Recently I had my first re-experience (hmmmm is that a real word???) of soft play, you know,  those indoor playgrounds that are full of climbing frames, ball pits and slides etc. Oh good god the torture of it.  My boys are 17 and 14 so it's a very very long time since I have set foot over the treshold of one of these places and I had forgotten totally what they were like. The first thing that hit me was steam, I mean I know it was raining outside (really heavily... in fact I was at that point considering googling plans on ark creation) so I guess an element of the steam might be kids and parents coming into this hell hole slightly damp but I think also that the steam might have just been the sweat off the kids and the constant CO2 created by their open mouths as they screamed.

And scream they did!!!

We were there because my stepchildren were down visiting us during the school holidays and at 7 and 4 they are a lot younger than my boys so I am having to re-learn how to entertain small people again... not easy I can tell you, but probably good practice if we ever do achieve our aim of having a baby.

The second thing that struck me was the wall of noise.  I am wondering is tolerance of softplay venues, parks etc something you get an immunity to?  I ean when my boys were small I remember taking them to these softplay places and sitting quite happily with a book whilst they ran themselves into exhaustion and the noise never bothered me, yet here I am a few years later and it was like being locked into a room with 100 howler monkeys all screaming at the top of their lungs and it was absolutely excrutiating.  I looked around and there were all these other mums sitting quite happily chatting with each other and yet I could not even hear myself think!!!
I ended up digging into the bottom of my handbag and fortunately found some earplugs which I gratefully shoved into my ears... trust me you could still hear the screaming and shouting... and crying as little Johnny bashed some other kid or vice versa... it was just now at a reasonable dull roar.

I did have a genius thought though if the armed forces ever decide they need new methods to extract information from detainees they could always tie them to a chair and stick them in the middle of the ball pit and just let the kids have fun throwing those plastic balls at them and let the detainees endure a few hours of 100 howler monkeys... oops I mean darling children... a few hours of that and they will be begging to tell what they know.