We’ve all been there (some more than others) the dreaded cesspit of soul deprivation AKA soft play. That might be a bit harsh actually – I rather enjoy it these days, now that my children actually play there. But as an expert soft play observer (spending 78% of your waking time somewhere qualifies you as an expert, right?) I feel like I am in a position to give you the low-down on the Dads you are certain to find there, still with me? Ok…
The Dad who thinks soft play is his home office
‘What’s the wifi code?’ is his first question as he reaches into his briefcase (yep, you heard..) and takes out his laptop, mobile, filofax (what can I say? He’s a 90’s kinda guy) and hold on… is that a flipchart and white board marker? Too much Office Dad, too much.
The Big Kid
You initially mistake him for a teenager on speed as he hares past you on the slide. It’s an easy mistake to make as he is dressed like he’s just come back from a gap year in Thailand. This dad is profoundly useful because he is well up for playing hide and seek for hours with the entire soft play child clientele. Whether he actually has his own kids with him nobody knows.
The Over Protective Dad
He’s policing this soft play like his life depends on it – risk assessing every slide and testing the buoyancy of every padded corner. You might mistake him for a member of staff as he lets the children down the slide at safely spaced regular intervals whilst wearing a high vis tabard.
Talking his child through every step of soft play like he’s an Olympic coach. Mopping little Humperdink’s brow with a baby wipe, pouring a water bottle into his mouth and then sending him back in with a quick ‘c’mon son’ and a sharp blow of his whistle.
If there isn’t a picture of him having fun with his children in soft play then quite frankly he didn’t have fun with his children in soft play. He is wearing dad merch, carrying a selfie stick and spending a inordinate amount of time facing the window because the natural light hits his profile just right.
The Sleep Deprived Dad
He’s only there for the caffeine and is instantly recognisable by the dark circles around his eyes and the fact that he’s hooking up an IV drip from his arm to the coffee machine. Has been known to catch 20 winks during a long blink and can be found curled up in a comfy corner using a small child as a pillow.
So which Dad do you identify with the most? And who have I missed? I’m going to soft play this afternoon and will be sidling up to the ‘Big Kid Dad’ whilst drinking coffee like it’s going out of fashion with the ‘Sleep Deprived Dad’. Wish me luck!