A padded cell awaits young JJ every Saturday…

10 09 2013

There are many exciting destinations in St Albans that JJ enjoys.

Sainsbury’s to push the trolley about and generally smile at people.

Westminster Lodge to go swimming here, or at least do a very good impression of a plank of wood every weekend.

Verulamium Park is JJ’s favourite destination to watch the ducks, walk around the splash park and generally fall asleep in his pram.

The Maltings and general shopping in St. Albans offer’s plenty of opportunity to people watch and act all cute to grab attention.

And of course his time spent at Gymboree.

To the uninitiated among you Gymboree is a class for children of all ages that combines music, soft play, climbing apparatus, toys and mayhem.

I take JJ to the Saturday morning class, which is free time and not a structured class.

It’s also a melting pot of local Dads who probably haven’t seen their kids all week.

So of course it gives Mum’s the chance to stay at home and snooze.

Well at my house it does.

On arriving, JJ tends to motor off at the earliest opportunity suspiciously looking back over his shoulder to ensure he is truly free to roam.

He keeps me on my toes as he launches for ladders and anything he can climb up.

There are of course soft padded floormats and all manner of soft landings, but I’m sure JJ would still find a hard place to land.

It can be quite quiet for a while when the doors first open, giving me a chance to crawl around and chase JJ acting the crazy fool.

As more and more children arrive, the ensuing maelstrom of activity destroys what was briefly an oasis of tranquility.

Noise levels go up several decibels and octaves.

Kids start banging into each other.

“Don’t snatch,” echoes around the room.

Dads catch up, whilst occasionally breaking formation like the Red Arrows, as their kid readies for an Evel Knievel-esque stunt at the top of a climbing frame.

The crying begins.

Dads start to sweat.

Pools of dribble form around the room.

Dads find their inner child and let go of their seriousness of the week, acting the fool, pretending to be dogs, gorillas, ghosts, invisible.

It’s then that you realise that these padded cells are for the Dads more than the kids.

And then as quick as it has begun, peace descends once more as the little whirling dervishes leave to no doubt create more chaos at home, Westminster Lodge, Sainsbury’s and so on.

Gymboree is of course designed for the kids.

That’s why I love it.

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7 responses

10 09 2013
Alastair

Pools of dribble form around the room. and that’s just the dads 😉

I loved it when I used to take my kids to things like that. I miss them times. Make the most of them, Paul. They are gone all too fast

12 09 2013
Frankwell

Wise words my friend, I spend time wishing away progress like walking and talking and next thing I know it, they will have run away shouting “see you soon!”

12 09 2013
Alastair

Which is what I have at the moment. “I’m going out with my friends tonight”, “I’m going camping this weekend”

12 09 2013
Frankwell

I can imagine I’ll end up saying “Can I come,” to which the reply will be “no Dad you’re embarrassing.”

12 09 2013
Alastair

Haha yes, I get that. Followed by “I’d rather have you than mum” The kids know I embarrass them on purpose. Their mother will just burst into tears in front of my daughters friends saying how hard her life is. I’m so glad I am divorced lol

12 09 2013
Frankwell

Haha! That’s just reminded me of a blog I need to write up following an embarrassing Dad situation on the Tube. Thanks!

12 09 2013
Alastair

😀 I look forward to that

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