I’ve just gotten back from a soft play
nightmare date where I shelled out £25 for the pleasure. I say pleasure, if fending off feral sweaty wild kids who are hellbent on tramplimg anyone or anything that dares get in their possessed way is your bag.
Every time I walk out the door with my ears ringing and my soul crushed I utter the immortal line “never again” but give it a month or so and like the sucker for punishment that I am (aka a parent) I’ll be back bounding through the door with my rose tinted specs firmly glued on.
As soon as your kid can crawl you may as well accept it and know you cannot avoid soft play areas. It’s like the mecca of crazed wild children with absolutely zero inhibitions, but behind every grubby faced high on fruit shoot kid there’s probably an idle Mother sat on her laptop drinking coffee and totally ignoring her little darling whilst they reek sheer havoc (For the record – I am so jealous of said mom. But not the demon kids!)
Yes sadly I am that parent who gets stuck in running and rolling around with them and then become full on Mom-Zilla when kids start barging and pushing my sproglets. I act like their own personal bodyguard (just less bald or strong, and I don’t wear a black bomber jacket) I’ll just be out of breath chasing twins up rope ladder swings. This is due to the fact that the girls are still too little to be let free to roam the ballpits on their own, so inbetween tutting loudly at other children and trying to stop P2 hurtling head first down the biggest slide ever, I have devised a foolproof guide for other parents to help them survive the soft play pit of pain.
- As soon as you enter the room, DO NOT PLONK YOUR SHOES AND BAGS BY THE CRAP MACHINES. You probably are in a state of shock at how much you’ve been made to pay to enter so are vulnerable – pull yourself together quick and sit as far away from the tat machines and rides as possible. The massive ball pit, slides and bouncy castles mean nothing to them if they cannot have a tatty bouncy ball out one of the machines that cost about £2. And hell hath no fury like a toddler seeing another kid going on a ride on machine. Your life won’t be worth living if they see another one having a ride. You will be made to feel like the worst mother ever so take heed and sit well well away.
- After sitting down, you need to do some serious scoping; You need to suss out which are the kids to avoid. They’re usually the ones who will trample all over you just to make it to the top of the slide before you and your 1 year old like it’s an Olympic sport or something. They will probably also be found making other kids cry and other adults huffing, tutting and looking down their nose at them.
- Once you’ve labelled them “the naughty kids” then size up their parents. You need to know if you end up wagging your finger or screaming at their kids, if Mom or Dad are then likely to come over and flatten you.
- Be prepared to strip down to pretty much your bra. These places apparently have never heard of air con so you will be left dripping in sweat and a rather fetching tomato-esque mush. It’s probably so you shell out £2.50 for a can of pop. Fume.
- Take out stocks of anti-bac gel. I’m not one for OTT germ phobia and that, but these places are a breeding ground for sticky high chairs that no one ever ever cleans.
- Never ever EVER go when its raining, if it’s school holidays or even the weekend. You think that 2 year old is naughty? Wait til it’s 10 year old brother flouts the under 2 zone rules and runs riot (MASSIVE SCOWL). Your blood pressure will thank you for not going when it’s a free for all for anyone of school age.
You know what – just don’t go. Let them scream and cry, honestly, it’s so much better than being charged to babysit other peoples awful offspring in boiling hot conditions. And then just tell your kids that Nanny/Grandad/Daddy/the lady from down the road will take them – sanity. restored.