SO now that The Beast is two, I decided it was about time I
got off my hole found a couple of hours to bring him to a soft play centre.
I know. Seriously. I’m pretty much the worst mother in the world, I haven’t brought my kid to a soft playcentre yet. I genuinely believe he’s the only child in Ireland who hasn’t been to one.
We did try in his first year, but The Beast is a little timid and a little noise sensitive and he just really didn’t enjoy it the one other time we brought him, so that, coupled with my anxiety and PND over the last while meant we put it off.
Just for a few months. A few long months. A good few long months. Two years in fact.
Now that I’m better however I have no excuse and The Beast has really come out of his shell lately – “I go outside to play with my boys” he regularly informs me, grabbing his coat – so on Tuesday when I woke up to find it was pissing rain I decided today would be the day.
I threw lunch and a nappy into my bag and off we went. I won’t lie, my heart was in my mouth.
For some reason I had built this up to be a massive deal. I’d be there by myself, with The Beast. What if he had a tantrum and I couldn’t calm him down? What if he got sick? What if he slapped another child? What if he got stuck up the top of the big slide but I was too fat to fit into the equipment to rescue him? What if the Other Mothers looked at me? And, God forbid, what if the Other Mothers actually TALKED to me?
Shaking I handed over the moolah at the door and struggled with the gate keeping the
inmates children in, pushing the buggy into the abyss. We were in. Alone. In a playcentre.
Sweat dripping into my eyes I found a table to leave our gear at, took off The Beasts shoes and let him loose.
Jesus, but he adored it. He. Had. A. Ball.
I was a nervous wreck. I actually had to have a sit down for myself in the ball pit as I went a bit weak at the knees and then had to coerce the child into hauling me out (“Ughghhhh Mama too big …pullllllllll …. Mama too big … pulllllllll”) but it was really really great.
He played solidly for 90 minutes, in and out of the ball pit, up and down the slide, building blocks with other little ones and generally just running about. While I just sat there with a goofy insane grin on my face. I felt like I had climbed a mountain. It sounds like such a normal run-of-the-mill thing, but for us it was huge.
The Other Mothers did in fact look at me and indeed they talked to me too. But guess what? They didn’t bite. We exchanged pleasantries and it was good. Normal.
After playtime we had our lunch together (playcentre food has no calories, btw, like broken biscuits and food eaten standing up) and then it was time to go home. All in all it was the perfect playcentre experience. There was even a germ ridden green-snotted toddler there, hacking all over everyone, like something out of a storybook. Ah lads, it was brilliant.
The Beast was so wrecked that he didn’t complain when he had to get his shoes and coat back on and he slept for two hours that afternoon so there was really no downside to the day. (Apart from the cold he has now, courtesy of the be-germed one, but lookit, you can’t have it everyway.)
You know those inspirational quotes you see on Facebook, the Keep Calm and Carry On type of ones? Well, I hate those, really, twee badly written over sentimental shite – but my point is just this once I’m going to reference one:
I felt the fear and I did it anyway. And God it was good.