On Entertaining the Kid and the Horror of the child “friendly” cafe.

Another weekend, another planning session on what activities to do with the Kid in full swing.

You see, the Kid is a city dweller and does not have a garden to go crazy in. Like most parents in the city I need to take him out raging to get rid of some of the obnoxious never abating energy he possesses. Just so I, later on, can maybe get some peace and quiet. Maybe..

In Summer this is quite straightforward. I drag myself to a playground or a kiddie pool where I try reading a book ignoring the Kid screaming “mama look what I can do” at the top off his lungs for hours until I judge that he is tired enough to go to sleep.

In winter this is different. While we hang at freezing playgrounds he manages to stay warm. In the meantime, I freeze my ass off and cannot feel my toes by the time he is done swinging and slidin’. So, other options need to be taken into consideration.

And there are soo many options out there, some more terrifying then others. Like TunFun, which is an underground playground next to the Metro. My absolute worst nightmare. It feels like being in a homeless shelter but then for hungover adults (mostly dads that got kicked out) and their out of control breed.

Ok, I only went there on Sunday, which explains the hangovers but it is where I learned that I will not go underground, not even for the Kid.

Another option is the Kids Cafe. A cafe with a play corner, toys, nappy changing area for the kids and good coffee, food etc. for the parents. In theory this is great, you can meet up with your friends and talk without a kid balancing on your lap worrying where you are going to change him if the shit hits the nappy. If you’re lucky the kids will even play together and leave you alone for a sec.

In Amsterdam, they are popping up (and closing) constantly. One, a bigger disappointment then the other. But we keep trying!

Like last Sunday when my friend S. had found a new one and we decided to give it a go. What could it hurt right? Well hurt it did. I arrived at about 09:00 in the morning and recognised it by the bikes with kid seats belonging to other hopeful mothers scattered on the pavement.

Wading through a Bugaboo forest me and the Kid went in and were greeted by a slightly confused, if not wild, looking waitress, loads of kids, toys everywhere and Techno music… No I am not kidding this happens a lot in these places, because who doesn’t like the mix of screaming kids and some Techno in the morning, or anytime really.

I got settled in a corner with the Kid who did not look at the toys for even a second. After 5 minutes, we were sort of used to the chaos when S. and her kid came in and went through exactly the same process as we did: Shock, Sensory overload and Slow surrender to the situation.

After looking at the menu we really should have left. It was all peanut butter sandwiches, juice packets and whole-wheat pancakes. As parents our tastes are supposed to have devolved to three-year-old level or something.

But, we did not leave. No, we sat there, unable to have a conversation, totally shell-shocked for an hour or two. I even made my sister and her kid come there to experience the horror. She, sensible as ever said “Lets leave now!” after 20 minutes.  Snapped back into reality we did. After paying the ridiculous bill we got for our coffees and kids food we ran!

Now, I have found myself in lots of places and situations with the Kid. On top of a climbing rack afraid to get off while your kid is doing a happy dance on the ground. Underground in places like Tunfun. Covered in whipped cream and chocolate. Covered in basically everything. Forced to talk to other parents, also stuck at the kiddie pool. etc. etc.

But, I promise, from now on I will never find myself stuck in a cafe that is geared towards children. I am just too damn old for that.

Have a good weekend ya’ll!