The Child Struggle Is Real

Babysitting agony again: Why my kids won’t see another sunrise until they calm down and behave themselves. Now,  I’m happy to cough up for an experience that does the job – and by that, I’m talking about the kind of outing that exhausts the kids, teaches them to use initiative, and gives me a break from doing the hard work.

I’d broken rank again and taken them to the the greatest indoor play center Canberra residents have ever ever seen. Of course, the juice got spilled on our way, and the drive was boring, and the kids tried to make up for it by finding something to fill in the time. Once we arrived at the play arena the kids went wild. My youngest bet my eldest his novelty cup I’d bribed him with in the earlier that we could crawl under the play area right to the back wall. This is especially ridiculous (and impressive) given that the seating is on an incline and the incline is set with stairs.

The second I looked down and saw his sneakers disappearing under the slide and into the murky darkness, I knew I was in deep trouble. If you’ve never had to interrupt a play centre full of people to find your kid, you won’t understand how agonising the next three minutes were for me. Once we were reunited again, I marched them both out of the complex and straight back home.

Needless to say, the first promise I made to myself after this experience included never taking the kids to the play area after sugary breakfast. However, as bad as it was, it also led me to one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made as a parent yet. A few streets away from me, really just a ten minute walk, is one of those huge recreation centres that is filled with ball pits and climbing walls, netted multi-level play equipment, and inflatable jumping castles. Thank god for the humble kids party venue. Canberra, you offer so much but it’s the sheer availability of you that I appreciate. I’d never actually considered it, and I honestly don’t know why. After seeing my kids completely exhausted after an hour and a half, and during that time enjoying a complete battery recharge, we were finally on even territory.