Before having Baby O, just the thought of soft play centres filled me with dread! Since becoming a mum, my fears have been confirmed. After yesterday’s trip it will be a while until we return.
Normally on a Sunday morning me and Baby O go to our weekly Toddler Sense class, but as there was a two week break and we had lunch with friends later that afternoon I was determined to tire little man out so he’d have a good nap and be on top form. As soon as I opened the door I knew I’d made a mistake. What are my reasons for the dislike?
Other Parents! When I do return I think I’ll leave Baby O at home, plonk myself in the corner with a large Vanilla Latte and just watch because I find it fascinating the various approaches parents have to soft play.
Firstly, I have no idea why you would pay an entrance fee for a soft play centre and then sit on the floor with your child clasped to you not letting them out of your grasp. In the toddler zone, parents of twin girls sat slap bang in the middle of the smallest area and didn’t move for about half an hour. Poor Baby O had to negotiate his way around them (without the smallest of movement to accommodate him) while I ran round them to meet him on the other side. This ridiculous dance was completed by all other parents and their toddlers while these two sat smugly in the middle, grrrr!
Then there’s the iPhone parent, who as soon as their children are safely inside get their iPhone/iPad/any other device out and don’t look up. These are usually the parents of the kid who is busy hitting the others as was the case yesterday. One mother (whose young son had just been on the receiving end of a whack) was so enraged she headed over to “have a word”. I generally avoid conflict at every opportunity but was silently cheering her on.
Let’s not forget the super enthusiastic parent, who is normally climbing the scramble net, singing a nursery rhyme and appears to have adopted at least a third of the children in there as their own. I’m pretty sure I’ll learn to love this man (as it usually is a man) in a few years time as at least he’s keeping the kids entertained but on a Sunday morning, for me, it’s all a bit much!
So why do I go? Ahhh, now this is the reason that as parents we all venture there sometime, sooner or later. Because nothing beats seeing Baby O’s face as we go down the Big Slide together, and that’s why our kids have us over a barrel. We love to see them happy. So we will be back, but next time I might sneak a small bottle of gin in with me! Oh, and it didn’t even work, he still refused to nap!