So much for pig snot. The morning bloomed freezing and rainy and everyone cancelled on the idea of paddling through the zoo in the wet and so, seizing the chance to entertain my son without leaving the confines of my house I invited everyone over and two hardy souls turned up. We even managed to each get half a cup of coffee down us while our sons took turns on every toy they could push or pull or squabble over. Of the two boys who came, one is Spud’s genius friend, two weeks younger and already speaking 80 words, according to my excellent friend his Mum. I don’t want to believe her either, you know but I did hear him clearly say ‘helicopter’ as well as possibly another dozen words and given that all Spud can reliably say is ‘hello’ ‘allez’ ‘Daddy’ and ‘uh oh’ it would be foolish to question her. The other boy is a wonder in that he is the only child I have ever met of the Spud’s age who is actually bigger than he is. Clearly this takes the spud off the Guinness list for ‘biggest toddler’ and so I may have to plan something else for the spot where I was planning to hang that plaque. He’s another semi-frog child, something I forgot to ask his mother about, possibly because every time I see her I come all over wobbly with envy as she is 7 months pregnant. Apparently the wonderful world one enters when pregnant for the first time disappears the second time around as everyone just expects you to shut up and get on with it so perhaps I should have plied her with chocolate and cupcakes, although I suspect a decent Beaujolais and a massage would be more welcome.
After lunch, during which the spud lived up to his name by eating only chips, I went to meet another friend and her two boys at a soft play area in Croyden.
There is something tempting about soft play zones. Everything is padded like a welcoming cell and kids can run pretty much completely wild with little danger to life or limb. There are always balls and things with ropes on them and things to ride on and the spud naturally loves them, although his favourite bits are the gates, the loos and anything that looks like it might not be a toy. They are however, universally filled with screaming children hopped up on sugar drinks and frazzled Mums handing over chocolate. There are bars and tunnels and dark soft areas and a feeding area and things to climb on and nesting areas and you have never seen so many children having their butts sniffed in your life. Where-ever I looked, another child was being held aloft as if for a blessing while its parent nosed around its backside for tell-tale whiffs. All it takes is for one little tyke to indulge in a number two and the sensitised noses of parents the length and breadth of the building were heading for their little lamibkins' padded bottoms.
We, that is, the children, had a great time up until we had to leave at which point we each had leaving tantrums of fairly epoch-ending scales. After I left, my friend apparently spent another 40 minutes trying to get her 4-year-old into his car-seat and this is a public apology to her for not having my hands-free with me and therefore not getting her call until I was miles away. Given that her son was always smaller and sweeter than mine at the same age I can only assume that this sort of thing is lurking malevolently in my future.
Luckily the Spud is too small to resist a well-coordinated car-seat restraint plan however by the time we got home he was completely over-tired, had refused his dinner and was wandering around the house all floppy, screaming and crying and asking to be picked up then demanding to be put back down. He cried through his bath and was all sniffy through his bottle, however thanks to the miracle of Wibley Pig he was ready to snuggle in to my shoulder and fall asleep, indicating that perhaps missing on the chance to visit the pigs in the rain was a Bad Plan.
So we didn’t go to the animal zoo but we got a fairly good look in at the human one and I suspect I won’t be going back there for quite a while…