The question Mr B asked me when
I dragged him to he joined us at soft play last weekend, it was raining, and sadly my rainy day repertoire of parenting skills goes as follows:
Netflix and Quavers until the Netflix box pings up the thing that says you’ve been watching TV for four hours now do you still want to continue? resulting in me packing them into a car and driving to the local trading estate to suffer at soft play.
When we got to soft play it was oddly quiet, as were our children who sat next to Mr B on the sofa eating overpriced Quavers (you aren’t allowed to bring your own food in so these bad boys are 90p a bag). It was then he asked why I came to soft play? And to be fair it was hard to explain whilst our kids were doing exactly what they had been doing at home 20 minutes previously for free at the cost of £11 (at this point we hadn’t bought lunch yet).
But then the place filled up a bit, three of our mates turned up (when I say three of our mates I mean three of my mum friends plus our kids mates, none of Mr B’s mates turned up, there was no man mates in sight) and the following reasons got compiled:
* Its a large dry space for the children to charge about like a banshees and the feral feckers can’t escape, so even though the coffee is shit, its at least hot, and you can drink it whilst its hot, talking to your mate. Well more than in a coffee shop where I spend more time peeling our kids off the window and pulling them out from under the tables than drinking coffee and chatting to my chosen coffee date.
* Other kids are better than toys for capturing your child’s imagination. Our kids always find new mates at soft play. Houdini generally finds a mate that is happy to spin him as fast as humanly possible on the spinner thing until he falls off and hits his head against the side (and its soft play so being a dizzy dick isn’t a problem, we don’t need to visit A&E, my coffee won’t get cold) And Miss Penny she’s teeny, which is a problem in an empty soft play as she can’t bloody do any of it without adult assistance (coffee is looking colder…) but on a full Saturday, she’s a walking doll; therefore cat nip for nine year old girls and she’s a dab hand at finding one pretty darn quickly to help her scurry to the top of the mega slides (coffee is looking hot once more)
* Its totally acceptable to eat chips yourself and give your children chips for lunch/ tea/ snacks whilst at soft play as its generally the only option and its what everyone else is ordering for their kids. You cannot be on a diet at soft play, unless you don’t eat the food and have more than three of the shit coffees (they act as pretty potent laxatives if you have more than three)
* The noise whilst unbearable to those without children is kind of like white noise for mums, I’d say Dads too but looking at Mr B’s face whilst there I see you need to be a seasoned pro at soft play before the noise blends into a nothingness you pay no attention to, Mr B is still currently in the ‘ears bleeding wincing to hear you talk’ phase! Once you’re over the wincing it’s an easier noise to cope with than the squealing at home, as that noise at home equals carnage in your living room. Here at the place where play is soft, it equals your house remaining in the state it was in when you left (crisp crumbs on the sofa and Netflix with the four hour warning still on the screen) relatively unscathed by the rainy day.
* Everyone wants to pay £11 to drink hot but shit coffee and eat Quavers with their children on a slightly tacky PU sofa. But even though it’s ridiculously overpriced, it’s still a cheap wet weather option (if you take staying in your house out of the equation). I’m not a proper country mum, I’m not all “oh well it’s just a bit of rain lets suit up and go anyway” No I’m that country mum that bought a baby carrying hiking backpack used it once and doesn’t own a waterproof coat (Actually that’s a lie I do, its fuchsia pink and PVC and I bought it from New Look for Glastonbury 6 years ago. Alongside silver Hunter wellies. Needless to say it’s not a rainy walk type of waterproof, it’s a pissed as a fart type of waterproof). I hate walking anyway and I hate it even more in the rain with fucking kids in tow that inevitably won’t walk.
* The cleaning regime at soft play makes me feel like a domestic goddess, literally the dust is so thick on the top level of the jungle gym it makes my cleaning look like Mrs Doubtfire on speed did it. Not great for those with asthma I imagine and I can see why they stipulate socks must be worn, germs are loving these hospitable conditions. Thankfully I’ve only seen Miss Penny lick a slide once at soft play, but the ball pool balls well they get chewed on all the time by both of my kids. In fact it was around the point of them walking/ crawling round a soft play with a ball permanently in their mouth it dawned on me I should stop sterilizing! Why was I bothered about a Tommy tippee when they were gnawing on balls that were last cleaned in 1996??
To conclude, it’s the cheapest rainy day option that doesn’t involve suiting up, you get to eat junk food without shame, drink coffee with your mates and chat to them for longer that 24 seconds without interruption. Your children cannot escape and generally don’t bother you. Yes it may have a faint scent of urine, you have to put your shoes on to go to the loo as without you are guaranteed to get piss on your feet, the coffee is shit (have I said this already, not that my life revolves around coffee these days) and there will be passive neglect from most parents there. But the pay off is good – your kids are shattered when you leave and you will get a few hours of quieter than normal child time as they re-energize on the sofa when you get home. And believe me if there was a better option on a rainy Saturday I’d be there….
this blog has been verified by Rise: R43a4e5251ad74b8395df43e1bf8185fc