Kids in Cafes? Why I’ve drawn the line

I have officially had it with kids in cafes. My own kids, that is. At the start of the week, I took them to a cafe that we live nearby to, and gave them stern warnings about good cafe behaviour in advance. This has to be done, because if I don’t warn them, things go really, really wrong. And on that very day, even in spite of all that, everything still went wrong. In hindsight, cutting through the middle man and headed straight to the oasis: kids party venues. Sydney has a few gems, and this one is perfect for  a weary dad like me.

From the second we arrived, everything looked grim. The cafe was packed with people, a huge group of cyclists where we’d normally sit outside and to the rafters full indoors. We were going to head back out when a waiter shooed us to a table smack bang in the center of the dining room. Passing by a table, my youngest kid, Lachie elbowed a paper that was resting underneath a guy’s teacup, so naturally it smashed to the ground into microscopic fragments.

As soon as we sat down, my eldest, Mitch, decided it would be a great trick to get Lachie to sniff pepper.

The third and final straw happened even before our order had been taken. I was  leaning over, trying to talk Mitch into being sensible when the table we were seated jack-knifed and tipped, sending everything on it to the ground as well. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my limit.

Marching the kids outside, I couldn’t think of anything else to save us – but then I remembered that the kids favourite  indoor play centre in Sydney where they can go completely wild. And I can refuel on coffee and cake. Instead of losing my mind, I put the kids back in the car and crisis averted, made a beeline for the nearest indoor play centre.

It’s a Long Drive to the Top End

Captain’s log: day 4. Yep, you heard that right. We’ve been driving for four days with two kids in tow, and made it up through NSW to south-eastern QLD. It’s been gorgeous driving the new campervan up the coast and sleeping by the beach every night, but all this time sitting down is starting to wear thin on masters 8 and 10 respectively, otherwise known as Luka and Heath. So Terry and I have decided to stop for a couple of nights near Brisbane.

We’re staying at Terry’s cousin’s awesome property, which has endless room for the boys to run around, but I think they’re craving some of the hustle and bustle of the city (growing up in Fitzroy will do that to you, I’m afraid). So we’re hunting down an inexpensive kids activity that doesn’t involve hiking, fishing, or watching cartoons on my tablet. We’ve hit on the idea of taking them to an indoor play centre in Brisbane.

Heath was skeptical at first, but after seeing some pictures of the place, he was totally into it. I suspect that his competitive streak might have kicked in after I suggested that he could run it like an obstacle course. Even with his younger brother, he can’t help but get fired up about a game. I’m forever having to remind the kid that sometimes playtime is really just playtime, and a kids’ playground isn’t the same thing as a professional football field.

Luka’s easily the less aggressive one. He’s very detail-oriented, and loves solving puzzles. He’s into any game that involves putting things in order, which means it’s almost too easy to trick him into helping out around the house. I’m always trying to think of the perfect activity to bring Luka’s affinity for puzzle games together with Heath’s competitive sports mindset. The best I’ve come up with is chess, but neither of them is interested.

They’ll come round, one of these days! For the time being, let’s see what the go is with indoor playgrounds in Queensland. Maybe they’ll give me some new ideas for activities the kids can do while on the road.