How any parent ever blogs more than once every three months I’ll never know. Yes, maybe they are people who spend their childrens’ naptimes doing useful things like, well, blogging, instead of looking at Drunk Baby in Las Palmas on their phones or doing difficult-with-baby multitasking things like eating chips and reading books at the same time. But blogging requires much more braining than I am usually capable of, but I am trying to get into a habit of doing it just before I go to sleep, when my brain is surely at its peak, right? (zzzzzzz.) This week’s drama is that the Rocket has finally cut her first tooth, and by cut, I mean she has been sad and angry about it, and also I mean that little fucker is sharp. Who thought that was a good design idea? Putting something like a serrated knife into the gums of a creature that breastfeeds? But I’m (painfully) off-topic.
Since the Rocket and her friends have become mobile it’s become much trickier to meet up as a mothers’ group. We used to go to cafes to inhale coffee and exhale angsty stories of woe, but now the kids are too wiggly and are not particularly interested in sitting on our laps for two hours while we badmouth them. (I’m kidding. They’re great.) So we’ve been throwing out new ideas for places to meet, and when it was too rainy for the park recently, one of my pals came up with Playdays. There are places like this everywhere, I suspect: a huge indoor place where you dump your kids and they go bananas with the brightly coloured New Things everywhere. But I’d never been inside one until now, and they are both alarming and awesome.
Playdays in Doncaster is much bigger than my terrible picture makes it look, and costs about $6 for a kid between the ages of 6 months and 2 years (it’s $1 for babies under 6 months, $9 for 2-6 year olds and parents are always free). Our kids were too young for most things–it’s really geared to an older market–but they had fun, and there’s lots of space to roll/crawl/sit/lie in, and ball pits for the adults to lose their jewellery in, and a bouncy castle. For older kids there are heaps of cubby houses and slides and little cars and all kinds of stuff. For adults, there’s coffee and snacks. There are lots of high chairs. Only one of us hit the change room, and reported that it was stinky and not excellent. Nevertheless, we have returned and will again, because it’s a great idea. We kind of just piled our kids in a circle, dumped a couple of toys on them (their favourite collective thing to do is chew on each others’ things) and let them share, or not share if you are Rocket. (I am GOOD at sharing, so this is a habit I will try and stop her from continuing.)
I’m really eternally grateful for places that are just a huge indoor space, and wish that there were more–I’ve now developed a fantasy in which I become rich and create an indoor park, so that there’s grass and trees but you can go there when it’s raining or when it’s forty-one degrees like, oh, say, yesterday was. (Incidentally, my new house is an igloo, thank you very much excellent new air conditioner.) There are other options we may explore in the future, like community houses where you pay per term, but as we all prefer the park it might not be worth it, unless of course winter does surprising things like Have Rain and Be Cold.
My only advice is that you really need to keep an eye on your kid in these places. Seems obvious, yes, but they might do things like be over-friendly (one kid introduced himself to all of us, then tried to sit on my friend S’s lap) which is fine unless that is not your thing, or be, you know, a kid (one was furiously tearing along in his plastic car and didn’t realise he was about to barrel straight into a crawling baby until the baby’s mother snatched him out of the way. I can’t tell if it would have ended badly or not, because I am a New Mother and thus basically irrational when it comes to Things Hurtling At Small Children, and apparently also Capital Letters.)
350 Blackburn Rd
There’s a ramp to get in, but I have a vague recollection of a heavy-ish door.