The one where I’m in the right place at the wrong time

I absolutely cannot stand soft play centres. The smell, the noise, the thought of just what might be lurking at the bottom of that ball pool.. Ugh! Since my youngest daughter started school in September though, it feels like she is being invited to soft play birthday parties every other week. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but as soon as the little darlings start school, they also start on the party circuit and the soft play party surely has to be the worst of all? Mr Mostly loathes them with the same passion so to make it fair, we take it in turns to do birthday party duties.

This weekend saw yet another invite to yet another of these parties and unfortunately for me it was my turn. So my perfectly lovely Sunday was interrupted by trekking out in the sleety rain to spend two hours in soft play hell. When we arrived though, I couldn’t quite tell who the birthday girl was. So after we walked a full circuit of the place still clutching the birthday present, my daughter was chomping at the bit to get playing so I sat myself down at off she went.


I thought that maybe the weather had put some people off and you could tell that most of the parents there knew each other so I presumed that maybe there were more family than school friends there. Anyway, I assumed my usual soft play birthday party position of keeping half an eye on my daughter (who was now swinging like a monkey from some ropes) while pretending to have Very Important Business Inside My Phone (otherwise known as playing Candy Crush)

Before too long, a woman in the most fabulous leopard print coat I have ever seen came over to introduce herself as the birthday girl’s mummy and after cheery hellos I handed over the birthday present. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t recognise her from the playground, or more to the point how on earth had I missed that amazing coat? And then I had the most horrible thought. I looked around and didn’t recognise a soul. Even for somebody like me who does the school run with a strict in-and-out-get-my-children-and-go-go-go-approach, I was surprised that there wasn’t one single person that I recognised. I called my daughter over and asked her lots of her chums were here and she just shrugged and said “I don’t think so” before running off to play again.

Erring on the side of caution, I called home to check with Mr Mostly that I had got the time right thinking that maybe I had arrived early. But I had gone one better than that. The party was indeed at 4.30 but it was only bloody yesterday wasn’t it?! Oh. My. Godfathers. I had gate crashed some poor five year old’s birthday party. What to do? WHAT TO DO? I called my daughter over and whispered to her that Mummy had got her days mixed up and we were at the wrong party. Thankfully, she didn’t scream blue murder but instead fell into hysterics at how silly I had been. So on a promise of chocolate buttons (not just any chocolate buttons, but Marks & Spencer’s Fireman Sam chocolate buttons) we stealthily put on our coats and scarpered.

In almost fifteen years of parenting, I have to say that this is a first although with the deluge of invitations between four children, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just wish that it had happened when it was Mr Mostly’s turn to do birthday party duties as I don’t think I will ever live this down….


15 thoughts on “The one where I’m in the right place at the wrong time

  1. Entertaining Izzy says:

    So funny! We went to a similar party this weekend – only the 2nd we’ve ever been to but I imagine I’ll be feeling much like you do about soft play & parties very soon!


  2. Chet Patel says:

    Brilliant, I’m laughing out loud as I read your post. I loath soft play centres and so far have managed to avoid them (hubby has sadly had to go instead!). But it is totally the kind of thing I would do and have managed to get dates mixed up, double booked and forgotten presents by the door! Sadly I have all this to still come with the 2yo! x


  3. The Mummy Diary says:

    I don’t want to laugh but I am afraid I did, not least because I feel for you. Soft plays are hideous at the best of times. I can’t believe the mum didn’t look at the name on the card and notice that wasn’t her little precious. Hugs x


  4. Mummy X says:

    I think everyone can feel your pain! I don’t think I know anyone who actually likes soft play (other than the kids) yet everyone keeps insisting on having parties there. Surely you get to skip a few after that experience to give you time to recoup?!


  5. Godders45 says:

    I am so with you. I loathe soft play. I always want to bathe myself and the girls in Dettol the minute we walk out of the places. Fortunately for me, after about 6 weekends in a row of going to the same hideous place, my 4 year old decided she also did not like them and never, ever wanted to go again. Never has a mummy be so absolutely delighted to turn down invite after invite from school friends!


  6. lovealyson says:

    I cant ABIDE soft play – its hell on earth and the smell of sweaty feet and frayed nerves is just awful. As for wrong day.. hmm I’ve turned up at school with the children in full uniform at half term… on about 4 different occasions.. its become a standing joke that I might just tie them to the gatepost!


  7. Jill says:

    This is fantastic – I too can’t stand soft play centres and even worse soft play centre parties but I will definitely have a smile on my face the next time I have to take the children to one, I will be remembering this story!


  8. parentingwithpurposeblog says:

    This really made me chuckle. My enthusiasm for soft play areas is starting to wain now myself. We went to a birthday party at one on Saturday and it was just big, packed to the brim with people so it was difficult to keep an eye on the children and was so so so loud. I made a vow that I would never visit there again!


  9. HonestMum says:

    Hehehee! This could so easily happen too! At least you got to eye a fabulous leopard print coat…I have one myself. Nothing like that coat and red lips on the school run to make me feel awake!


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