The Types of Parents often seen at Soft-Play.

Germ-Phobic mum is recognised by the four pumps for each hand of anti-bacterial gel from the nearest dispenser, she carries wet wipes in her back pocket and her eyes dart wildly as she searches for children with snotty noses so she can snatch her crawling baby away before they get within sneezing distance. Normally, she wouldn’t dream of bringing her child to such a germ infested place but she is part of a larger group celebrating her niece’s birthday party. She is certain despite
her best efforts in approximately 24 hours little Penni-Cillin is going to show symptoms of illness but she has Barn-Doc on speed-dial and Amoxicillin on stand by.

Potty-training mum has been holed up in the house for two weeks. She mistakenly thought soft-play would be a safe option as the first outing for her toddler wearing “Big Girl’s Pants”. Everyone has at least one sock with the physical evidence that potty training away from home has not been a huge success. Germ-Phobic mum has located the Soft-Play’s big blue paper roll and is now mopping up little puddles of pee before spraying the area with sanitiser.

Stressed-out-mum of four hasn’t been on holiday for five years. She is hiding from her kids at the bottom of the ball pit which is so deep she lies perfectly still in her make-shift Flotation Tank unnoticed. You get the impression she does this kind of thing often as her kids give up searching for her after only five minutes. The youngest of her brood latches onto the nearest “fun-looking” new parent; who is too inexperienced to ward off such “Random-kid-latch-ons”. Such kids seem harmless enough at first but they are well versed in the art of deception, one minute they look cute and lonely. The next they are demanding the 12th piggy-back ride to the top of the slide. Whilst your own kid is in the ball pit confused, crying and tripping up on Mum-of-Four’s now cationic arm or leg.

“Hands-on-dad” is the only male not on the Soft-Play pay roll he is trying to seem OK about being the only dad in a roomful of mums and the mums are trying too. His attempts to appear nonchalant are shattered by his constant clock watching. He is secretly fearful of being hit in the bullocks again by an oversized and deceptively heavy foam padded building block thrown by an equally oversized and deceptively heavy bully. Who’s mum is chatting to friends MILES away out of sight of her violent son; who likes to trash the under two’s area which specifically states THIS PLAY AREA IS FOR THOSE AGED TWO AND UNDER. This kid has a long history of maiming children yet Mum-of-Bully is in no way compelled to stay close to her thug in order to keep the smaller, innocent children safe from harm.

“Hands-on-dad” is planning some sort of “accidental”revenge knock or trip or elbow in the Bully’s ribs. All “Hands-on-Dad” needs is for “Bully” to attempt to hurt his son (he is even ashamedly hoping for such an attempt) so he can make his well planned retort – swift and all very innocent looking of course.

“Granny” is trying to get one of the member of staff’s attention so she can alert them to the “elephant” trashing the under-two’s section. She ALWAYS ends up policing the baby area because her Daughter-in-law has made it very clear that if even a single hair on her granddaughter’s head gets yanked – then all “Granny-outings” will be canceled, so the kid is not getting hurt on Granny’s watch. She keeps herself within arms reach of her first grandchild the entire time. It makes zero difference to Granny that everything is padded, she sees potential danger EVERYWHERE. Granny finds herself taking care of all the under twos and the odd over two since most of the mums see the barriers and reassuring gate as a call to “plonk and leave” their crawlers with Granny, whilst they pop over to the cafe counter to purchase a latte.

They are all served by THE GROUCHIEST CHILD HATING WOMAN EVER. She’s NOT a parent for obvious reasons mentioned above. She permanently has a cold because she works among “Snotty-Nosed” kids. She’s seen the gory, the bad and the ugly of all children and their carers and she has seen enough to know they are not as innocent as most Disney films would have you believe. Miss Chips-with-everything believes that cats are better than people and doesn’t give a SHIT that people think she’s rude; her cats love her and that is all that matters. Germ-Phobic mum challenges Miss Chips-With-Everything when she doesn’t remove her plastic glove after taking the bacteria ridden money and then making little Penni-Cillin’s humus bagel. Miss Chips-With-Everything shoots her with a look that stops Germ-Phobic mum mid-sentence and she quickly decides to just bin the bagel as soon as she is out of sight of that horrid woman.

Mum-of-Four is aware she is now lying in wee but she’s dealt with more bodily fluids most mums could shake a baby wipe at. So, instead she imagines the warm wet patch is the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea lapping at her feet.

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