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so with 18 months under my mothering belt i feel less and less like that new nervous mama. that is until i'm thrown into a situation i've never handled before, than that new mother feeling comes rushing back with the ahhhh what the hell do i do?? question ringing in my head.

which brings me to my next subject...

soft play, people.

don't be fooled by the word 'soft', it would appear at times soft play is anything BUT soft. this isn't exclusive to soft play mind, i'm talking toddler groups and play centres too. yes this is where i'm going to sound like the overprotective (slightly crazed) mother because her son has been picked on by other children, but damn it, i am and i don't care.

you see, you can do or say whatever you want to me, i'm big enough and ugly enough to take care of myself. but my boy, you wanna mess with my boy?? are you sure about that??

okay i joke, i'm not about to go hauling other peoples kids about. i swear. if you live in the edinburgh area your kids are perfectly safe ;)
in fact, don't believe the fighting talk for a second. the reality of the situation is that i actually feel like crying for caleb when it happens.

told you, slightly crazed. 

in just the last couple of weeks, caleb has been...
                                                                 
 ...rammed full force with a metal play food trolley in the face (belter of a bruise), the child in question had tried to do this a few times but i managed to stop him, explaining it was not nice, third time lucky and all that (for him, not caleb).
                                                                  
 ...strangled (yes that was literally horrific). in fairness i think the boy just wanted to hug caleb, but he was much bigger than him and it all went horribly wrong when caleb decided he didn't want to be hugged and tried to move out of the hug. which had now become the crook of the boys arm around caleb's neck. the little boy lent back full force while caleb struggled to get free. i got the boys arm to loosen (but not immediately as his hold was frighteningly tight) and scooped caleb up who was gasping for air. this situation in particular makes me sick at thought of what would have happened had no one been paying attention.
                                                               
 ...pushed repeatedly by another boy, caleb would move away to be followed by the boy for more pushing. no reason, just an instant dislike it would appear.

 ...body slammed (i'm talking wrestling moves), all because he went up and started talking to this secret amateur wrestler.

...kneed full force in the chest. well he was in the way. simple as.

now i know caleb is of an age were he is obviously going to get hurt at times, and sometimes it's going to be at the hands of other children, nor am i naive enough to think it will never be my child behaving like this towards other children too.

you see, it's not the behaviour i have a problem with, children at this young age they don't realise the weight of their actions, they're not setting out to hurt. they're simply marking their territory, claiming their toy, wanting their own way.

my problem lies with the lack of supervision these children have with whoever has brought them to the play area. i'm not being judgemental here, i get that taking your child out is a chance for them to play independently and blow off some steam while you get to enjoy a cup of coffee. i'm all for enjoying a cup of coffee, but when you're dealing with a bunch of under 4s in a room together i think you need to keep one eye on your child at all times, for their own safety at least. i'm not talking about hovering over your child, just a watchful eye from across the room, ya know.

all the above incidents i mentioned, there wasn't a parent/carer in sight. which left me in the most awkward situation, what on earth do i say to these kids?? i can't go about chastising other peoples children but nor can i ignore their behaviour. usually when a incident occurs both parents are over immediately, resolving the situation with the appropriate apologies. perfect. problem solved. life lesson learnt for both children involved. but when there's no one about, ahh complete nightmare. i explain that it's not nice behaviour and why not play together, but it falls on deaf ears, after all who the hell am i to them and what do i know?? my words don't hold the same weight that their parents would. i've then gone on to witness these children pretty much terrorise the rest of the kids in the room too, the room is then filled with wailing children, bewildered parents and still zero sign of said terrorist's (i joke, really i do) parent.

lets not talk about the fact that every time caleb has been hit upon, that he looks at me confused and pained. this is the crying part (me, not caleb) i was talking about earlier. ah i know i need to grow a thicker skin, i will. but really a soft play isn't a nursery, there is no supervision from a body of staff. that supervision lies with us, and if that means drinking a cold cup of coffee. surely it means drinking a cold cup of coffee.

what is everyone else's thoughts on this? have you experienced anything similar? how did you handle the situation?

