A couple of months ago, I booked the boys onto a few activities the local Children’s Centre had running through the summer. In previous holidays, I’ve left it all to the last minute and have found things fully booked leading to a disappointed boy to entertain that doesn’t understand that he can’t go because Mummy ‘couldn’t be arsed’ to book until the morning of the event.
I felt very organised and even entered everything onto my phone calendar so I wouldn’t forget. Last week we went to their Superhero and Princess party and had a brilliant time crafting. This Tuesday arrived and I began to regret my new found organisation skills. My calendar helpfully flashed up Messy Play. I thought, “oh sh**”, and panic set in!
When I booked it, I can safely say I had in mind a sprinkling of glitter and some glue. But that’s not ‘Messy Play’ is it? Messy Play is another level of mingingness. Messy Play is MESSY!
Off we want anyway and sure enough as we entered the hall, I could see loads of Messy Play activities set up around the room. Seth has picked up on my apprehension over the years and wasn’t too amused. He gave the jelly a poke and then quickly returned to the safety of the old faithfuls – sand, water and play dough. Even the paints were a bit too messy looking for him.
Rory had a quick crunch in some cereals (and a few handfuls to eat) then I sat him next to Seth by the water tubs. At exactly that moment – not less than five minutes after entering the building – Seth held up a huge shell saying “Mummy can you hear the sea?”, whilst promptly tipping the full shell of water over his brothers head. I couldn’t help but laugh. I removed Rory’s clothes, after reassurance from the other mums that’s the room was really warm and then I proceeded through my Messy Play nightmare!
Paint first, more went on my jeans than Rory or the paper. I was experiencing a shortage of baby wipes so gave him a quick swill off under the taps in the toilets before moving on. I couldn’t quite bring myself to plonk him in the baked beans , milk or what looked like custard but he had a good play in purple shaving foam. My friend took a few photos for me as my hands were too gunked up to pull out my phone. My only option to rid him of the purple mess was to give him a makeshift bath in the paddling pool and dry him off with some blue roll. (If I ever do this again, remind me to take a towel!)
Seth at this point had started to ask “when can we go home?” and got the immediate answer he was looking for “right now little dude, let’s go home right now!”
The evaluation on leaving asked: “How likely is it that you will repeat these activities at home?” Well, although Rory really enjoyed it, with the exception of the old faithfuls, the honest answer is “never”. That’s what we go to playgroups and nursery for. If only it wasn’t so messy.