There is a reason why age limits are put on indoor play grounds in shopping centers and restaurants. It’s pretty obvious why the age recommendation is in place, but I test the boundaries to keep two little girls happy – well one in particular, and figure if I’m watching intently while my girls play on the equipment, nothing can go wrong. Except I can’t control the determination of my 16 month old Magdalene.
I met up with my mum, grandma and a distant family relative who had a young son recently for morning tea. We decided to meet at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre as we could have coffee at a cafe near Target where there is a conveniently (or inconveniently) placed indoor playground set up so kids can play and mums can have a coffee break.
The morning tea went down with no fuss and then Esther was keen to go in the playground and Magdalene (not one to miss out) reached her hands up above her head to be picked up so she too could join in the fun. What could go wrong if mummy was watching her?
I took both girls to the mini playground which is a two level type facility covered in nets to contain the children in the tunnels. Magdalene was happy to crawl on the floor, slide down the little slide and spin the vertical puzzles that were on the inner walls of the play area. Esther confidently climbed up to the second level of the playgym and crawled her way round the course to slide down the bigger slide. She didn’t need my supervision but wanted my attention when she slid down the slide. Image sourced from Brisbane Kids.
As I watched my firstborn, fast as lightning Magdalene decided to climb up the play gym to the second level, crawled her way towards the end of the tunnel but when she reached the end there was a roley poley (not sure what to call it but kids have to slide themselves over the top of the vertical roll to get through the tunnel and slide down). Magdalene didn’t have the upper body strength to push her way through the roley poley so she sat and rolled it around with her hands, delighted at how fast she could spin it.
I wasn’t too worried as I thought I could coax her out by getting her to crawl back the way she had come in. What I didn’t expect was her determination to not listen to her mummy and sit indignantly at the roley poley. She didn’t want to move.
There was no way for me to reach her to get her out because of the nets. There were some parts that could be unzipped but they were locked in place with cable ties. Probably to stop children from undoing the zips and falling out of the play equipment.
I told Esther to go and get her sister and push her through the roley poley and slide down the slide together. Esther was excited and exclaimed ‘Ok mummy, Esther to the rescue’. By this stage my mum had come to help me and no amount of coaxing from Grandma would motivate Magdalene from her place. Esther tried to push Magdalene through but it was too hard for her so I told Esther to drag Magdalene towards the corner of the tunnel where there was a climable opening and I could stretch my hands to pull Magdalene down to the first level. Magdalene screamed and then bit Esther, to which Esther cried and gave up leaving her sister in the same unreachable position.
Other mums were around but were probably watching us humourously. I really didn’t want to have to call Centre Management to rescue my underage daughter from the play equipment.
I had no choice but to try and climb up the steep slide to pull Magdalene through the roley poley and push her down the slide to get her off the equipment. I tried climbing up the slide but I didn’t have the strength in my arms to pull myself up to the top and I was scared of falling on my belly which would be dangerous being pregnant at 33 weeks!
One mum finally came over and said ‘Why can’t you just climb up and get her?’ And I told her I was 33 weeks pregnant and couldn’t lift myself through. She apologized for not realizing I was pregnant and came to Magdalene’s rescue. She climbed up the slide with ease and reached through to Magdalene, pulling her through the roley poley and slid down with her on the slide.
I thanked her profusely and wanted to tell her I was a plumber and was used to pulling myself up roofs and crawling on my belly under houses but I felt like a bit of a tool for letting Magdalene be in the play area in the first place.
After the ordeal which lasted for at least over half an hour, my mum put Esther and Magdalene on a ride. All Magdalene could do was give mum and I the evil eye. She wanted to stay in the playground and was determined to get her way.
God help me when she’s a teenager. Pray for me now.
Have your children ever got stuck in a hard place?
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