Don’t pretend you don’t know who I’m talking about.
Every single parent with a toddler or pre-schooler knows about The Man. Or The Lady.
They follow you everywhere. Every restaurant you visit, every public place you attempt, every supermarket you dare to take your children.
And on our recent holiday to America, The Man was a constant companion.
“If you keep climbing up that trellis Mia, The Man will come and ask you to leave.”
“If you don’t get off the table Mia, The Man will throw you out of the restaurant.”
“The Man will be over if you continue to throw your cutlery on the floor, Mia.”
Honestly, it felt like we took an extra travelling companion with us for the whole three weeks we were there.
I have no idea why it was usually The Man. Maybe because most of The Ladies there were either teenagers or so darn nice. Or maybe because I was actually scared of a couple of them myself if truth be told.
But it must be said, the threat of The Man usually worked.
Except at one venue.
We are at Disneyland and it’s unbearably hot and Mia and I are in a queue for the Flying Dumbos (stop laughing).
We have a spray cooler (basically a plant sprayer with a mini fan attached that they stamped a Disney logo on and thought it acceptable to charge nearly £10 for).
But I digress. We have this spray cooler filled with ice water and Mia is spraying it at mummy and then herself and then mummy and then the lady in the queue behind us.
I look behind me horrified and she’s giving me an ‘it’s ok’ face but her grimace is saying otherwise.
Perfect Mum has got two 8ish year old boys and they are behaving impeccably and when she gives me that look all I can think is ‘what the hell are two boys of that age queueing to get on a dumb Dumbo ride for anyway?’
I smile weakly and turn back to Mia who is now climbing the barrier and aiming her spray gun at the little girl the other side of it who looks like she would wilt if a drop of water touched her.
I grab the gun and say:
“Mia, The Man will come over here and tell you to leave the queue and you will not be allowed on the ride if you keep doing that.”
The Man actually looks about 18 if he’s a day and looks permanently on edge. But she hasn’t noticed so I’m confident my threat will work.
She laughs that confident little chuckle that says she knows she’s caught me out and says:
“Mummy, everyone knows that Mickey Mouse is in charge here and he’s too busy getting ready for the parade to bother about what I’m doing over here.”
I feel Perfect Mum’s wry smile bore into the back of my head and thank everything that is holy that it’s our turn next.