Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Chelsea mummies at play

Where to go when it’s pouring with rain in Nappy Valley? Well, you can always opt for what one friend of mine calls the seventh circle of hell: soft play. You know the places: usually part of a local leisure centre, always overheated and smelling of sweat and wee, where everything is padded, tiny kids can rampage in pits full of plastic bouncy balls and if you’re lucky there is a cup of horrible coffee from an overpriced canteen. You go there thinking it’s great entertainment, but you spend the whole time trying to work out where your kids actually are and whether it’s your child screaming.

Then there is the Chelsea Harbour version of soft play – a brand new, cavernous and what’s more CLEAN space devoted to infant rampaging, where the Chelsea Mummies come to exhaust their offspring. We have recently discovered this delight, although it is not one to be savoured very often, as a two hour slot there, plus rip-off parking nearby and extortionate lunch, adds up to about £25. Oh well – at least the latte is drinkable….

What amuses me is how Chelsea's ladies who lunch cope with activities such as soft play – the answer is, badly. I know from experience that the best outfit for this sort of place is jeans, t-shirt and slip on shoes, so you can a) kick shoes off and dive into the maelstrom to rescue/remonstrate with your child at appropriate moments, b) go on the trampoline with your kids c) negotiate the padded jungle in order to round them up when it’s time to go home. You will inevitably get showered in crumbs/ apple juice at some point in the proceedings, not to mention a slathering of dribble from overexcited toddler.

So it’s with amusement that I spot Sloaney Mummy, a long-haired, perfectly groomed blonde in long, shiny boots, delicate tights, and a floral dress. The getup doesn’t look quite so elegant when she’s wrestling on the floor cushions to stop her son beating up another child. She’s also deeply embarrassed about her 2 year old’s (completely standard) behaviour, and can’t stop apologising. I guess he doesn't quite fit with her image, unlike her other accessories.

Meanwhile two Ski-bunny Mummies are sitting behind me with their lattes, discussing their jaunt to the Alps and slagging off their husbands (“…and I couldn’t believe he wanted Jemima to go up in that cable car without the Carte Neige, I mean I know she’s only two years old and not skiing but what if they had to be helicoptered off the mountain?”). From time to time, a small child appears looking frazzled and they vaguely ask ‘are you having a lovely time darling?’ before waving her off to play and going back to the bitch-fest.

Valley Girl here – a south of the river impostor – is meanwhile trying to read yesterday’s Observer and pretending that my son doesn’t belong to me as he climbs the wrong way up the giant slide and gets shouted at by an attendant. (He carries on, oblivious.)

Then I spot the ultimate Chelsea Mummy in the canteen queue – an actually-quite-famous actress. I won’t say who, but she’s been in several Brit flicks and a long running US drama series, and she’s absolutely gorgeous. Tiny, bone-china delicate, wearing Ugg boots and carrying an oversized leopardprint bag, she wafts serenely through the ranks of harassed parents carrying her coffee, as if nothing about the crazed atmosphere, bad lighting and airport-lounge like décor could affect her. So what’s her secret? Well, for one thing her kids are nowhere to be seen…..they must be over there, with the nanny.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

omg, who?

Do tell!