There are only two types of parents in this world. Those who hate soft play and those who don’t know what all the fuss is about.
I’m in the former category. Why do I hate it so much? Because it’s a hot house environment where your sole job is to defend your kid from the sugar-fueled, unattended offspring of those who don’t know what all the fuss is about.
It had been a few minutes, three maybe. I looked at him, as encouragingly as I could, and spoke.
“OK, that’s good. It’s easy, just one, two, three and push.”
I’d tried to hide any stress (rapidly growing within me) from my voice.
My son looked back at me, seemingly unconvinced.
“We can have a cuddle when you come down the slide.”
“Just go down!” chimed in a boy, about twice the age of my son – part of the growing queue for the slide forming behind my little one.
“He’ll go when he’s ready,” I said, once again trying to appear calm – reminding myself that empathy isn’t a skill kids are born with. “Just one, two, three and push!”
It was going to be a long day.
After briefly considering trying to wrestle the pouch from the woman, I dismissed the idea. One of the issues of being a large man is, if discovered fighting with a Miss Marple look-a-like in the Co-op, few people are likely to believe that you didn’t start it. So I took another pouch from the shelf and began to walk away. She muttered something as I left. I ignored her (and the stares of the other customers) deciding instead to take refuge in the cheese aisle.
Men feel that becoming a primary provider of parental care will effect their status, their career prospects and, frankly, their manliness. As long as these beliefs are held by a majority of men, there will be never be true gender equality around childcare.
I’m proud to be taking part in Vilo Sky’s ‘Managing to be dad’ conference.
For some reason, for as long as he’s been verbal, my son has always mispronounced the word ‘Banana’ as ‘Baniana’. That rogue ‘i’ may not seem like much, but it means his pronunciation, with its extra syllable, causes giggles whenever it’s used. I don’t know why, but somehow the word ‘Baniana’ is funny. Worse than that, I’ve started to use it myself – in a totally involuntary manner – while out and about. If a child gets funny looks for saying ‘Can I have baniana shake please?’, you can be sure than a 40-something is considered very strange indeed!