We all know where I stand on soft play, but sometimes there is just no better option.
Recently, it's become really cold, really suddenly. I hate it and am finding it difficult to get out of the house with the kids in the misery of winter. When we need to get out of the house, there are basically three options if it is too cold and/or wet outside to contemplate the park or a leisurely two hour round trip to the shops which should be ten minutes away.
1) Toddler group, if there is one on. Pros: There's tea, it's cheap. Cons: All sorts.
2) Garden centre. Pros: Will have cake. Ostensibly free. Might have animals for added enjoyment factor. Cons: will probably come away with some garden furniture or more plants I won't have time to dig in.
3) Soft play.
Along with a scheduled trip to the hospital and two sessions in pre-school for the big one, it seems like a fair bit in retrospect, but the kids were still bored enough to try drawing on the walls again; totally my own fault for a) introducing them to bath crayons and b) leaving them within reach.
Facebook, you may have seen me discuss our trip to the local soft play centre.
Sorry about that - there is an element of duplication (the whole thing, basically) but really, not much else went down. I haven't been to this particular soft play, our closest one as it happens, in a year or more because quite frankly it's disgusting, way too busy, the toddler section is always overrun with boisterous big kids which means you feel like you have to hover which is the worst, and it's bloody cold. Yes, that's right; I demand a certain standard in my padded hell holes... Anyway, apparently they'd got heating installed and so reluctantly I thought I'd give it a go.
It was actually alright; there was practically no one else there apart from my friend and I, and the kids (two of mine and my friend's pre-schooler) were doing a good job of being left to their own devices. I say a good job.
After we'd been there about 40 minutes, I heard a familiar whining sound.
Upon investigation, I found the small one at the top of a slide, in a puddle of phlegmy sick which he was poking. Being the dutiful parent I am, I tidied it - and he - up with a baby wipe and assessed him as being otherwise fit to play, putting it down to overindulging in Fruit Shoot. Please don't judge me as a terrible parent (well not for this alone, at any rate), for that seems to be about all you can get in these places, which also have a strict NO FOOD OR DRINK unless you bought it there kind of policy.
Cleaned up, he seemed happy enough so once more I left him to it, and grabbed myself a cup of tea from which I took a few sips before I was approached by a concerned lady asking whether my daughter was wearing a reindeer top (she was. Festive!) because she had her pulled trousers and knickers down in the ball pit and was asking for mummy.
Once again, mum swooped in. I picked her up, bare bum on show (hers, not mine), and off to the toilet we went. There were surprisingly no accidents but we did have a word about public bottom showing ie. that it's a bad thing. I could hear the small one whining from somewhere outside the toilet to so I went to retrieve him and bring him in with us.
Anyway, while we were having a jolly family wee (is there any other kind?) another kid covered the entire toddler soft play area with puke.
On the upside, this did make it more unlikely that it was the small one's sick on the slide (hurrah! Not a totally shit parent) but it does mean he was probably playing with another kid's puke (I've heard that often ends well).