Sunday 9 December 2012

Week 66- ball pools, rainy days and Jeremy Kyle

There is literally nothing to do with a one year old when the weather's rubbish, and you have a flat the size of an old 50p.

Nancy's got her own cupboard. Which is a no expense spared collection of Tupperware and old magazines, which she empties, I refill, she empties, and repeat until she's bored.

That's fun for about 10 minutes.

And then there's the 30 second cruise around the flat.

A visit to the bathroom to chuck all her toys in the bath tub, as well as the candles I used to use when having a soak in another lifetime.

And finally, and I usually hold out until things are really reaching breaking point, a play on the TV remote control.

That's a total of about 23 minutes. Then we've got about another eight hours to fill.

So, Ulrika and I decided to take the girls to a soft play area.

At three quid fifty, I wasn't expecting luxury on tap, but basically, if I owned a disused air hangar, I'd stick a ball pool in it, wrap scaffolding with foam and drop leaflets round all the mums groups advertising a new funplex.

It was so cold that you can see your own breath, and when we look up, it's clear why.

Half the roof is missing. There's literally cracks in the corrugated plastic panels. You need to keep your coat on inside.

Unless you're sat in the cafe, where the strip heaters are turned up so high that you'd at best get a sun tan, and at worst, melt all your skin off.

At least it's somewhere for them to bezz about for a bit.

And Nancy looks like she's having more fun that she's had with me for days.

But after a little while it becomes clear that quite a lot of the parents of the under threes have gone AWOL, and left their children to play off on their own.

Which would be fine, if half of them weren't complete bullies.

When is it acceptable to tell off someone else's child?

When they grab a toy from your daughter?

When they push her over?

Or when they literally launch themselves through the window of the plastic car, landing on your little girl and totally squashing her, cos they can't wait two minutes for her to get out?

I know it's obviously not on to tell a three year old to bugger off, but you do want the parent to step in at some point, instead of having to explain to the little boy yourself that there are lots of cars they can sit in that are empty, and can he say sorry to Nancy for making her cry.

And then I see his parents and I think, poor little guy, he never really stood a chance on the manners stakes.

They look like they've walked straight off the Jezzer Kyle stage.

The dad, who at a guess is about thirty stone and is tucking into multiple kids meals, nods at me as I'm squatting down with his son.

To be honest, I don't know what I'd do if another parent was telling Nancy off. Ben. Fine obviously. Family, as well, no probs. Close friends, yep. Go for it.

But a total stranger? It feels a bit weird, like what they're really saying is, what a shit job of parenting your doing.

Please, please can Nancy grow up to be well mannered, kind and thoughtful, all of her own doing, so I don't have to ever deal with it?

But in the meantime, roll on summer, so we can hang out outside.

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