Firstly- satire included.
Secondly- Satire included due to it all being so painfully true. Each red and yellow squishy foam, mesh walls and ball pit balls part.
1- If you venture away from the cake and coffee bars and choose to sit in the actual play zones at the soft play areas with your child and help them lovingly down the slide, or cheer them on in the ball pit, you will undoubtedly become a magnet for other children. They will chat to you, hold your hand, show you their tricks and you will become an in house soft play Nanny. All while those kiddies parents sip their HOT cups of hot chocolate and chow down on slices of chocolate fudge cake….Yes those parents will thoroughly enjoy there 5 minutes rest bite all while you have transformed into the Pied piper of the soft play land.
2- There will always be that one child who thinks they are Rambo. No doubt using ball pit balls as their ammo and the pieces of soft play foam as their ‘First Blood’ weapon. They will always jump into the much too small for them ball pit, no doubt full of wide eyed bald headed babies who are just there for the colours. They will always be there, their parents will never to seen and they will always drive you crackers. Simmer down Rambo.
3- No matter how much fun your toddler has in soft play, they will always kick up a shit storm when you leave. Therefore painting you as the terrible ‘has no fun ever type parent’. They will totally forget the fact you’ve squashed your arse down the plastic slide 88 times and have ‘oooed’ and ‘arhhhhhed’ at their countless dives into the ball pit. Yep, all that will be forgotten as you (gracefully) wrestle them out of the place all while trying to make it look like your a ‘keep your cool’ type Momma when really you are issuing whispered almost silent threats (and bribes)under your breath.
4- Reminiscent of the infamous ‘you cant sit with us’ moment in the film Mean Girls, the good tables, you know the ones that are in direct view of all the soft play areas so you don’t have to move to see your little darlings, and near enough to the kids so you can encourage (shout) and ‘oooh’ ‘wowww’ from your seat while drinking a cuppa, will always be taken. ALWAYS. By someone other than you.
I’m not sure how one gets such a seat/table position. Maybe they sneak it at closing time the night before and claim it with a diaper bag and pack of personalized raisons.
5- You are guaranteed to at least once have to squeeze through the tiny holes or up the twisted maze like steps to get your child or assist them in their fun. You will have to brave the Perspex floor which is scarily 25 foot in the air all while wondering if this plastic/foam/metal creation will hold your weight. Oh and it will creak…..boy will it creak. The ancient ships of the blue lagoons aint got nothing on this soft plays creaks.
(To add – you will have to go down the slide. Because you know it would be all too difficult to design these places with some steps at the side for you to use… And if your arse is anything like mine, you will be going down side wards, all while shitting a brick your going to come through the damn thing and end up being that Mom who broke the soft play slide…)
6- When I moan to my husband about having little to zero adult conversation over the course of my weeks/days he tends to say something along the lines of “well you went to soft play and saw your friends..I bet you chatted then didn’t you and had a good time?”
And the answer is yes, I do have a good time as I was not confined to the walls of our house and its always great to see other folks in the throws of toddlerhood, all whilst expelling some energy from our busy toddler. But no, we do not have conversations- as conversations tend to have a flow, or go somewhere….
It goes a little like this-
“So how have you…. Get down please…you’ll fall. Get down. Good girl….sorry so yeah you’ve been good?
I’ve been good, we’ve just… I said get down. No don’t throw that!….ok sorry, yeah you were saying….. (insert your friend telling you about her holiday and suddenly having to run off mid way through a story of child induced flight woes because her child is ‘stuck’ at the top of the slide).
Sorry sorry so yeah….ah my teas cold…. anyhow– Lets arrange a dinner, how about…….GET DOWN!! Erm what was I saying. Mommmmaa look!! I am sweetie… (#lies). Organizing a dinner….ok yes next Thur perhaps...Yes Mommy will come in the ball pit in one minute dear……just one minu……..(child grabs hand or screams at tops of lungs)..
Perhaps the week starting…..(insert the sounds of SOBS SOBS SOBS)- he stole my ball from the ball pit….there’s loads in there darling…….What were we saying?…….”
Yeah you get my drift. Soft play- great to see friends (from the top of the slide or through the mesh walls) but were not talking knights of the roundtable type conversational focus.
7- If you dare walk around a soft play centre without shoes and bravely without socks on you will most definitely find a mysterious puddle or wet patch when you in the throws of the plastic padded dream world. All you can do is 1- hope its not from your child and 2- step away slowlyyyy.
And on the note of shoelessness, there will always be that one parent with the slightly stinky feet or the kid with toes that look like they need a scrub. Add to that the sheer thought of how many pairs of feet have graced the soft play matts and its enough to run for the exit to find the Dettol!
-(note to self- pack some back up socks for toddler and me in the boot!)
I shall end on this one thought as to why we put ourselves through the craziness of Soft Play.
Something that is perhaps the reason we go back time and time again…..something other than the social interaction and to see a smile on our babes faces.
We go back for the cake! Boy do some of those soft play places know to slap on the buttercream! And us Mommas thank you for that.
Lady Like Momma
P.S. I’d like to thank my fellow Momma friends for their input into this news worthy piece on the perils of soft play. See you in the ball pits soon girls! X