We have a reward system for the children who both have a glass coffee jar, and each time I see good behaviour they get a marble. As they fill the jar up with marbles they get a ‘Daddy treat’ which they can choose, but I get the final say. My son had earned his Daddy treat and today he chose to go to a soft play centre. Whoopee, iffy coffee served through some old ladies tights, tables with mandatory wobbles, suspect cake, freezing cold in the winter, and nuclear heating in the summer, can you tell I am scarred?!
We got into my car, with all the enthusiasm of a turkey in December, and you would have thought I was taking them shopping. I turned on the music, cranked up the heating, only to get to the next junction to ask for the music to be turned off and the windows opened. Ok, lets paint a picture, outside it is January as I write this, and people are wearing coats, scarves and hats, and the car is not far off giving me an ice warning. We opened the windows, and by the time we got to the soft play centre I was unable to feel my lips due to the Arctic conditions inside the car.
As we got to the soft play centre the lady announced that it would be costing me £10 to get in. Sorry Sweet Cheeks, but from where I come from £10 was enough to travel from the coast to central London and ride the bus around for the day looking at things steeped in history and atmosphere. The only atmosphere I could sense here were reluctant parents and kids who were practising their teenager grumpy years! I duly paid Dick Turpin who was robbing me blind, and entered the play centre. I did a double take, as I was sure this was a freezer or cold store. I did wonder if I volunteered a few pounds if we could requested the heating on, but gave up and went back to the boot of my car for a coat and scarf. The kids shot off, and I used the toilets, which were even colder with the floor clearly demonstrating that potty training was not going very well for some children. I held my breath as I went in. On exiting I found hardly any soap to wash my hands, but I guessed this was for kids, and as my children tell me they cannot see any germs, so they do not need to wash their hands. I scraped enough soap to wash my hands. As I turned the taps on disaster struck! The water blasted out so fast that I was now wearing jeans that looked like potty training was not going too well for the adults either.
I came out of the loos to warm up in the freezing cold play centre, and the staff all looked at my jeans wondering if I had a little accident. I sat down embarrassed just as my wife announced she had found money in her wallet and would I like coffee and cake. Cake yes, but I could not take the coffee which was bound to taste like it was strained through some old ladies tights and then stirred with a spoon that was dying to be put out of its misery. I asked for tea, which again would taste like it was served in a cup last washed back in the 1980’s, and I was not disappointed, but the cake was great. As I took my first sip of the dish water tea a loud blood curdling cry emanated around the play centre, and all parents looked up, and this time it was not my child, (Oh yeah baby, things were on the up,) but before I got too excited the child turned around and said “He did it!” Then, as all parents watched with baited breath, he pointed to our son. My wife did the walk of shame, and made our prized bull fighter apologise.
My wife came back and as we tucked into our cake, we looked at the giant children’s clock on the wall and noticed this had packed up and time was now standing still. Funny that, based on the décor of the loos time had stopped still in there too! We left and I was intent on brighting up the mood so I volunteered a couple of gold coins so they could get toys out of the vending machine as the final part of the Daddy treat, only for smiles to turn to sadness when Daddy got the wrong ones! Hang on a minute my little bundles of loveliness, I did not choose them, they were given at random, but for the sake of sanity I apologised for getting it wrong. Silly Daddy, what was I thinking by trying to bless them with a vend machine toy?
If anyone needs me I will be down the garden today eating worms with wet jeans from the dodgy play centre bathroom taps.