On Saturday I made the – what some would describe as brave, and others stupid – decision (for the record it’s the latter) to take both the kids to soft play on my own. I say ‘decision’; it was more a bribe because I needed to go sofa shopping and it was all I could think of to keep my daughter relatively well behaved in the ‘shop of expensive things’.
Taking a baby and a nearly four year old to soft play on your own is never a good idea.
Inevitably my daughter spent the first half an hour whinging because I couldn’t go on the curly-wurly slide with her, to then completely disappear and only rematerialise half an hour later with her face painted and clutching a demand for £2. Thankfully she did eventually realise that it was more fun to run off on her own then sit with me and say ‘mummy’ fifteen billion times before going off to burn off more energy, allowing me to eat her discarded cold chips in peace.
Then something happened that almost broke my heart in half. She came running over and whispered that she really wanted to play with the small group of girls on the next table. I could see the appeal; they were a couple of years older and dressed head to toe as princesses, so I told her to go and ask. It went like this:
I: Please can I play with you? Princess: Why? I: Because I haven’t got anyone else to play with and you look beautiful in your dresses. Princess: No. We’re here for a party, so we only want to play together.
Then they walked away.
How dare they?
It took all my strength not to march up to them and launch into a speech about how awesome my daughter was and that they’d be lucky to play with her. Then demand they include her in their frankly lame-looking game!
But then I suppose it’s another lesson for her to learn as she grows up: the lesson that not everyone will want to play with you, or you with them, and that’s OK really.
In the end she took it pretty well.
Her bottom lip quivered for a second and then she was off up the climbing frame playing tag with someone else. I’m just hoping it’s taught her that choosing friends based on the fabulousness of their dresses is not always the best strategy.