family · Humour · Poem · Rhyme

A Soft-Play Rite of Passage… *Sniff*

I recently wrote one of my first non-rhyming posts: Four in the Bed based on the well known nursery rhyme.  After having written an unspeakable number of rhyming posts, I found that it was actually quite liberating to take a poem and make it, well, kind of, not rhyme. So here I am with my second not rhyming rhyme…

This one is based (a little bit) on Rudyard Kipling’s incredible poem “If”,  and marks the momentous occasion that is: your littlest one doing soft play all by his tiny self. *Sniff*

To The Boy…

If you can keep your Cosy Coupe when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

If you can trust your own abilities when your parents quite frankly aren’t so sure, and if you can make no allowances for this by catapulting yourself arse first down the curly wurly slide.

If you can drop and remove your shoes in less that 12 seconds, launching them behind you in wild abandon.

If you can calculate that the squishy blocks make excellent portable step ladders for ascending the tallest of frames meant for older children.

If you can avoid the kid that’s vibrating on Fruit Shoots and Haribo.

If you can identify your parents and come to them, instead of having a hissy fit and screeching hysterically at your apparent abandonment. (Even though they are sat watching you from not 2 metres away).

If you can develop a scream that is so unique that your mother will recognise it instantly, and come bounding over cargo nets like a contestant on “It’s a Knockout!”

If you can manage to grasp the concept that slides are meant for DOWN not UP!

If you can identify those older children that have not yet grasped this concept and take them out in a sweeping landslide as you plummet down with total disregard for oncoming traffic.

If you can leave the ball pool wearing no other child’s bodily fluids, and having sourced but NOT eaten an 8 month old Quaver.

If you can sustain yourself entirely on Pom Bears which have been collected by swooping dangerously close to the highchair and grabbing like a sea gull.

If you can manage the above manoeuvre without being made captive and placed in said highchair whilst being fed shown cucumber sticks.

If you can exit the soft play feet first rather than head.

If you can negotiate the human car wash whilst Mummy suffocates in lattes and writes a blog post.

If you can fill the final “It’s time to get your shoes on” minute
With half an hour’s worth of chasing about in circles and trying to hide under a hula hoop.

Yours is the soft play and everything that’s in it.
And – which is more – you’ll be a Little Man, my son!



Rhyming with Wine Logo. Shows sketch of two little monsters, a glass of wine and a teddy bear with the words "Rhyming with Wine"

Not Rhyming with Latte.

Linking up proudly with…

Rhyming with Wine
3 Little ButtonsMummuddlingthroughR is for Hoppit

116 thoughts on “A Soft-Play Rite of Passage… *Sniff*

  1. Oh bless…whilst funny, is also such a sweet little rite of passage! I am braving the soft play with my two this Thursday…not a chance in hell will I get a single sentence written. If it’s not one, it will be the other. Fingers and toes crossed. A lovely read. #FartGlitter

    1. Well I must admit that a bit of poetic licence was involved in the whole “writes a whole blog post” bit. The most I would manage is a line or two at the moment as I am literally stood watching with my nose pressed to the netting like a loon! I have also yet to “suffocate in lattes” but maybe one day…. 😉 Thanks for commenting hon x

    1. It is quite emotional isn’t it? I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ll only let him go into the little ones that have been given a thorough once over several times before together. He’s not quite two yet so definitely not ready for the big ones, but even seeing him toddle off into the little ones by himself made me go a bit wobbly. It’s official. Motherhood has turned me into an emotional wreck! 😉 Thanks Lisa x

  2. Love this! I haven’t taken the Popple back to soft play since she’s become independently mobile, but it will happen soon – even though our local soft play is a breeding germ pit of despair. She doesn’t mind, though – she’d nappily navigate the filthy ball pit on her own. #fartglitter

    1. Can’t beat a bit of independent ball pool navigation can you? 😉 To be fair The Boy is usually the clingiest little man on the planet (I mean seriously clingy!!) but there seems to be something in the eau de chip pan that wafts through these places that sends him into an independent frenzy. After nearly 2 year of him not leaving my side (literally) I’m all for a bit of independent navigation of ANYTHING! Thanks for commenting hon x

    1. Ah it is an epic part of the whole parenting adventure. I like to think of it as a huge padded cell for parents as they are taunted with nice looking cakes and hot drinks that they will never quite drink…. Good luck when the time comes hon. Thank you x

  3. Ah so sweet and I can picture every bit of this thanks to soft play with my nieces. I have it all to come! Another lovely one (and you’re just as good when you don’t rhyme!) x #FartGlitter

  4. “If you can leave the ball pool wearing no other child’s bodily fluids, and having sourced but NOT eaten an 8 month old Quaver.”

