Our resident dad writer, Chris Windle, happens to be married to one of the Kids of Bath’s co-founders. But we promise that’s not why he’s here! He’s got several published books to his name, and has written for The Times, The Telegraph, Glamour, Mother & Baby and more. Check out his first article for Kids of Bath below & prepare to giggle your Bath buns off…
A Saturday. I am alone with my three children. My wife is out at an urgent appointment. She didn’t specify exactly what that was, but it was urgent and she’d be out all morning. I make a note to arrange some urgent appointments of my own.
And obviously, it’s raining. The kind of rain that gets you wet just looking at it and makes the car smell of damp until it stops again in April. Remember that long hot summer we’ve just had, when pretty much the entire country became a yellowing field of hay? I miss that, the excitement that it might rain, rather than the autumnal certainty in these parts that it’s going to rain, probably every day.
Like all good parents I have digitally tranquillised my offspring. Three devices are blasting nonsense into their faces while I potter about the kitchen listening to a fourth and loading the dishwasher. I’m living the dream and, I like to think, honing their listening skills. If each of them can make out what’s going on, on each individual screen, amid this cacophonous insult to the ears, they’ll have no trouble focusing on what their teacher is saying in a quiet classroom. I’m pretty sure it’ll be high fives all round when I describe this festival of learning at reception class parents evening.
But even the kind of parent who values a hassle free day above almost anything else, knows this noisy peace will not last. I’ve got to get them out before things turn nasty. Which could happen at any point and for any reason. One of them might innocuously lean on their sibling, or, out of nowhere, accuse them of being a stupid bum bum and BOOM, they’re all throwing chairs at each other and making for the knife drawer.
Thank goodness then, there is a website where I can check out everything that’s going on nearby (that’s this one, by the way). All the cultural events and sights, all the educational and character building pursuits, all the outdoor activities, all the farm shops and petting zoos… Having said that I won’t be going to any of those. There’s only one place this is ending up: SOFT. PLAY.
Fresh air, new experiences, educational value, these things are not top of my priority list right now. I know my limitations, I know I won’t be able to keep three kids entertained and safe on my own out in the big wide world, especially when two of them are four-year-olds who instinctively run in opposite directions.
I set a low bar. I just want to bring my rabble home intact and weary (but not so weary they fall asleep in the car – that would be a calamity). For that I need a padded room with a secure perimeter, which preferably has drinkable coffee and good WiFi (I’ve got a lot of extremely important things to do on my phone). And for that there’s no place like softplay.
Looking for soft plays in and around Bath? Step this way….