My second son Leo is finally on the move and sadly for me, I can no longer keep toting him into cafes as he is far too squealy, squirmy and bored. We have progressed to spending our out-of-the-house time at either the park or in a soft play centre, both of which have to be some of my least favourite places to hang out.
The admittedly rather selfish problem I have with most of these kid-friendly places is that they are made only with the kids in mind. Not the parents who skirt the edges, trying to prevent their loved ones from eating bark chips or biting other children.
The point is of course to keep the little rascals amused, but would it really hurt if local councils or centre managers put some effort into making parks and soft plays more adult-friendly? Here are my three top complaints that I can be found muttering about to fellow parents while watching from the sidelines:
1. Where is the coffee cart?
I’ve just spent 10 minutes origami-ing my wriggling infant into the car seat, packed the boot and driven to the local park or soft play centre. We find a decent car space not too far from the destination in order to unload him, the pram, the picnic rug and assorted accoutrements such as hats, sunscreen, snacks, special play socks etc. This baby is smart, he knows where we are going and I do not want to have to walk another 100m to the café and queue for a coffee while he squeals in anticipation of the fun times I am preventing him from having.
All I want is to arrive at either the park or the soft play centre and give my coffee order to the fabulous and talented barista while I get all set up for a morning of pushing the swing or nervously waiting by the edge of the trampoline. Park or soft play life is a pretty repetitive and boring game, and I know that a decently made double-shot flat white would help me to get through. Maybe even some brioche or a bran muffin? A smattering of magazines? Two-for-one cocktails? Okay I digress but a coffee cart would sure beat my soggy homemade sandwiches or overpriced hot chip and Pluto Pup meal combo.