I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stop the Insanity!

It's freezing outside, raining cats and dogs, I'm parenting without DH (and thus cannot fob kids off onto him), and I've got three kids who desperately need to blow off some steam. Hmmm, what to do, what to do...I know! I'll shlep across town to an indoor play centre we've never been to! That's a great idea! Note to self: great ideas are rarely great. The end result is that the kids did burn off some pent-up energy, stayed dry, and we left with only one pair of eyes in tears (quickly resolved with a promise of real food at home and inane Hi-5 music at full volume for the car ride home) . I've decided that indoor play centres are really just large rooms full of evil, and here's why:

  1. You have to mortgage your first born child to get in. It cost me, wait for it, $27 to just get in the door. Yes, they charge the ADULTS to go in, not just the kids. Frankly, I'm quite happy to pay them the $8 per kid, and LEAVE the kids in there without me. I can go hang out in the warm car reading the paper and loving the quiet...but guess what, that's not allowed because 'children must be accompanied by an adult.' Okay, there's plenty of adults in there who paid the admission fee. THEY can accompany my kids. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. So even if you only have one kid, it costs you $11 just to walk in the door. You have not had one iota of fun and you're already in debt. This is the part where you pray to god that more than an hour goes past before your kid starts whining that they want to go home. "I paid 11 bucks, dammit! Now go out there, get run over by a bigger kid, and HAVE FUN."
  2. There are far too many "if I ignore my kid they will go away" parents in there, all of whom are drinking overpriced coffees (and pretending like they're not eating their kids chips). It's like they take their kids there and forget the kids exist. Now, I myself am guilty of this but only in small bursts. Every couple of minutes I actually LOOK UP from my self-centered world and I scan to find my kids. ALL of them. If I can't find them, I get up off my fat arse and check on them. As in, SEE them or TOUCH them and make sure they are alive and have not been killed by the asshole kamikaze kid who hurls himself into other kids at 85 kmph with nary an 'excuse me'. Every single time I get up, I find a kid crying their eyes out, laying on the brightly-coloured floor or the recent victim of a stampede of six year olds. Is there a parent to be found? Nup. So I hang out with said kid, trying to calm them (and remember I don't do kids so this is an effort for me) until some responsible looking adult comes looking for their kid. Do you KNOW how many times I have picked up kids I don't know (by the hand or whatever) and gone looking for their Mum? Too many to count. People, a slide is not a babysitter. Indoor play centres are not an excuse to dabble in a bit of child neglect.
  3. The birthday party thing. Ooooh, I get it. Stuff in a small room forty kids, aged between 3 and 5. Let them run totally riot, then sit them down in the small room again and stuff them with fries, cordial, birthday cake, and other high fat and high sugar things, and then send them out there to MOW DOWN my kids. Lovely. While the birthday party kids are out there burning off the 4,000 calories of sugar and hysteria, the parents sit around pretending not to eat the leftover cheezles and party pies. This immediately makes them the parents I describe in #2. The birthday party kids then leave, leaving in their wake the debris of chips, wrapping paper, and a dozen kids with head injuries....and then in another half hour the whole cycle starts again in the Rainbow Room.
  4. Food in general, since we're on the topic...actually, in their defense I have to say lots of indoor play places have decent menus, with healthy food options available and the price is not too unreasonable. Usually. Today, however, when I went to order DD#1 a cheese sandwich (a bargain at $2), they told me it would be a 30 minute wait. BUT, I could have chips/cookies/candy/fried anything in less than 3 minutes. You can just imagine the look on my face. Actually I have a confession to make. I spent $3 and bought the trio a bowl of fries to share, in order to stop the "I'm hhuuuunnnggggyyy" whines. They ate them, went off to play, and half an hour lady a waitress person brought me another bowl of fries. I did actually tell her we'd already gotten our ordered bowl of fries and sent her away. She spent the next 30 seconds looking around, totally lost, carrying this bowl around. I put her out of her misery and said, "Why don't you just leave them here?" - which she promptly did. So we got two bowls for $3. Hey, I'm nothing if not a) practical and b) opportunistic.
  5. When you are on your own (as I was), other people think this therefore entitles them to a) take all the chairs at your table away (good thing I was sitting on one otherwise it too would've been snatched), leave dirty dishes on your table (which they cleared from the table they had been stalking for the last 10 minutes), and in general act as though you do not exist. It makes you glad you stole someone else's chips.
These places are just ....ooohhhh, sooooo painful. In the end it was well over $30 for the kids to spend less than 3 hours there and me to rescue 2 kids who were not my own. This works out at about $10 an hour, or $3.33 per kid, per hour. A bargain? Well, some might think so. Personally I think it's an exercise in parental hell, fuelled by sugar, fat, and rainy day hysteria. Tomorrow's brilliant rainy day activity is the library...I figure there at least it's quiet.


Anonymous said...

I have just caught up with 3 1/2 months of facinating blogs, well done DIL, keep it up.


Poppets mum said...

I had opposite experience from you yesterday. Took poppet to Lollypops and met friend(and former Giml classmate) V, her little sister Shel and their mum L and we were there for 3 and a bit hours and we had a lovely time. I suggest Lollypops over Kidspace because it is a lot easier to keep an eye on kids without having to get up all the time as the tables are really near the equipment and it is slightly less, well Bonkers!!!! Also cheaper for both kids and parents - parents cost to get in but get free hot drink!!!

chelley said...

oh and I hope you dont have happen to you and get gastro from visiting the play place!
EVERYTIME I have gone to the city and gone to one the kids have GOT sick!!!

chelley said...

Sounds like FUN!!!! NOT!!! Geasshh I cannot belive that it COSTS that much!!!