Soft play: Why do I do it to myself. What kind of fresh hell is this?
I often make the mistake of suggesting soft play and within two minutes of walking in, I instantly regret it. A place I am thankful my child has had her jabs. A place I want to dip my child in Milton after visiting.
If they are too big, I feel uncomfortable watching my child run in every direction and fear losing her or her being swallowed by a 30 year old inflatable clown, If they are too small I watch my child lose interest and start to head butt the slide out of boredom.
People tell me it is a place where you can relax whilst your child runs around. I think this is only applicable to children who are not going through the stage of “let’s see how my new found wrestling skills are working out”. It is not relaxing, there will be no chatting between mothers unless you count screaming across the play area “Jenny grab Phoebe’s legs will you, she seems to be stuck in a net” chatting.
A place where in the space of three minutes you witness a child of questionable soft play age, pole dancing up a padded beam. A toddler licking every ball to check for new flavours, hand foot and mouth being one of them and a hyperactive 3 year old playing “If I run really fast up it and then jump down, how many babies can I knock over”
Miserable staff walking around pretending to disinfect the push along cars with a look that says “I hate children, when can I drink wine”. Children running around like they have been injected with sugar and told to attack. Parents glazing over them with a look that says “I hate children, when can I drink wine”.
I am sure there are lovely soft plays, I am sure there are places where you do not fear jumping in the pool pit and exiting with a brown foot. I am sure some parents get to converse over a tea and cake whilst their children play beautifully. I just do not believe there are many.
And if they do exist, I reckon I need to go to Narnia to find them.