‘WOOOWWW’ Sonny said when we walked into the HUGE soft play centre I had chosen to go to.
It had a massive climbing frame in the middle,a bumper car area and a tea cup ride. And it was absolutely heaving.
Sonny was obviously in heaven and wanted to get involved as soon as poss, whereas I was feeling a rising sense of panic about the whole situation…because it was such a big place and it was so busy I was a bit nervy.
I explained to him that he had to be slow, and not run off because I needed to make sure he was safe. Which he didn’t really understand. And then I thought that is really unfair because of course he wants to run around and explore without holding my hand the whole time. So basically I had to just keep up with him.
Which was a challenge. He is surprisingly fast.
And unfortunately these soft play areas are not made for adult sized humans. Trying to shove my body through two huge rolling barrels, crawling through tiny tunnels, clambering over things and scrambling around in a ball pit without knocking out any small children who happen to be in the way is a challenge in itself, let alone when I have to do all this at Sonny’s pace so that he doesn’t leave my eyesight.
It was not a pretty sight. However it was a very good work out!
This reminded me of when I was younger getting annoyed at my mum being really panicked when we would go anywhere, ‘Only go where I can see you kids, I mean it!’
Only now can I appreciate her terror when she would take my brother and I out…If she couldn’t see us for more than 20 seconds she would pretty much be in tears and on the verge of a nervous breakdown/shouting our names at the top of her voice/calling the police. (To be fair, she still hasn’t got over it, at the ripe old age of 24 I can still induce a cardiac arrest if I don’t answer the phone to her. She automatically goes straight to the worst case scenario and thinks I must have fallen in a ditch or got run over by a bus and died.)
But now I can totally relate to that feeling, not that Sonny ever left my sight, but even just the thought of it was enough to make me petrified! Sonny is known in his family as Bear Grylls because of his lack of fear..he has not concept of danger, which is quite normal for children with autism, I worry about his safety a lot!
So apologies mum, for all those stressful moments we put you through!
It made me realise that it is so important for us to allow children to explore and play as they wish to, without restricting them too much because of adult worry. To adapt to Sonny’s world by thinking, ‘right I am just going to have to keep up with him’ instead of spending the whole time trying to get him to adapt and to tell him to slow down meant that he could play freely and safely with me.
Sonny LOVED this thing and was playing with it for AGES…click here to see him flapping (he does this alot, when he likes something.)
Click here to see us on a slide (we went down it about 46 times)
Click here to see Sonny on a tea cup ride! (apologies for my shrill laughter)
Sonny practiced his driving skills on the bumper cars!
Aaand this was when I knew it was home time!