“Like a soft play on a spring day.” Now if you are a parent this statement might muster up all sorts of thoughts and imagery, if you are not then maybe you don’t really know what it is, or perhaps you have no opinion.
Personally, as much as soft play may be the chance to stand back for a moment while your child runs and plays joyfully, and fingers crossed tires themselves out so much you can hope and dream for a good night sleep, in 9/10 cases it’s my idea of hell!
Effectively for your child, it’s the equivalent of letting an enthused labrador tear around a field. Plus the analogy doesn’t end at exercise. After a post on a local Facebook group it would appear that some soft plays also act as the perfect ground for kids to relieve themselves and in all the excitement drag that fecal matter along for the ride! Much to the disgust of every parent in the room and every parent on said social media forum. My advice would always be, don’t dig too deep in the ball pit.
But I digress I don’t think I’m alone in having adverse reactions to the mention of soft play, faeces aside. The word soft play, especially on a wet day in half term, makes my shoulders tense. I think claustrophobia, I think bacteria, I envisage how I might sheep dip my children after. It reminds me why in general I only really like my own kids. Now some soft plays are fine, but we all know the ones that I am referring too. The ball pit hasn’t been cleared for two decades, there are sweaty faced, clammy children stepping on younger kid’s heads, fuelled no doubt by a frantic sugar rush. There are 11 year old brutes with no regard for “Soft Play Law”, using crawling toddlers as part of the apparatus in the baby area. Staff dish out ice packs as quickly and with the same fervour as the local kebab shop dishes out chips and mayo at 2am.
Then there are the parents who sit oblivious. Face in their phone or tablet, exhibiting the same intense concentration as a commuter on the tube with his/her head in a Metro, pretending not to have seen the baby on board badge and massive bump resting on their knee. These parents are point blank ignoring their children. They are safe in the knowledge that their kids are contained in a room with plenty of soft edges. What are a few crushed fingers or smashed heads between new friends?
To sum up, in the main “soft play” is not a positive experience, at least for adults. So imagine my horror when this was the description of how my perfume smelt on me! “Like woodchip in a softplay.” The connotations of a spring day did nothing to soften the blow. Said individual (you know who you are) that dished out bizarre, apparent compliment, doesn’t have kids. He back tracked furiously with talk of cedar, fragrant wood chip, and dew in a Centre Parcs forest.
His apparent woody forest on a fresh spring morning, is my Saturday afternoon nightmare! So L’eau de Soft Play, actually quite an expensive perfume, has been benched, it may never have an outing again.
This leaves me on the hunt for a new scent, recommendations gratefully received. Particularly interested in ones infused with damp towel with subtle tones of chlorine and mildew from a public swimming pool.