    First time at soft play for my two year old yesterday….she came out with a mouth full of wotsits

  5. Aww I love this, I think it’s still a great poem even though it doesn’t rhyme :). I remember when my boy first did the soft play by himself, it was an emotional time but also a relief, I didn’t have to run around anymore!xx #Fartglitter

    1. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself really. Much as I like to pretend that I downed lattes and wrote blog posts – I actually just stood peering through the net obsessively. I’m sure I’ll get over it pretty quickly though 😉 Thanks hon x

  6. Are you psychic?? You just described the transition I’ve recently experienced with the twins! Or, more accurately, the transition that actually happened some time ago but I only recently relaxed enough to stop donning the socks and getting in there with them. It’s bloody liberating!


    1. I know what you mean. The boy is my second and so for four years now I have been hauling my chubby ass through the human car wash chasing tiny people. I’ve never actually been in one of these places without being IN it?? It was a bit “Oooohhh” 😉 Good to know I’m in great company xx

  7. Ah yet another fantastic post (and yes I did have another little giggle at just the mere thought of the 4 in a bed post!!). We haven’t quite reached this rite of passage yet, Baby Lighty not being able to walk ‘n all, but I shall watch for these signs when the time comes. Yesterday he managed to ‘cruise’ his way over the bridge on the slide / mini climbing frame set in the park and looked so bloody independent!! Anyway I’m waffling as usual, thanks for sharing this with #fartglitter xxx

    1. We love Mrs Lighty’s comments! Not waffle at all! Mstr Tot has since mastered the “get one’s foot stuck in a small cargo net requiring both his mum and a member of staff to release it” manoeuvre. It was fabulous. Took two of us a good 5 mins to work out how he’d managed it. 😉 Thanks for commenting lovely xx

  8. My girlie still wants me to come in with her! Even with little friends around! Omg! I’m sure one day she will be like your little man..aww so cute. Lovely poem. Xx thanks for hosting

    1. To be fair Mstr Tot is still far too young to fly solo in most. We’re just quite lucky to have a couple of little and toddler friendly ones close by. It’s still funny though as any other time or occasion he clings to me like a limpet. We walk into a soft play though and I can’t see him for dust! It’s nice that The Gremlin likes to keep you close though xx

  9. Eeep Dawn you are so very clever!! I adore this. Although I feel a little bit like a bad parent, our little guy is 8 months old and I’ve not taken him to soft play yet…whoops. I just REALLY don’t want to! Hahaha. Fabulous post and thanks for hosting #fartglitter

  10. “Vibrating on fruit shoots and Haribo” ? My youngest has yet to master independent soft play – not through want of trying just through lack of height really! Dreaming of the day I can suffocate in lattes and write blog posts! #fartglitter

  11. I love reading your posts, they really make me giggle! Soft play makes me sweat however, hate the places!


  12. Oh the hours…no DAYS…spent in soft play!! I remember them well. My boy wanted me in with him until he was about 5! I’d be crawling around sweating, showing my muffin top off to all and sundry. I must admit that I don’t miss that particular part of parenting young children! Lovely poem dawn as always!! Tor x #fartglitter

  13. Aww. lol. Little steps to independence. I have enjoyed sitting back (a bit) more now that my 3.5 year old has learned SOME manners and can tell people to stop hitting him/annoying him without hitting them back. (well, he will probably still hit them back if they don’t stop what they’re doing but hey, it’s a start). Also, he no longer screams in other kids’ faces when they come near him, so WIN! #fartglitter

    1. Definitely sounds like winning to me. To be fair The Boy doesn’t really do other humans and just tends to keep himself to himself for now. Not sure how much longer that’ll last though before I’m in there breaking up wrestling sessions!? Thanks for reading Naomi x

  14. This is brilliantly written and full of great observations. You’ve got it spot on with ‘the kid vibrating on fruit shoot and haribos!’ (my spellchecker wanted me to say hairdos instead of haribos) i’m all for a few sweets but Fruitshoot could be the devil’s own work. The last part about putting shoes on and how it relates to the words in ‘if’ is inspired! I’ve always liked this poem as it was hung in my grandparents house. #fartglitter xx

    1. Ah I hope I’ve not done the original too much of an injustice. I’m not sure that R Kipling had much concern as to fruit shoots and their associated vibrating children but hey? Thanks for commenting lovely xx

