Posts Tagged ‘Head Over Heels’

Before I had Milo, I never knew that there was such as thing as a Soft Play Centre. Marvellous things they are, too: Head Over Heels, a brightly coloured, toy-enhanced padded cell, is the only place where Milo can’t add to his substantial collection of bruises, and the fact that it’s practically at the end of my road only adds to its charms.

Milo and I are there with Tamara, Jonah and Eloise. The children have exhausted themselves on the slides, mats, climbing frames and ball pool and we’re now sitting in the café. Well, Tam, Jonah, Eloise and I are sitting; Milo is rolling around on the floor, chewing on an abandoned toy. Still, he looks happy enough.

The kids are eating; Tamara and I are chatting. Behind us at another table, two other mothers are doing the same. Their girls are older, and sitting like grown-ups in proper chairs. The eldest pushes her legs against the table and tips her chair back. She rocks backwards and then, in slow motion but before her mother can tell her to be careful, the chair swings over onto the floor.

The little girl goes crashing down and there’s a collective ‘ah’ as her head smacks against the hard lino. The girl howls, her mum scoops her up and we sit for a moment, the collective mothers and fathers, and each of us thinks, I hope she’s OK.

She is, of course. It’s a bump on the head is all; but there are a million such moments in a child’s life where you are a split second too late and they hurt themselves and you can only cuddle them and think, why didn’t I see that coming? You know, for all my flippancy, I love my boy more than anything in the world; with a terrible fierceness that frightens me because I know, just know, that I can’t watch him all the time. I can only look on as he makes his own way into the world and stand behind him, hoping that I’m there to catch him when he falls.

Ratings. Babychanging facilities: Of course. Cafe: Yes. Buggy-friendly? Of course. Cost: £1.20 for babies under 12 months. Worth it? Yes, although the cost goes up when they hit 1 year (to £3.95, and then £4.95 when they hit two), which seems a bit steep.

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