Hmmm Soft Play…
Does anyone actually like going? Other than the kids I mean. I try to avoid it as much as possible but now and again my sh*tty mum guilt gets the better of me.
Every time I take a deep breath just before walking in, my last bit of fresh air for a while. Then I’m greeted by the familiar stench. All soft play centres smell the same. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is. It seems to be a mixture of old cooked breakfast, sweat, failed dreams, piss, sh*t and a bucket load of body odour.
The last time we went, I took Daisy into the ball pool and she ended up vomming all over the place. I gave the sticky plastic balls a quick wipe with the muslin, checked no one saw and got the hell out of there. But judging by the state of the ball pool I don’t think she was the first person to chunder in there.
And there’s always a child that insists on beating up all the other children. Once there was a particularly nasty little cretin stalking around the play frame in a Walking Dead T-shirt (slightly worrying as he can’t have been older than 3). He kept pushing Theo over and shoving him into the walls. I politely asked the boy to stop, so he stuck his middle finger up at me. Nice. He then took one of his socks off and shoved it in my face. Wtaf? I might try this tactic when I next have a row with Zac and see what happens.
Anyway, I located who I assumed was turd boy’s mother from my aerial view on the play frame (easy to spot with her matching Walking Dead T-shirt. How quaint). She appeared to be having a rather explicit argument on her mobile with someone called ‘Liam’, and was totally oblivious to the torment her son was subjecting us to. So me being the mature person that I am, confiscated the sock and chucked it off the play frame. Don’t judge me. It’s far from my proudest moment. But when some little sh*t decides to mess with your child it triggers a primal reaction and can make you go all kinds of crazy (the sock chucking beast that I am). Plus I feel he needed to be reprimanded for swearing at a grown up. He, of course, found my actions hilarious and proceeded to head butt some other poor infant.
I frequently end up getting wedged between those things that look like massive paint rollers. This results in me desperately trying to wriggle free which tends to attract attention from any number of children and I usually end up with a few of them stood there laughing at me. Honestly, play frames are fine for mums to go on as long as you’re size 8 and under 5 foot. If you are neither of these then you’re f*cked.
And I always seem to end up ‘adopting’ one or two random children. I try to nicely tell them to ‘go and find mummy’ whilst looking around wondering where their mums actually are. One of them even started calling me ‘Mum’ once which was a bit disconcerting. I am absolutely convinced that some parents drop their kids off then sneak out to the pub for an hour or two. I did the maths on one visit and the ratio was something like 6 kids to every adult so I’m sure I’m onto something… Hats off to them if I’m right.
I feel like I deserve some kind of reward or badge of honour when it’s time to go. I gratefully take in gulps of fresh air when we leave and vow to myself that we will never return (or I’ll make Zac take them on his next day off, I would obviously never consider going on a weekend unless I had a strong desire to completely lose my mind and/or end up in hospital). As soon as we are home I feel the need to clean everything, including myself with a sh*t load of dettol.
Soft play: where parental happiness goes to die.