IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

Mayhem. Manic. Madness. Mental. Monkeys.

So many M words to describe a play centre on a weekend.

To children it’s a happy place to run amok. A place where they can gorge on junk food. A place where they are given more freedom while still under the parental eye. Supposed relaxed parents sit around savouring good coffee nearby. It’s a safe and secure place. Idealistically a parent or carer’s refuge.

In reality, it looks more like a jungle of mayhem with children of all ages running in random directions, hyped up on sugar and a teardrop away from epic tantrums. Obnoxiously loud music reverberates around the cavernous room coupled with the cacophany of sounds from excited children. If you didn’t have a headache upon entering, you’re bound to leave with one.

Once you relinquish your child at the entrance of the gym, sighting them is as rare as a deep sea Oarfish in Japan. Unless of course, you have a toddler that needs your assistance then you must enter the jungle, fight your way through suffocating high and low terrains, breathe in the cloying smell of sweat and inevitable get stuck in some netting.

Not to mention the minefield of social etiquette for ‘playing nice’ and ‘taking turns’ because really, it’s a free-for-all when we’re dealing with young children.

So when I find myself crawling through an uncomfortably small tube after Henry, sweating like I’m dying in Bikram yoga, I momentarily imagine being stuck. I figure at least I might get a quick nap in while management tries to pry my ass out. My daydreaming is shortlived as I see Henry pushing another toddler over. I rush over and grab Henry’s hand from striking the poor kid again, who is wailing on the floor next to his mother.

“I am so sorry. Is your child ok? Henry doesn’t normally hit other kids. I’m not sure why he did that.” I ramble out an apology, make Henry say sorry and hightail away.

After the third victim of Henry’s outlash, I call it day. There is only so much glaring from parents (rightfully so) and apologising I can do.

I drag a screaming and kicking Henry away from the gym.

“Sorry mummy. Sorry, little boy!” Henry wails.

I sigh in defeat as I carry my mad monkey out of this jungle, envisaging a bunch of laughing chimpanzees throwing their poop at the back of my head for not predicting this tantrum.

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