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Writing and Parenting

Parenting in action ('An action scene')

By Isaac LawrencePublished 10 months ago 5 min read
Writing and Parenting
Photo by Anton Polidovets on Unsplash

Chaos ensues, and the dutiful parent looks on a scene of horror. The soft play centre. In this world I am a noble agent of the established order seeing my quarry, her little legs pounding towards an array of close set white tables, populated by the community of exhausted parents and their meals of last resort.

Tired burgers, chicken nuggets, wraps and slushies.

I see disaster unfolding and pacing myself, I overtake the quarry to divert her, yet this was a feint, a cunning ploy to waste my effort, she is shooting towards the soft play. My eyes widen with terror, for before me I see a deadfall red slide, a similar blue slide with the deadfall ending in a treacherous pit of plasticated multi-coloured balls.

What if she fell down one of those? I sprint after her, thankfully the quarry has trapped herself for a moment figuring out an assemblage of soft pillars which turn into the main hall-way of this mansion of supposed fun. It has fronds, that bristle with the frustrated attempts of multiple toddlers to squeeze through the gap.

The Quarry has finally managed it, aided by my helping hand. I have to follow, my overweight body trying to squeeze through those bristling fronds. My face smooshes against the sweaty colourful fabric, and I manage slowly to make my way through.

This was not built for middle-aged men.

I am through, to see the quarry considering launching herself over the roller ball, a large set of horizontal elevated twisting death traps. Thankfully she has not mastered this and crawls underneath. somehow she has removed her socks and I scoop them up with one hand as the chase continues.

This bit should be easy, but a passing trio of frantic children sprint through, arms and legs waving everywhere in an explosion of energy, almost careening into me, I pirouette dramatically, only to be knocked down by a swinging punch bag kicked by another child.

The quarry has escaped as I launch myself after her from my standing start, after casting a baleful glare at the offending punchbag kid...except he has already gone. So much for that.

Quarry, is crawling up a puffy stairway to an unknown location, I dread to think where it may lead, and so I crawl after her, having to twist my body like a master contortionist, she is at least of an age she might wait...I hope in vain!

But no, she is dancing towards a soft, undulating precipice. What were the designers thinking? Two long soft slides facing each other with a gap in the middle. Quarry dancing towards it, unaware.

I gallop ahead, sliding forwards and down the gap, crumpling to my knees in the middle, awaiting her arrival, she jumps and I transmit her dutifully to the other side. Just then a kid catapults themselves towards my legs, caught amidst them, I receive an array of general insults from a child who should have been watching where they are going. They never do.

Extricating myself, I clamber with a heavy expulsion of breath up the soft slide, and along to where the quarry is gazing up, admiring a set of swinging ropes, and plastic boards with holes.

My arms are leaden from climbing yet compelling eyes force me to aid her, I hold her there, as she futilely scambles on the board trying to find purchase with her feet and arms in tiny holes in order to what?

Hang there.

This is when a teenage boy, who is clearly too old for this place comes flying, legs extended from the ropes. I drop myself to the floor, quarry tangled in my arms, brought down in a giggling mess. I roll to my feet, breathing heavily but relieved at the missed collision.

Quarry is already off, towards a crawl tunnel, semi-circular gaps open up to this tunnel allowing kids to go through. She is already in and crawling, turning through the darkness. Can I fit there? Probably not, it is several minutes before I make the decision to try, though I envision getting trapped inside, with kids battering me on all sides, with frustrated kicks.

This squeeze is the worst I have known, I have to bend double just to make it past the first corner, elbow and nudge my way through. I know now how mice must feel in a maze, pinned on all side, and I face a belligerent mouse..I mean child who had decided to crawl in from the other side.

A stand-off. We stare at each other.

Finally, the kid just smirks at me, and backs away. I am triumphant, but my victory is short lived, for I realise for him to have crawled in the other side, my quarry must have escaped.

I make it to the other side. quarry could have gone anywhere. There are a total of four directions.

One I suddenly realise is to a walkway for cleverer parents than me, as it leads around the tunnel. 'Damn it' I swear audibly, causing two small girls to look at me with disappointment in their faces. 'Did you see a little girl?' I ask rhetorically at their blank faces.

I pick a direction, randomly heading up the stairs to the third floor, the floor with the precipitous slides. Sincerely hoping that she is not up there, or dead at the bottom of one of them. Thankfully, she is not. Just my eldest daughter, who begs me to watch her go down the blue death trap.

I help her, holding her and dropping her down it to slide into the ball pit. I don't have time to watch this, I run around the soft play, each floor there is nothing. No sign of my youngest daughter.

my quarry is absent, I try and enlist the aid of my wife to help, or rather I would but she is engaged in absorbent gossip. I look for daughter from all sides of the soft play and when I am about to give up and force wife way from her conversation, there she is, sauntering towards me.

What the hell??!! I think.

She looks at me and holds out her hand. I take it smiling and the adventure is on again. We traverse, another climb where I have to hold her bottom and guide her up to safety, an ascending rope bridge over sliding children, and a set of three rope climbs worthy of any army assault course.

Finally we are there, the slides. My heart races, which will she pick? If she picks the red death trap, I will have to say no (I mean even the adult children are avoiding that one), we look over the edges of them, and I watch my eldest launching herself still over and over down the blue one.

If i have to say no, then there will be the obligatory tantrum, and at this height it will carry across the entirety of this small realm.

Thankfully and finally, she chooses for once the sensible option, and I hold her in my lap as we launch ourselves down the slide. Arms looped in the handles of this brown carpet, our eyes look up at other children traversing the rope bridge, and we find ourselves at the bottom.

Her eyes wide with excitement she turns to me. 'Again' is all she says. I think Indiana jones, James bond, all the rest of them so called action heroes. Pah!

Writing Exercise

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    ILWritten by Isaac Lawrence

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