As a parent to a four-year-old, we spend a lot of time at Soft Play. It’s a necessary evil. The Irish weather doesn’t allow for playground hijinks as much as we need, and the alternative is absolutely wrecking my house (and my head). So, off to Soft Play we go. He loves it, he’s a daredevil mad to be climbing higher and higher. Me? My love is somewhat less obvious. For me, soft play raises more questions than it answers. Here are just some of them.
Ah, soft play areas, savers of sanity (most of the time). When you are accompanied by a tiny human who finds fantastic enjoyment from flinging themselves around in ball pits, on foam mats and generally tangled up in things, it makes sense to veer towards the large padded area on a rainy Friday morning. Unlike me, however, you should always stop off at a coffee shop first – for the insurance policy against the sanity loss soft play can bring before caffeination occurs.
When you’re at home with a toddler, days can get pretty repetitive. Unless you set up different things to do during the week, it can feel like Groundhog Day. Every day involves chasing a football around the living room. My life soundtrack is currently the songs from Baby Genius. It’s worse when it rains – yes, I’ve still not learned to love the rain – because as I don’t drive, there is little to do in the city centre with a toddler and outside of that isn’t much of an option. There are only so many visits to the kiddie library we can do in one week, so I decided one morning that we’d change tack and head to Chuckies Play Zone, the closest soft play centre to us.
We got a little too complacent about that lovely weather. “It’s going to be a great Summer”, we said, licking our Baileys magnums and staring out at gorgeous sunsets from the balcony after a few successive evenings of wonderful weather. “Best stock up on the sun cover and the suncream”, we said, as we walked a good ten km walk in the blinding sunshine (child fully covered, both adults getting roasted alive) to buy the damn things. They’re now sitting in the corner of the living room laughing at me. I’m not sure why I’m surprised. This is Cork, land of the rainy season all year long. (more…)