19 August 2009

What a Difference Nine Months Makes

My Mum and I took the boys to a soft play centre today. I was slightly apprehensive after last time...

Nine months ago Andy and I took the boys to a birthday party at a soft play centre. Cash was only ten weeks old and got cuddled a lot, he took it all in and watched the other children.

Presley was fourteen months old. He was still quite a shy baby, nervous of strangers and unusual situations.

We sat him in the ball pond. He clearly felt uneasy. He found a red ball and held it for comfort. He held onto this ball the whole time we were there. Unfortunately some older boys jumped in the ball pond and frightened him. We lifted him out, crying his eyes out, with his comfort ball.

We tried him on other toys but he wasn't enjoying himself. He just wanted to crawl around, with his red ball.

Andy and I felt so sorry for him. We are both naturally shy people and to see him on the sidelines, not daring to join in, really upset us.

Roll forward nine months...

Today demonstrated to me how far he has come. His socialisation and confidence have improved no end. He's still quiet, but he's a different boy to last time.

With Cash happily crawling about the baby area I sat and watched Presley learn how to climb up a bumpy ramp and then whizz down the slide. His hair was flying out behind him and his grin stretched from ear to ear. He ran round to the ramp and did it again and again and again. When other toddlers joined him he was courteous, moving to the far slide when necessary.

After a good half an hour of slide action Mum and I wanted a coffee (and a cake of course) so we put the boys in some highchairs for a break. Presley wanted to carry on playing but it was so hot in there that I wanted him to have a drink and a snack. He was red in the face. I've never seen him so active.

Once we released him he decided to up his game and investigate the climbing frames in the big children's area. I was trying to get Cash to sleep so I missed Presley's debut slide down the large covered helter skelter. When I found out what he had done I couldn't believe it. My little boy, the daredevil!

Mum took over Cash buggy-wheeling duty and I followed Presley. Up the huge ramp he went, with me lumbering behind him. I wondered if there was an adult weight limit. Eek! It was okay, I didn't break the scaffolding. He proceeded to investigate the whole place. Some bigger boys knocked him down. He got up again, he was fine. When he wanted to get down he chose to slide down the ramp. I tried to encourage him to climb down safely, but I ended up half carrying him while making my way down gingerly.

If you had asked me this morning whether Presley would have dared go in the big children's area, I would have said 'no'. If you had asked me would I be clambering about with him, I would have said 'no way'. But we both did it.

I was so proud of him. He had a wonderful time and didn't want to leave. We're definitely going back. Mum can look after Cash as he zooms around frenetically playing with all the baby toys. Andy can clamber round with Presley. Me? I'll be following them with the video camera, zooming in on my confident, happy little boy's beautiful flushed face. Then I'll have a coffee and a cake.



  1. I love these play things - but I'm not a supervisor. I take my newspaper and let them get on with it. Marie's nearly twenty-one months now, but she's been going in the big children's bit (officially for four to twelve year olds) since she was fifteen months old. It used to scare me, but she's still not broken. :-)

  2. I won't go near soft play centres any more since my four year old got punched several times by an eight year old (who had previously been "friends" with her) and then squashed. I know most kids love those places but I would say keep a VERY close eye on your children - not all kids have the good manners of yours or the caring parents.

    Mel xxx

  3. Zak loves the soft play, we recently "took" daddy for the first time, I'm not sure who had more fun, but everytime Darren comes home now he ask "shall we take Zak to softplay?"

    Zak was very like Presley to begin with, but its amazing to watch your childs confidence grow as they explore their world....Lovely post.

  4. Bless-I wish Chrissy was a bit more shy-she literally scares kids older than her!

  5. Aah isn't it amazing when they change right before your eyes? That's so lovely for you to see him all happy and confident. And such a relief...hope the cake was nice! x

  6. Aww, well done Presley!
    And well done mummy too! :D

  7. Soft play is a big love of ours. We take Zach and his friends at least once a week and they love it. They get pretty bored in the baby bit so daddy has to take them all into the big kids bit. Well done Presley! It's is weird and yet amazing when you see them changing! Makes you realise they are becoming little people.

    Oh and nothing beats the cakes at soft play. I could eat them all LOL x x

  8. Ah....the growth process. It is truly amazing.

    Bravo little one! And you too Mom.

  9. I think soft play rock , we have a great one about 10 minutes from my house that is just wonderful for the under 5s and best of all its FREE .

    Sounds like your boy really is growing up

  10. It's so reassuring when they get their confidence. A lovely story. Soft play is great for a rainy day when they've got energy to burn (some are a bit grubby!). I'm not so enthusiastic at the moment as my baby bump means I end up huffing and puffing around after them. Have to keep going though!

  11. Mwa, wow, you're brave! I think perhaps I baby him too much.

    Mel, oh your poor daughter. That's awful. I'm not surprised you stay away. One big boy accidentally knocked Presley over, but apologised straight away (probably because I was there)! xxx

    Lorraine, funnily enough, when we got home Andy came running out to ask how we had got on. He now keeps asking when we're going again! It is lovely to see them grow in confidence :-)

    Claire, oh how funny!

    Maternal Tales, yes, it was lovely. He's really growing up. I did enjoy the cake, it was a blackcurrant muffin! x

    Leslieanne, thanks, I still can't believe I got up there - and down again! x

    Laura C, I would love to take him every week, but having a nearly one year old as well means I would need someone to go with me. Presley did go to Gymbabes and I would like to take him to Tumbletots, but I haven't got anyone to look after Cash every week :-( Yes, the cakes are good! x

    Jenny Mac, thanks! Yes, it is amazing to see them grow :-)

    Jen, yay!! :-)

    Laura M, That's lucky. Our one isn't far, but it's only free for the under ones. Still, it was a very cheap activity overall. Yes, Presley is growing up *sigh* x

    Whistlejacket, yes, he really was a different boy. This place was pretty clean and appeared to be well run. I took Presley to Gymbabes when I was 7 months pregnant - hard work isn't it?!

  12. S was exactly the same at our local soft play place, a few months went by and you'd think he was a different boy. I think some children are ready for those situations earlier than others x

  13. Clare, yes I think you're right. He was soooo not ready before. It is lovely when they gain that confidence. x

  14. You have an interesting blog and a new follower…me. I am coming back to read some more of your posts later today.

    Love & Hugs
    Duchess ♥♥♥

  15. Duchess, welcome and thanks for following. I have returned the favour. Your blog is beautiful, amazing photos. Looking forward to seeing more.


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