When was it that weekends changed from being a haven for hangovers and lie-ins to becoming the time to be inundated with kid’s parties?? Yes, gone too are the Sunday mornings you raced to Mc D’s (post Saturday night clubbing) for a fast food fix, replaced by your little ‘uns hounding you for a trip to the Golden Arches just to get the latest free Happy Meal toy.
Life certainly changes in lots of ways when you have children – often resulting in you having to do a number of things on a weekend that sometimes you wish you didn’t…like visiting Playcentres!
Now whilst they may seem the fail-safe solution to keeping the little ones entertained on a rainy day, a visit to a Playcentre is actually like starring in your own personal episode of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ (minus eating kangaroos naughty bits).
As soon as you step through the secure gates it’s a jungle out there, packed full of mini species screaming like banshees and pushing past their fellow inhabitants in the plight to be the one who reaches the top of the roped tower first!
Why they are called ‘soft play areas’ is also beyond me as, if you’ve been, there’s nothing ‘soft’ about them, you have to have nerves of steel as a parent to survive a session.
There’s a number of challenges that await…
Let’s start with the noise levels which are just set to MEGA WATT HIGH!
Then there’s the fighting, the tears and the tantrums…and I’m not just talking the kids here because, boy if little Johnny knocks over tiny Tim then whoosh the heavies step in as their parents square up to each other momentarily – before realising that whilst they are busy arguing their kids have made friends and are now off playing in a completely other area!
I hate to say it but as a parent you are deluded if you think that a trip to the Playcentre is going to give you time to sit, relax with a brew and watch your child play happily. You WILL end up in there with them at some point so BE prepared.
Here’s some of the ‘codes’ you need to watch out for…
Code RED – yes, not only are nose bleeds common place but as kids bash and bop their way through the plastic covered obstacles you can expect an array of battle scars and blood to prove it.
Code YELLOW – here toilet training has a lot to answer for! Dodge the yellow pools at all costs because you will either end up with your socks getting wet and smelly or you’ll slide across the room resembling Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
Code BROWN – do I really need to spell this out?
Then finally there’s the fear you will at some point be dragged down the MEGA SLIDE which runs from top to bottom of the mass roped structure.
This often results in one of two things…your bum gets stuck in the groove as you realise these slides were actually made for kids not adults or you slide down at the speed of a rocket and end up with skin burns from tensing up so tight on the descent.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can dodge the slide either as it’s usually the only escape out of there. The alternative route would mean trying to squeeze yourself through a hole that’s the size of a pea and crawl out of it backwards, leaving you all flushed and sweating (flashback to childbirth)!
It’s a wonder we don’t all shout ‘I’m a Parent Get Me Out of Here’ before the play time allocation is up. Thank god for the time-limit, there’s nothing better than hearing your surname over the tannoy…you feel like giving the announcer a kiss on the way out.
So, the next time you are at a Playcentre give another adult a smile to show them you feel their pain and remember, as the kids from High School Musical once sung, ‘We Are All in This Together’!
The Big Bad Mumma, aka Michelle xx