Is there Hell on earth? Yes, its called Soft Play….
If you haven’t started down the baby route…READ THIS, it may act as a good contraceptive. If you have, then good luck and I’m sure you will encounter this! For me, it was too late, I had avoided it until I was pregnant with my second baby and now suddenly SOFT PLAY is in my face like an angry fish wife….twice in 3 days – I feel battered, grubby and still slightly claustrophobic. Its been hideous on so many levels. Let me explain.
Ok, soft play. Sounds good doesn’t it. It is a place where kids can let off steam in what is deemed a ‘safe’ environment. SAFE? I can’t even begin. Most people that are employed to work at a soft play centre couldn’t give a frogs fat ass about your child plummeting through the netting 10 ft up and landing on the 5 year old below and why should they? They are there to take your cash and to lock up at the end of the day …. I’m just saying, because before I ventured into this ridiculous past time, I watched from afar. In these environments, parents are responsible for their children. Yes, that old cliche, the one that parents seem to forget when it comes to soft play or swimming pools. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD. The days I went, I felt like the parents really just wanted to have a coffee and read a magazine and miss the maiming of other children that goes on in these netted dens of iniquity (these are usually the parents with the kid that is surely a bit old for this type of past time?!) . They (the parent) occasionally look up and screech something in their child’s direction, whilst thumbing their magazine and stirring their overpriced watery coffee. Where I live in Surrey, you get the ‘uber’ parents who take it a notch above everyone else and discipline their child in French or Spanish – with a hint of Home Counties accent thrown in. Urggh!
Anyway, there I was with my 18 month old. He’s eager and a little unsure, but none the less, the bright colours and the amount of screaming and screeching have attracted his attention and he’s wanting to get involved. He wants to get involved…..as long as Mummy is there in the rope cage, right beside him coaxing him through the different boxes and different dribble covered bits of equipment. There is a vague smell of old socks, maybe a pooey nappy from some direction and oh great, some school aged child has just coughed his chesty cough all over me. This is not a game for claustrophobic’s. I felt like a hamster squished into a tiny cage with numerous people staring vacuously in the same direction that I am now trying to SQUEEEEEEEZE my pregnant belly and ever expanding boobs through a teeny tiny opening as we arrive into…..the ball pit…
Every parent has heard horror stories about the ball pit. They are snot smeared, germ multiplying, vomit (oh I kid you not) covered plastic balls of norovirus and deep chest infection waiting to explode and cover you and your child in germs. And guess what. That’s where my child is happiest. Festering in the germs. Throwing the balls around and laughing his head off whilst he exclaims “mooooooore, mooooooore”. Oh god. This is just hideous. I really hoped he’d hate it! But the smile on his face, and the pure joy it brings means that I will no doubt have to grin and bear it whilst he does it a fair few more times.
What do you think of soft play? Love it or loathe it? Can you try and convince me otherwise?