I could talk about the Great Mystery of how parents function on week after month (after year!) of interrupted sleep. Or the Great Mystery of how we get any adult stuff done around the endless child-related responsibilities. I mean, the busiest childless lifestyle will feel feels like a luxurious, leisurely siesta after one introduces kids into it.
I could talk about the Great Mystery of loving your child while simultaneously wanting to strangle them, or the Mystery of how such a small person can take up so much space.
But what I’m actually going to talk about is the Great Mystery of what parents are able to randomly pull out of their pockets/backpacks/handbags at any given moment even if their child is not presently located within a 100km radius.
Over the last couple of years I’ve deposited a number of bizarre objects on my desk at work that look completely out of place in a professional adult environment, to the point where they inspire some serious cognitive dissonance with the other objects around them.
The full list ranges from the fairly prosaic items: a stray spare nappy or half pack of wipes from the weekend I didn’t bother toting around the full changing back. A random article of clothing (usually trousers) thrown into a handbag for comparison purposes when shopping and then forgotten about. Teething gel. A handout from creche reminding parents of the symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth and of the necessity to keep sick kids at home.
Moving into the category of the slightly weirder, I’ve reached into my pocket at work before fishing around for my phone and pulled out another kind of phone. Or a pacifier on a clip. Or a toy car. Once or twice it was a member of our herd of giraffes. I’ve had a child’s backpack in my bag. And a small army of Gauls.
Then there’s the one time I discovered a crime scene in my pocket – a gingerbread man with his head, torso, and arms carefully nibbled off. The culprit struck again some time later when a second gingerbread body was discovered, this time merely with the head missing.
And during the early toilet training days, there was the fairly regular occurrence of teeny tiny boys’ spare underpants falling out of every available pocket just in case.
And most recently, this… thingamajig. Whirligig. Wind spinny thingy. To avoid a tantrum it came to creche one morning and had to travel on to work with me, where it’s still hanging around my desk because I haven’t had a chance to bring it home.
It’s an exciting and slightly terrifying game of reaching into your pocket or bag and never being entirely sure of what sort of strange thing might come out.
So… what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever pulled out of a bag?