We were at soft-play. Jake & Ellie were having fun, but had been up & down the night before with coughs & so had a bit less energy than usual. This, as it did today, often results in their being a bit more clingy, & wanting to sit or play with me more than usual.
I’d got roped in to going down the slide with them, 1 one each knee: they thought this was a great wheeze!
We were heading up around for our 3rd go; I was in front, then Jake, who plonked himself on my right leg.
I was taking them to our favourite soft play place but when we arrived it was inexplicably closed, & not for the first time. Only this time there was a “To Let” sign at the front. That’s as disappointing as it is surprising; it’s probably the best soft-play place I’ve ever seen.
I never really managed to convince them it was closed. I kept hearing “Maybe they didn’t know we were coming”, and “We should ‘phone to tell them we’re coming then they’ll open up”. Nonetheless we set off for another soft-play place, although they were still convinced that the first one had moved & that we were going there!
We’ve been there several times & they’re really enjoyed it. Oddly though Jake was adamant he didn’t want to go. I thought he’d change his mind when we got there, but he didn’t!
We ended up going to a local fun farm, which both Jake & Ellie were keen on. Me: less so, mostly as by now it was a 50-minute drive.
But all’s well, etc.: there’s loads to do there & we had a great time, staying most of the day.
They love the adventure play areas, the little car-racing track, being around so many other children, & trying to gate-crash birthday parties!
As I was taking Jake to the loo I saw the door open to the outside attractions, & saw several goats staring in at us hopefully.
“Hey, Jake – look at the goats!”
Call it “spontaneous”, call it “speaking without thinking”, call it “stupid”.
Next it was: “I want to go outside to feed the animals”. “Me too!”
Did I mention rain? And cold?
Although they had their raincoats I’d come prepared for nice, warm, dry soft-play, not a muddy farm. No proper raincoat & not-quite-waterproof slip-on shoes.
Oh, well. They enjoyed feeding the goats, even though 1 snatched Ellie’s bag of feed right out of her hand. We “Oohed” & “Aahed” at the fluffy ducks & rabbits, & enjoyed watching the sheep, the little ponies & the pigs.
They insisted on going on the swings, ignoring Daddy’s talk of “wet bottoms”.
Common sense soon prevailed however, so they disembarked & headed for the tractors. After I actually managed to talk them out of going in the adventure play area!
Actually it was good fun despite the weather.
Although by the time we stopped at the little play-houses – again – & I was asked to “be The Big Bad Wolf” I was starting to get a little grumpy. I politely suggested we go inside…
…where we enjoyed some slightly less rural pursuits!
Parents of twins, or indeed of 2 or more children: do yours have ‘favourite fights’?
Sitting in “the driver’s seat” – the car seat behind the actual driver’s seat – is probably the main one right now.
“It’s my turn to sit in the driver’s seat!” “No, it’s my turn!” “My turn!” “No, mine!”. And so on.
I used to use the tactic of “Whoever’s first to the car gets to sit in the driver’s seat” when I picked them up from preschool. No more! It may have got them moving but it almost always ended in tears, especially as they were usually tired & due a nap.
Most of the time I can’t remember whose turn it is; I really need to get a system in place.
On Monday as we were heading off to soft-play it was the usual. Jake got there first, with Ellie complaining.
Jake seemed to sit & think for a bit.
He then said something like “No, I think it is Ellie’s turn.” (Picking up a toy from the other seat) “Ellie was playing with this yesterday so she must have been in the other seat.”
He then gave the driver’s seat to Ellie.
Ellie was pleased.
I was flabberghasted.
And when I picked my jaw up from the ground I realised I’d found my system: thanks, m’boy!
At soft-play yesterday I, somewhat optimistically, brought a book with me. And I actually managed 2 pages – a new record!
At 1 point Ellie asked to have a look at it. She then thought it very funny to run around the play area with it.
Jake wasn’t too impressed with this. He went after her, took the book from her – gently but firmly – & brought it back to me, saying “There you are, Daddy”, an expression of serious concern on his face.
Less pleasantly, there was a bigger boy there who for some reason seemed to have taken a dislike to me. He actually hit me repeatedly, through the mesh of the ball-pit, & called me silly names. (“Smelly poopy-head” was 1 I remember; Jake & Ellie found this hilarious – thanks for the support, guys!)
He was also being rough with other children. He continued to hit me & call me names, in front of Jake & Ellie, every chance he got & I felt I had to speak to his parent / carer when I figured out who they were.
If it was me I would have been mortified. In fact I had to intervene earlier when Ellie got aggressive with a boy there; Jake actually came over to tell me about it, which I thought was, again, very mature of him. She doesn’t like her stuff being taken!
When I talked to them (a Dad) however instead of “I’m sorry” I just got “He’s 6!”. I made my point, I hope gently but firmly, asked him to speak to his son, & walked off.
A little later I saw him being shouted at; I didn’t see them around again after that so I assume he’d been taken home.
Afterwards I remembered seeing his being spoken to pretty aggressively by his Dad as they came in, & thinking how awful it was to speak to your own child so angrily, & in public. As much as I was relieved to see him go I couldn’t help but feel bad for him; it’s possible I’m just being judgmental but it seemed pretty clear where his bad behaviour came from.
Soon after that we joined in with a brilliant ball-fight another Dad was having with his little boy, about the same age as the twins. 1 brilliant Dad redressing the balance – with me somewhere in-between!