I love going to the local indoor play-centre with the kids. Dennis is now just old enough to enjoy it and Moo runs around shrieking and making new friends. I like to get out and play with them, throw the balls , go down the slides and stuff.
I’ve noticed that I’m starting to see the same types of people every time we go. So I’ve come up with a few stereotypes that I think are recognisable at most play-centres.
Exhausted Mum. Exhausted Mum arrives in a full to capacity late model four wheel drive. She’ll have a five or six year old, twins that are two-three and more than likely be pregnant. She looks like she hasn’t slept properly since the late 1990s. When you see Exhausted Mum you feel like offering her a cup of tea and a piece of cake and possibly a foot massage, but that would probably be a bit weird.
Blackberry Dad. Blackberry Dad’s children will streak away from him the moment that the gate is opened. He’ll be wearing a polo shirt and boat shoes. He will get a black coffee and those Elmo flavoured waters for the kids. He’ll find somewhere to sit and spend his entire time answering and writing emails on his Blackberry. If his concentration is broken by anything it will not be his children, but rather some other kids twenty-two year old nanny in a short skirt.
Cool Dad. Cool Dad will be mid to late twenties. He’ll have a few tattoos which will be prominently on display. He will say things like “Rad”, and “Wicked.” Also he will have a tendency to call his children “Mate”, or, “Bud.”
Limpet Child. Limpet child will latch on to you as soon as you get there and follow you around as if he/she is your own. Usually Limpet Child won’t say very much but you will get the feeling that they are a nice child none the less. After half an hour or so Limpet Child’s Mum will notice and come over. If Limpet Child’s mum says anything like “He/she hasn’t seen their father for a while and you look just like him,” its probably time to leave the play-centre, for good.
The Over-sharer. This category isn’t gender specific. The Over-sharer does exactly that, over-shares, and has no boundaries. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a callous bastard. I just don’t like hearing deeply personal or intimate things from someone I have just met. I don’t want to hear about the divorce, or the size of the mortgage, the persistent rash, or an entire medical history of your children.
Nasty Nanny. Nasty Nanny usually does not have a personality that is suited to child care. She is in the wrong job and therefore unhappy and a bit frustrated. She shrieks at the kids and they respond accordingly. When it is time to go the children in her care will head for the most inaccessible location in the play-centre and hide.
Gatecrasher. Both of my kids at some stage have been in this category. I once lost track of Moo at the Play-centre. After some frantic searching I found her sitting at a party table in one of the birthday rooms helping herself to sausage rolls and chocolate crackles. She was having a ball. The fact that she didn’t know anybody was of little concern. None of the party-goers had noticed least of all the birthday boy. I slipped in, took her hand and told her that it was time to go. “I haven’t had any cake yet,” was her response.
I’m sure that there are a few other categories, these are just the that I seem to see regularly. Feel free to offer any suggestions for others.