  15. Very cleverly written!
    My youngest is just on the cusp of discovering soft play freedom. She is about half an inch off being able to scale the squishy steps. Almost.there.
    Avoiding soft play at all costs this summer hols.
    “Sorry kids they are closed for refurbishment and shit”

  16. As an English teacher I always have to convince students that poems don’t have to rhyme. Some of the best poems don’t rhyme at all. I’d play around with different rhyme schemes. See where it takes you x #fartglitter

    1. I know what you mean, but I also tend to feel like a bit of a fraud writing a poem that doesn’t rhyme. I just felt like I needed to be untethered by rhyming and structure on this one. Who knows where I’ll end up next. It’s good to have your professional thoughts on it though lovely as you know I’m a huge fan, and I personally am making it up as I go along! 🙂 Thanks hon xx

  17. Like !!!!

    This is very cleverly put together and it is F-U-N-N-Y !!! I love the ball pool / 8 month old quaver part and the development of the high pitched scream that makes you transform into a ‘It’s a knockout’ contestant – brilliant!!!


    1. I can literally scale a 3 story heap of cushions and nets in about 12 seconds if I identify “The Scream”. I then get there to find that he’s just protesting against some older kid trying to pinch his Quaver. Meh. Thanks Ross 🙂

  18. This is brilliant, I love how it has been written! I cannot wait until Little R is old enough to go off on her own and I can enjoy a hot drink and writing a blog post! #fartglitter

    1. Thanks Catherine. I can’t wait either! It’s one thing letting him go in on his own but as of yet I’ve still been too twitchy to actually drink a hot drink haha. Bit of poetic licence involved in that bit but maybe one day… probably just as he reaches that bit he’ll declare it boring and the soft play era will be closed for good? *sobs* Thanks for commenting hon x

  19. I’ve been waiting for the moment my little one can go off and play in his own so mummy can enjoy her team and cake in peace, but after reading this I think I’ll actually be quite sad! Must enjoy the playing together while I still can (even if it means daddy and baby ganging up on me and throwing balls at my head….) funny stuff #fartglitter

  20. Another stage of them growing up., mastering soft play! I’m looking forward to this though as I feel I have to watch Archie like a hawk in case he runs off. Envious of the other relaxing Mum’s whose children return with minimal effort! #dreamteam

  21. Mastering the concept of going DOWN a slide and not UP is quite the challenge! My favorite image from the whole poem though is mummy suffocating in lattes. That’s the only way I can make it through a day while chasing after a toddler who is gradually becoming more and more independent! This one really made me laugh. #fartglitter

  22. Brilliant 🙂 Very clever indeed.
    I’m just not sure I can do soft play any more. Jet has been blessed with admirable robustness and is alarmingly large for his age, so I never feared for his safety as I do for my tiny, delicate little Stella – I don’t know where she gets it from!
    x Alice

  23. Great post! I really loved reading this and nodding away at it. My little one will only go play on his own for about 10 minutes then I have to climb in and wrestle our way towards the slide! The ball pit part is spot on! My favourite out it all because is so bloody true haha. #FartGlitter

    Jordanne ||

    1. There are things in that ball pool that you wouldn’t believe aren’t there. I think you should have to walk through one of those chlorine baths like they have at swimming pools as you enter. And exit for that matter. 😉 Thank you Jordanne x

  24. Ha ha brilliant love it! Mine are emerging from the soft play love. The 5 year old still likes it but will be easily swayed to do something else by the 9 year old. Love the vibrating on haribo bit! #coolmumclub lifeinthemumslane

  25. I bloody love this! Made me think of Arthur the whole way through and imagine how much easier soft play will be when I can sit on the sidelines instead of scramble inside and assist myself! Made me really cross last time we went when I was teaching Arthur about slides, a mother sat at the top and consistently let her (much older ) son climb up the slide and push in front of the little ones waiting at the top every single time… I just kept saying to Arthur very loudly “WELL DONE FOR WAITING TO GO DOWN THE SLIDE! THAT IS THE RIGHT CHOICE! NOW LETS GO UP THE STEPS!” #fartglitter

    1. Haha I love the passive aggressive technique. That’s my style too. “That’s OK Miss Tot. Not all the big boys and girls have learned how to share nicely like you have. Let the other big boy have ALL the trains. We’ll go find something better to play with.” Loudly. To the parents who are standing by giving precisely zero toots as their precious one monopolises the toys. How I haven’t been punched yet I do not know 😉 xx

  26. I entered my first soft play last weekend, I volunteered to bring our 9 month old to such a place- and wow- it’s like kids stocked up on sugar highs running around like raving lunatics, it was my first initiation- won’t be the last I’m sure! haha #coolmumclub

  27. Aw- momentous moments indeed. In Thailand our soft play was huge and never had more than three other kids in it. My first Scottish rainy day soft-play was quite an experience. Needless to say not one I’ve repeated. I’d rather brave a rainy garden.


