Mr G was coming to the end of his paternity leave and with the glorious weather we've been enjoying lately we postponed our plans to take lil' man to the zoo and opted for a big soft play warehouse for him to let off some steam after experiencing that 'cabin fever' feeling you get when just had a new born.
This particular visit was quite refreshing for me, I got to sit and savour a Late while it was still hot… throwing in a slab of millionaire shortbread for good measure… Up until a few weeks before lil' lady arrived I was right in there playing with lil' man making up games, scrambling around enjoying his giggles at my hair going static in the ball pool and squeezing my backside through ridiculous spaces..followed by a styled out glance to make sure no one clocked just how much of an effort it was… *note to self to go easy on formentioned biscuit treat*
I can't be in that much of a minority as friends I go to soft play with are exactly the same, to sit and have a natter is only possible in the car on the way there and back or while the little ones are 'refuelling'. However whenever I go to these places without fail there will be a small child that will have a 'bump' will be bawling their poor little eyes out and you frantically look up for a concerned mother dashing towards them…..Urrrrm nope maybe she's popped to the loo or ordering food….urrrrrm nope….seeing to another sibling….Urrrrm nope, oh look there she is sat at the table in the corner cackling with her mates on her upteenth chocamocha all singing friggin dancing coffee oblivious.
Now don't get me wrong you can't have your eyes on your little ones 100% of the time, they're there to relax and enjoy themselves probably the last thing they want is 'over protective' mummy dear standing over them constantly reminding them to be careful (guilty as charged) but what gets my goat is such Mum's more than happy to clock that you're there and assume you'll 'babysit' their kids, passing a glance every now and again with a smile as little Jonny is telling you his life story, asking you millions of questions following you around staring at you and getting under your feet …generally in my experience desperately in need of mummy introducing his nose to a wipe…
Mr G was in full flow of playing 'Dinosaur' with our lil' man, looking on I sat taking in his histerics watching my boys spend some quality time together. Gradually over some time Mr G turned into the Pied blimmin Piper children flocking to join in the 'Dinosaur' game, before long lil' man was on the sidelines with awkward forced smile competing for his Daddy's attention, this broke my heart. I could be accused of being a selfish mean cow, but after lil man had had such an intense couple of weeks with little lady's arrival, my being away for a few days and a team of builders descending on his home I just wanted him to have some fun. Just him and his Daddy.
Perhaps I'm being over sensitive, uptight even but its how I felt. Mr G soon killed off the 'Dinosaur' and the crowd of little people he'd gathered dispersed, he and lil' man went off to build a tower instead, lil' mans face was a picture. Obviously people aren't mind readers and I didnt storm in all chief of the fun police telling small people to clear off it just left me a little disappointed, if this was an isolated event I genuinely wouldn't mind if anything encourage lil' man to enjoy himself with other children and be sociable, but it wasnt it seems to happen nearly every time. Which led me to think where were those kids parents to do the same? Do we not take our little ones to these places to have a good time, together, enjoy each others company not to assume others will keep them amused. If the boot was on the other foot, I'd feel compelled to ask Mr G equivalent if he minded, or ask if my little one was playing nicely… Surely?
On Daybreak this morning they were discussing 'disciplining other peoples children', These Soft Play places are a minefield of such politics. I for one don't believe it's my place to discipline anyone else's children, if they're in my care and they're naughty a firm telling may be required, or a gentle reminder to share toys I don't see an issue with, I for one don't want my children to grow up to be spoilt brats with no respect for others. I've had incidents where a child's got a bit rough in the ball pool with the smaller ones, or not letting others down the slide and have gently suggested with a smile and tilt of the head that maybe they don't do that, not sure what I'm more scared of them bursting into tears and looking like drill sargent mum telling off everyone in my path or thier mum storming over livid that id had the ordasity to imply precious little jonny 'wasnt playing nice'!.
Parks, soft play, even at a friends house I would expect out of respect a parent to come to me before taking it on themselves to discipline lil'man …which would be easy enough as I'd be right there, static hair, flushed and dishevelled, not off in the corner immaculate and surrounded by empty coffee cups having a gossip with the girls.