7 comments

  1. I would be telling those awful children off....If there parents/carers have anything to say I would just explain to them where were they when there child was being so rough and nasty!! I have done this before....Kids running riot, parents no where to be seen then pop up when I have a word with their kids....Young kids seem to take more notice if a stranger has stern words with them!! hehehe
    Poor Caleb...Hope he's not put off soft play x

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    1. kim, i love that you just get straight to the point and deal with the situation. i think i tend to over think things and have been so flabbergasted that these children have no one supervising them. i really don't want to be the one telling these kids off, it's not my job, but it looks like i'm going to continue to encounter this behaviour. oh the joys of soft plays etc, who knew ha ha.
      thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! it so good to hear how other mums deal with similar situations :)

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  2. I was a bit worried about reading this post, there was a slight rush of embarrassed redness on my face at the start as I in fact do have one of those children who doesn't quite get personal space and often ends up in a strangling embrace with another child who doesn't want to be hugged. I also have a child with punchy little fists and pokey little fingers, however I breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end because I am always there to discipline him or remove him from a situation and he is always expected to say sorry.

    The thing that winds me up at toddler groups are the parents who tell their children off, give them warning after warning and never see it through because they want to carry on chatting. William hit his little friend at Messy Play once, he said sorry but did it again, I told him if he did it again we would go home and he did, so we went home. I picked him up and carried him all the way home so he didn't have chance to enjoy the walk back, he got plonked in the middle of the lounge and it all happened so quickly that he stood there and said 'where's messy play gone?'. The same night, my mum phoned and she asked him what we had done in the day and he actually sat and said really sadly 'we came home from messy play because I hit Jess'.

    The thing that gets me about soft play centres is seeing 2 or 3 year olds wandering around on their own with no supervision, even if they are well behaved. How do their parents know that they aren't caught in a net somewhere, or fallen down a slide badly and why are they not on edge that they have no idea where their child is????????? I get in a massive panic when I've lost sight of William for less than a second.

    Opps, I've just noticed how much I have been ranting on so I will stop now as it will take you a week to read this comment :)

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    1. oh i'm so glad you continued reading!! and i am so with you on following through with a punishment. just this saturday we were having a great time at one of our close friend's little girl's 1st birthday party. the drinks and amazing food were flowing lots of great people to catch up with, but caleb really was starting to play up. anything we said no to for his own safety he would go crazy. don't you just love it when your child does that in a room full of people??? we warned him we would have to go home if he continued, and go home we did. we were gutted as we were having such a good time and i think caleb is still a little too young to realise this was of because of a direct result of his actions, but we stand by that if we start young and we are consistent in time he'll understand. but hey they're kids and they are going be naughty at times, simple as, and it's our job to guide them as best as we can. goodness they weren't lying when they said this parenting malarky is hard hey!!
      oh and never worry debra, i'm a fan of a ranting comment! thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment, it's great to hear from other mum's, their pearls of wisdom, or just the fact that they understand where you are coming from :)

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    2. Phew, I'm pleased to see your reply is nearly as long as my comment :). It can feel so awkward when they have their tantrums in public but I sometimes think it just feels worse when it's your child and nobody else really takes any notice. William has certainly embraced the terrible twos completely. Every time I thought it couldn't get any worse it did. To be fair to him though most of his mischief is out of curiosity rather than a desire to be naughty and he's the most snuggly, loving little man. I constantly remind myself that he is just going through a stage that most toddlers go through, he's just being a bit more enthusiastic about it. I saw a really nice quote the other day, I can't remember it exactly but it was along the lines of 'I don't know how to be a good parent so I'll just be a good person instead.'

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  3. I am not a fan of soft play and rarely take the boys! Steve occasionally takes them as he is quite happy to go on the equipment with Calvin, and if we are somewhere as a family then we will go so we can take turns dealing with the kids. Calvin doesn't allow anyone to hit him etc- he just hits them back and says "don't do that!". Not ideal, but he rarely hits first and it tends not to happen again when they realise that he sticks up for himself! Tris is the opposite though, and doesn't like to hurt anyone even if they have hurt him first. Definitely think the parents should be dealing with their child. And I agree, it puts you in a really awkward position when they don't. I tend to just tell the child off anyway! Or if I can tell who's child it is, then I usually say something to them! Doesn't usually go down well though, because the ones who don't deal with their kids tend to be the ones who don't see anything wrong with their behaviour!

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  4. oooh i don't look forward to these type of situations, i would hate to think the parents aren't paying attention for the sake of their phone or a cup of coffee... it's hard to teach right from wrong when there is no co-operation with other parents. we should all be in this together but ALAS some people won't see it that way!

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