    1. Thai soft play sounds much more like my cup of tea. I find that Sunday morning at 10am is really the only time that it’s safe to brave one here. Whilst rainy gardens are generally available all day. Every day. 😉 x

  28. This is absolutely bloody brilliant!! I love the original so this twist on is fantastic! Sums up soft play perfectly too! All that time you wish for a bit of peace and then they venture off on their own and you feel sad about it, parents huh!! Popping by for #coolmumclub

    1. Haha I don’t think I’d dare take my laptop to be fair. My phone is as far as I’d risk. In one hand whilst peering and holding latte in the other. The laptop would end up having to get dragged in with me every time I have to bound in on a rescue mission…. 😉 Thanks for commenting x

  29. Oh this is just brilliant! I hate that ruddy ball pool with its bodily fluids *shudders* and 8 month old crips!! Thanks for linking up with #FridayFrolics

  30. This is lovely!! I loved the description and depiction and made me reminsce. I remember the joys and horrors of soft play and I am so so so glad my time is nearly up. #fridayfrolics

  31. It’s a true gem of a post that can make me laugh and cry. This one did it. Love this Dawn. x Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  32. I’m loving the refreshing new angle! (Although the Dawn standard style is a force to be reckoned with). A hilariously poignant approach to the ‘soft play blog post’…nicely done lovely.
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub – going to miss you linking up but will fly by and I’ll have to actually pop over to your blog to check out whats new…

    1. Ah thanks lovely. I do remember you writing that every blogger has a soft play post in them. It popped into mind as I was writing this one 🙂 Loved your soft play post! Thanks for the inspiration!
      Hope you have a lovely break over the summer and I can’t wait to read all about it when you’re back.
      #bloghugs xx

  33. Such a different style of writing and yet you still manage to captivate and fill your words with so much emotion. Fab! I wish Little Button got the memo that soft play is fun. She screams like a banshee if I dare to not hold her hand at all times. Thank you for linking up to the #dreamteam xx

    1. Ah bless her! It’s funny really as in any other scenario Mstr Tot is attached to me like a limpet. There’s just something about soft play that brings him out of his teeny shell for some reason? Thank you for hosting lovely xx

  34. So I see all these posts about soft play and I don’t even know what that is!! It could be because we moved to Malta when my eldest was just a year old and they don’t have much here for kids at all and what there is isn’t call soft play. I don’t remember getting emotional about it though and I’m a very emotional person so I either have a dreadful memory or am just a cold mother or both! Lovely non rhyming poem. Loved the unique screech bit and the ending. #farglitter

    1. Right that’s sorted then. Next time you’re in the UK we shall have a soft play date! We’ll initiate into the soft play tribe by making you crawl through the human car wash and then the ball pool to reach the half eaten pack of Pom Bears at the end of it! It’ll be fun! (There is cake). 😉 Thank you lovely x

  35. That’s brilliant! I once briefly considered doing a parody of ‘If’, but decided it would be too hard & I’d make a mess of it! Glad I didn’t now, as you would have shown up my rubbish efforts with this! #fartglitter

    1. You definitely should – it would destroy my version (I couldn’t even begin to think about making it rhyme, and in fact aside from the first and last paragraph, it bears no resemblance to it at all really. Hey Ho…) Please do! I already know I’ll love it! 🙂 x

  36. I’m back. Actually not been to soft play for ages & wondering lately if I should let the kids go again. They like it. I don’t – I don’t enjoy crawling through soft play chasing fearless toddlers before they throw themselves down a massive drop (yes, my mini people are ALWAYS in the big kid area – they won’t settle for the actual toddler section)!

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time

    1. Do it! I double dare you haha. Mine haven’t got time for the little bits either. I therefore only attend the littlest of “big” soft plays haha. Thanks so much for hosting and having me at #FridayFrolics! My link up post for this week is a bit too soppy for frolics but I’ll be back next week with a vlog no less 😉 x

  37. Ha ha love spotting those kids hyped up on fruitshoots, blue slushies and haribo. Unless of course its mine then I do spend that last minute chasing him through those questionable ball pools! #fridayfrolics

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