Sunday, March 29, 2009

Play Barns, Different clientele to a Wacky Warehouse but many of the same problems. Richard goes off on one again.

We don't really go into wacky Warehouses any more; there just aren't that many around us. We still go to wacky warehouse type places, it's just that the ones we do go to are a little better than wacky warehouses in inner city Birmingham. (And yes, that is meant to be as snobby as it sounds.)

One problem you do get, particularly when it's just me sat here on my own with nothing to do but read, write and listen to other people talking is an awareness of how unbelievably ignorant some folks are, especially the ridiculously chattering middle class types. The woman next to me has just been spouting some bollocks about training to become a primary teacher, but she's determined to just do juniors, and only teach subjects like History and Geography that she's interested in. Because that's how Primary teaching works isn't it?

The table next to us is indicative of the sorts of people we get at these middle class Wacky Warehouses. Invariably it's some group of Moms who have nothing to do with their lives and live from day to day dropping the kids off at school and working out who's house they're having coffee at before their weight-watchers meeting in the afternoon. It's a life of intense drudgery but they will defend it until they're blue in the face. In fact I even heard one Mom point out that she was really annoyed at her husband, home between contracts last month, who dared to question the intensely difficult job of being a stay at home mom. She was incredulous about it. But is being a stay at home mom, dropping the kids off at school, doing cleaning, shopping and cooking really as hard as the job done by Louise or Me for example - we both work jobs and do all that stuff as extras when we can. Surely we have a harder job? But she'll never see it.

Worse still, every word that comes out of their mouths is purely concerned with themselves or their kids. And it's always positive, always self-centered. It's the never ending determination that they are right, their lives are so bloody important and their kids are the most wonderful, angelic, perfect little things in the world. We decided very early on that our child, although lovely, although wonderful, although perpetually interesting and delightful would still be subject to the same rigours we apply to everything else in the world. So she's decidely not perfect. And it's so much better that way.

So the play barn experience may be different from the Wacky Warehouse experience, but only by degrees. The parents may earn more, drink less (whilst they're in the play barn at least), have less facial tattooing and drive a better car, but the fundamental problems are still there, they just exhibit themselves in different ways. Instead of the parents getting drunk and ignoring their children at the WW, in the play barn the middle class moms are so busy talking amongst themselves - usually about how wonderful their children are and how they're thriving in their French / Ballet / Clarinet / Horse Riding / Skiing / insert ridiculous club and/or activity here - that they fail to notice their little diddums causing havoc,, upset and inflicting pain upon some little one three years younger than they are.

But try to point it out to them - go on, try. It's like you've accused one of them of abusing children.

Because every time I go to these sorts of things there's always at least one event every hour where some little kid runs screaming from the ball pool because one of these middle class, over-indulged children has decided that they're going to jump on top of the smaller child without waiting for the smaller one to get out of the way. Why? Because they've never actually been taught the value of waiting, of considering others, of actually following a few simple rules. Hence the reason that said group of women have 6 boys between them who've just run past screaming into the ball pit designed for under 3s without a care in the world, ignoring the shocked, surprised little ones already in there. And the mom's reaction? Didn't even notice. They're actually so used to their children's bad behaviour that they find it much more convenient to ignore it than actually face up to the fact that they're not that good at this parenting lark.

(Yes, we went to a play barn today. Yes, I had a good time. Yes, I could have cheerfully said a lot of this to many people in there. And no, I didn't say it. Because it would be a pointless exercise.)

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