Saturday, March 22, 2008

soft in the head...

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…


Jen said...

Those indoor play areas are great, but why is it that every stinkin time we go there, Dylan ends up sick? I took him to one on Monday, and by Wednesday he had a cold. By the way, I'm not sure, but Dylan might be as tall as the spud also. He is in the 90-95th percentile for height.

Frog in the Field said...

Playcentres are great, but hyped up is how the children get!
Our nearest is 20 miles away so it's quite an effort to go.
I have just taken on a brand new one as a client, in Chepstow. It's lovely, cool so the children don't get overheated, healthy snacks, real chocolate shots for the hot drinks for the Mums (yum).
We were invited to go for the grand opening so I took my three daughters and three nieces - on my own (I'm so terribly brave, you know).
They had a great time, but as is always the case, one child was "a very rude little boy, and I had to stop him slapping my sister and cousin!!"
Me, savage as anything: "Right, show me which one it was.."
Oh, of course, it just had to be...the small son of my new clients.
I begged the girls to please stay away, otherwise it could be an expensive trip for me. Of all the children there, why does that happen?

Sparx said...

Jen - I was worried about that the whole time we were there. Spud spent ages shoving foam balls into this vacuum things that rocket the balls up to the ceiling where they collect in a basket and then rain down on the kids. They love it and spend ages with those balls... however the balls are filthy, falling apart and touched by a thousand hands. I was thinking the whole time about nicking one and taking it to a lab for testing...

Frog - you are SO BRAVE!! I am unbelievably impressed by that story, particularly that you managed to avert a tricky client situation! The centre sounds great though and now I'm looking Chepstow up on line to see how far away it might be!

Ryan & Michelle said...

Isn't it just human nature that whenever Moms and kids get together the inevitable comparing begins? I think all of us have these inner thoughts--so funny to hear yours! My husband hates those soft toy places for all the possible germs and dutifully follows play time with hand sanitizing.

Jonny's Mommy said...

After a long day Jonathan always wants to be picked up then cries to be put back down then cries again to be picked up's mentally exhausting.

Sounds like you guys had a really good time despite the rain.

Umm...this Wibley Pig. Being an American, I've no clue, but it is a tape, a book...a drug? :-) Like to find out so I can use it on Jonathan on those fussy nights. :-)

Frog in the Field said...

Sparx, am seriously worried about the hygiene of the playcentre you went to....they are required to do a 'deep clean' (of every item) frequently.
I am truly a champino brave person (very gullible), also once had the six girls here making christmas decorations all day. I had to cook at least 6 homemade pizzas for lunch and the entire house was sparkling with glitter afterwards!
My cleaner was well cheesed off!!

Sparx said...

Ryan & Michelle (although, I suspect it's just Michelle???) - I was kicking myself for leaving the Milton hand steriliser at home

Jonny's Mommy - Wibley Pig is a lift-the-flap book. I suspect there's more than one, this one is 'In Wibley's Garden' and spud is about a '4' on the obsessive scale about it, '5' being the top.

Frog - that's interesting. My hands were pretty filthy after handling the balls - although not as bad as I thought they were going to be so perhaps there had been a clean in recent memory. The place looked pretty clean, just the balls were a bit dubious. And. 6 girls. Chrismas decorations. Pizza. I bow in your presence o great one! Something to aim for when the spud grows up!

Ms Anonymous said...

Imagine how germy it would have been if the pig was there. And if the 4 year old doesn't want to get in the car, drive off. Bet he won't do it again. I like to play hard ball...

(ps-I'm all talk, there is no way in hell I would be able to drive off)

Sparx said...

Ms Anonymous - LOL! I'll recommend that one to my mate... or perhaps not! Pigs, I'll have you know, are very clean animals. Not sure about their nostrils though...

Jonny's mommy said...

Sparx, forgot to ask ... why were you jealous of the woman's baby bump? Are you thinking of another one already?

Anonymous said...

Just to say we had a lovely time on Friday am with you. Spud was particularly patient with the fact that ultra brainy child and ultra tall child kept on pinching his toys.

BTW nothing to envy on the pregnancy front - for some reason, the bump this time appears to have an invisibility shield on it with my Frog and he finds it odd that I'm not dashing around after him at warp speed like normal!

Ms Anonymous said...

Sparx, pigs are gross. Do you know they make bacon? And ham? And pork!? Eww. I hate ham. I do not like green eggs and ham Sam I am.
Piglets are cute though. Do you think pigs and piglets are related?

Frog in the Field said...

I feel I must protest at the character assasination of the pig!!
I LOVE my pet piggles, they are fab.
They are also proof that piglets are indeed related to them because mine have produced 15 gorgeous piglets.
Ham (Hamilton) is the Daddy pig, Truffles has 10 piglets, and Pepper has 5.
Apparently they smell awful, but as I cuddle them, I don't notice anymore......

DJ Kirkby said...

oooooh...*sucks teeth, cringes in sympathy* I thought I had a bad weekend...but it seems much nicer now, well quieter than yours anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have a love-hate relationship with those places... God I hate the noise, the screaming children and the mirror image the other mothers provide, but I am soooo happy that I get a rest in the entertain-son department... But still, nothing beats a sweaty, red-faced, happily smiling four-year old! So indoor play area it is... sometimes :)

Elsie Button said...

that's so funny you said that about the spud being interested in the loos at the soft play place - Betty is exactly the same - she will wander out of the play area and becomes obsessed with either the loos or the reception desk.

by the way, what is the 'well-coordinated car-seat restraint plan' ?!

Sparx said...

Jonny's Mommy - yes, I hanker after a new spudlet however we agreed on just the one... sniff...

Mel - yes, that's the thing about husbands, frog ones or not... they do seem to think that it's just like some sort of strap-on pillow we wear about for a laugh and not 20 pounds of pressure on our pelvic floors... ooof...

Ms Anonymous... erm... yes, they are in fact related. Am rather fond of pigs meself but do understand your feelings!

Frog in the Field - I think I'd be a pig-hugger too if I had any to play with... piglets! Mind you they are whiffy...

DJ - you had a well rough weekend@ Will have to check in to see how it went in the end!

Bel - yes, that's it though isn't it... the trade-off of suffering through the play zone in exchange for a happy, puffed-out child!

Elsie - it involves distracting him with keys and while he's momentarily engaged, forcibly making his legs bend at the hip as though he was some sort of ken doll. Sometimes it involves an elbow as well and there may be a teensy bit of shouting by both of us... so far, so good!

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