It's sticky, it's sweaty, it's noisy. The tea (or coffee if that's your bag) is crap and when you finally manage to remove your tantrumming child(dren) from the establishment they will almost certainly bring away with them an unpleasant illness.
However, as I could have predicted from having lived through 30-odd British summers, this has not proven to be the case. Finding things to do with two toddlers when the weather is inclement is tricky. We've been to every garden centre, we've jumped in enough muddy puddles to bore Peppa. Being outside in the rain is just pants; the big one is not a fan of getting wet and becomes very angry when people do not have hoods up; she's not beyond telling a stranger off. The little one looks forlorn strapped into his buggy, the raindrops pattering on the ill-fitting raincovers; he does not want to sit, he wants to run and climb. And the rain does absolutely nothing for my hair.
And thus, with the June weather remaining dismal and dreary, with a heavy heart it was back to soft play for us.
On reflection, it might have been that little bit too soon.
Upon entering the 'arena' (I couldn't think of the right word, but this conjures up images of children as gladiators, which isn't actually far from the truth, so I kept it) I immediately became 1) Continually Nervous Parent.
I couldn't take my eyes off my child for more than a second in case she decided to relieve herself in an inconvenient place and asked her about every five seconds whether she needed a wee. It was exhausting and nerve-wracking. The little one was more or less left to fend for himself which worked out well as he learned to take himself up and down the slide.
It was my first time at soft play as Continually Nervous Parent. In case you were wondering, I have categorised the other parents you will find at soft play:
Looks: Bemused, unsure of what's going on.
Likely to be: In the baby section with their small child who is not yet able to walk, worrying about whether they are going to catch something awful from putting the ball pit balls in their mouth (they are) and foolishly thinking about how much fun it will be when they're older and can use the Big Slides.
This was me once. A long time ago. They were simpler times.
Likely to be: Knocking back awful coffee like a student (OK, anyone) drinking alcohol at a wedding with an open bar. Reluctantly following their toddler around and wishing they'd stayed at home and put CBeebies on.
|The words I dread hearing -
"Come get me, mummy!"
Likely to be: In the middle of things, joining in by throwing themselves down the slide headfirst. These parents are also known as dads. Oooh, sexist. And yet very true in our household.
Looks: Fairly normal, as human beings go. Perhaps one might even say 'un-parenty' (they probably wouldn't though, as it isn't a word).
Likely to be: Sitting at a table with a magazine or iPhone and a crap tea/coffee. They might even be chatting to a friend about something other than what they found in a nappy earlier. They will barely glance towards their children who could be committing any number of soft play sins.