“Hi,” the kindy teacher says to my son with a smile as we arrive for the day. “Hi Mum,” she says to me “We have an incursion next week and we haven’t received your child’s consent form or payment yet”.

“Oh no!” I said, “I left it all on the kitchen bench this morning, can I bring it at pick up time?”

“Yes, of course” she said.

It was not on my kitchen bench, in fact, I’d forgotten about the whole thing and would now spend a frantic few hours searching for the said consent form and organising payment. She knew it. I knew it. You know it!

After walking out of the kindy, head down, I returned home and started shuffling through the piles and piles of school papers. You know the ones, notes about this, notes about that, paintings, artwork, notes that explain why my child was wearing different clothes at pick up time. Endless paperwork!

I’m not a paperwork person – at all. So it all goes into a pile to be dealt with later, except later never arrives.

Ah, here it is, incursion consent form! Cost $5. The frustrating $5 incursion!!! I don’t carry cash ever. So when the kindy requires $5 this means getting $20 out of the ATM, buying something I don’t need just to get $5.

Thankfully our school uses an app so you can pay for everything (including lunch orders!) electronically. This has saved my life! The Kindy hasn’t yet caught on to this brilliant technology!

Anyway, it looks like the toddler and I are off to the shops in search of an ATM. I’m still relatively new to the area I live in and still finding my feet and learning where things are. We head to the local shops where I have definitely seen an ATM.


We walk along the outside of the shops with toddler belting out a rather loud rendition of his favourite song “Shotgun” for the patrons of a nearby coffee shop.

I do two laps and there is no ATM. What??!!!! I’m sure there was an ATM here last time.

I get my phone and open my banking app to locate the nearest ATM. It’s at a different shopping centre.

“C’mon toddler we need to go somewhere else,” I say.

He hesitates “Mum are we going to the wine shop (BWS) we always go to the wine shop,” he asks louder than the rendition of Shotgun.

“No we don’t” I laugh looking around to see if anyone heard him.

“We do silly.” he says

“No, not today” I say ushering him into the car.

We drive to the next shopping centre with toddler still belting out Shotgun from the backseat. Oh yay, a car park right next to the ATM, my lucky day. Here’s my plan: quickly go to the ATM, get my $20, jump back in the car, break the $20 through the Maccas drive through, head home feeling like I’m winning in life.

Nope, not today.

Toddler managed to take his shoes and socks off on the 5-minute drive here, but I’m thinking I’ll just hold him so he won’t need them. I pull him out of the car “Mum, I don’t have any shoes on” he says

“It’s ok, bub,” I say “we’ll be two seconds and I’ll hold you the entire time”

“I want my shoes on” he screams.

So, socks and shoes go back on.

We get to the ATM:

Put card in.


Toddler starts touching all buttons and every surface around ATM.

“Don’t touch that bub it’s dirty,” I say patiently “No don’t touch the buttons.”

Take card out.

Put card back in.


The person behind me says “excuse me……”

Me “I’ll just be a second” avoiding eye contact with person behind me.

Take card out.

Put card back in.


Toddler still touching everything.

Person behind me “you’re using a fly buys card……..”

Me “oh, thank you.”

I rummage through my handbag to find my ATM card. Toddler still touching everything.

Find correct card.

Put card in machine.


Machine: Enter pin number……..

ENTER PIN NUMBER – I haven’t used that since, well, the last time I had to pay for a $5 incursion.

Try pin.

Machine: “incorrect pin”

Toddler still touching everything – I’ve now given up on him and will bath him in hand sanitizer before getting back in the car.

Try a different pin.

Machine: “incorrect pin”

Ah, I know the pin number is stored in my phone as a contact, rummage through handbag looking for my phone.

There’s a loud sigh from behind me. Look around a queue 5 people deep. Anxiety has just gone into overdrive.

Desperately scroll through phone looking for contacts, WHERE ARE THE BLOODY CONTACTS ON THIS PHONE!!!!!

Ah, scroll, scroll, scroll PIN: found it.

Scroll further PIN2:


Try pin 2, this has to be the one, why else would I have Pin 2 in my contacts if it is not current.

Machine: “incorrect pin”

Try first pin.


Toddler now bored and trying to run off. “Just a minute bub we’re nearly done,” I say loudly enough for the people behind me to hear.

Machine: “This transaction is going to cost you $2.50 do you wish to continue” – great so now this adventure to get $5 is costing me even more money!!! I thought I was at the ATM for my bank – turns out I’m not, that one is around the corner and this is a totally different bank.

Press Yes – like I have a choice.

Machine: “Would you like your balance printed, displayed on the screen or not at all”

OMG so many questions!!!!!

Machine: ” Do you want to save this transaction for future use”

Shut up machine!!! Just shut up and give me my $20!!!!!



Grab money before quick as a flash toddler tries to take it. Bundle toddler back in the car and head to Maccas to break my $20.

Go through the drive thru. Toddler: “I want an apple juice”.

Me: “Not today bub, Mum’s just getting a coffee”.

Immediate guilt.

Me: “Ok, just this once.”

Drive to the next window. Maccas employee: “that’ll be $9 something” confidently hand over my $20. He hands back a $10 and some coins.

“Oh, can I get two $5’s” I say.

Him: “sorry, I’m almost out of change”

Of course you are!

Drive to the next window, pick up my coffee and apple juice and drive to the petrol station next door. Bundle toddler out of the car who has again managed to take his shoes and socks off in record time.

This time I carry him shoeless into the Petrol station. Looking for something I need for less than $5. Can’t think of anything and end up buying toddler a lollypop.

Yay, finally I have my $5.

We head home.

Oh damn it, I suddenly remembered I need milk.

Arrive back at the original shopping centre we started this little adventure at.

Go into Woolies, with my ATM card in hand and pin number firmly implanted in my mind.

Carry shoeless toddler who insists on grabbing a piece of fruit from the “free fruit for kids” basket even though we are only going to be in this shop for two seconds.

Grab my milk. Head to the checkout.

Operator scans my milk. I insert my card, press savings.

Operator: “would you like any cash out…………”

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