation, I had to distract him. Nip this stalking tendency in the bud before it even gets started.

Luckily I had a few tricks up my sleeve and balls in my bag, I pulled them all out and zig zagged us back up the park to the safety of the play area again. The area designed to be endless delight for small children, just not mine. Another man headed past us, walking his 2 dogs and we were off again. Rinse and repeat.

He must have run in the park for 40 minutes flat. The kid has got to be tired now, right? As soon as we got home, after running up the unpleasantly steep hill, he raced to the back door and demanded to go outside to see his own dog. Perhaps to tell him he’s still the favourite? Whatever it was, it wasn’t to fall asleep. He wasn’t in the least bit tired or finished with running around for the day.

I quit.

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