We are fond of going to Hokey Pokey for some indoor playground fun for BabyMoo because they cater more for children of his age group and he can play comfortably amongst toys which is suitable for him. In fact, we are there for a good two hours every other weekend, and BabyMoo gets all excited when he knows we're in the vicinity of Hokey Pokey. We're always made to feel welcome by the owners who genuinely care and love giving toddlers a time of their lives. The place is open and bright, and BabyMoo is always happy with the attention from all the Aunties there!
I'm sure a lot of parents feel the same way as we do, so it's pretty natural that they are gaining popularity and we see more and more toddlers having fun there. The first couple of times we were there, BabyMoo had all the toys almost to himself, but now, we have had to return on more than one occasion as the place is booked for private parties, or there are just too many children on the grounds.
We dropped by Hokey Pokey on Saturday afternoon, but since there was a birthday party going on, we tried to check out other indoor playgrounds instead.
We went to Polliwogs but decided to forego the experience as it was packed to the rafters with children as well as a birthday party going on. BabyMoo got all excited at the sight of sand and sea, so we took him down for his first experience walking down the beach, and getting sand in between in his toes. He grinned and yelled in glee... and if it wasn't for Mummy the worry wart who noticed the absence of nearby changing facilities, DaddyMoo would have let him play in the sand.
Not dressed for the impromptu walk on the beach... but BabyMoo was still a happy bub!
Since that plan was abandoned, we moved on to Great World City, where I've heard that Amazonia has a separate area for toddlers up to 3. We walked away without even stepping stockinged feet into the grounds, simply because the front line attendants weren't exactly helpful.
Ms.I-am-working-here-just-to-stay-in-Singapore-and-not-because-I-love-making-kids-happy was derisively curt and gave us single word answers to our queries, doing so without even bothering to maintain eye contact at all. We were not asking ridiculous questions... given the absence of sufficient information regarding pricing and entry policies, all we did was simply ask the admission charges, and procedures. Her colleague, Ms. Don't-disturb-me-I'm-busy-dolling-up-under-the-counter-just-in-case-I-catch-the-eye-of-an-angmo-dad wasn't much better. She was crouched under the counter with a mega eye shadow palette in her hands, not giving a care whether there were customers or otherwise. Ah well... perhaps we caught them on a bad day, but for $21.00 for 2 hours (for children 3 and under) - they are comparatively more expensive than other indoor playgrounds. Costs aside, their prime location, huge grounds and (undoubtedly, high overheads in the form of the two non-locals to greet us) does not give them an excuse to overlook these little aspects of service.
Poor BabyMoo didn't get to go anywhere since it was almost 7.30pm and his tummy was rumbling... so after dinner, Daddy decided to get him a kitchen set to play with at home since he loved pottering about the kitchenettes at Hokey Pokey so much!
Iron chef in the making!
Needless to say, he totally loved it... refusing to go to bed till late, and was still cooking up a storm at 12.30 in the morning!
We decided to head on down to Hokey Pokey again yesterday, as we promised BabyMoo that we will bring him there to play again when he almost burst into tears after not being able to play there the day before. We have decided from early on that we will never make empty promises to BabyMoo, regardless of his age, and whatever that we can manage, we will try to fulfil. Those that we can't - will involve an explanation to make sure that he understands the situation.
When we reached there, there was another party going on... and we were actually quite surprised to note that a lot of the kids involved look almost Primary school going age. Usually the children who are spotted there are below 3, since the older kids would enjoy being at a more rough and tumble playground than their younger counterparts. It was around 4.30pm, and we were very nicely informed that the party will end at 5.00pm. Hokey Pokey owners were so apologetic about us making a wasted trip yet again, but since it was only half an hour to go, we decided that BabyMoo could do with a sugar treat to prepare him for play!
Blackforest cheesecake at Bakerzin. He finished the entire slice!
(Well... Mummy was allowed a teeny tiny bite!)
At a quarter past 5, we headed on down to Hokey Pokey, where we were greeted with the sight of them trying to clear the entire area of children on adrenaline highs. No mean feat! Apparently, some parents decided to let their kids have another extra session of fun, so the place was pretty full even after the party ended.
BabyMoo was thrilled at finally being able to play in a 'familiar yet unfamiliar' place, filled with toys to pique his never-sated curiosity. He went on the big slide into the ball pit several times, laughing and happy, until he got body-slammed on the face (he was in the ball pit) by a much older boy sliding down, who was left unsupervised by his parents.
Now we aren't anal parents, recognising that accidents do happen, especially in a place like a playground, where the kids play in close proximity. Being young as they are, they aren't aware of their own strengths and how to control it accordingly... so we were prepared for such things when we first started exposing BabyMoo to group play.
What incensed DaddyMoo is the fact that the boy's supervising parent didn't even bother to acknowledge the incident! After landing atop of BabyMoo and kicking him in between his eyes landing in the ball pit, he was given a pat on the head(!!) by his parent, as though to assure him that he didn't do anything wrong. For his benefit, the boy actually looked mortified when he saw / felt what he did, and BabyMoo scrunching his face up and letting out a loud howl beneath his body! Of course, since his Daddy assured him that he didn't do anything wrong - of course he didn't... he went back to doing his Red Indian yells and jumping off instead of sliding down into the ball pit.
BabyMoo was upset for about 30sec, and went back to playing around with a huge, red angry bump on his forehead, in between his eyes. He winced when I rubbed at it. Daddy was extremely pissed off by the whole incident, fuelled by the actions of the father who was obviously pretty proud of his son's acrobatic, rough antics. Look... we can understand doting on one's kid, but hey - not at the expanse of another child! Perhaps due to BabyMoo's size, he is often mistaken for older than he actually is (BabyMoo will be 16 months next week), and that father could be wondering why our kid didn't move away or isn't as agile as his kid (they are almost the same size), who was speaking in full sentences, and is obviously older than 3 - but that is no excuse for being unapologetic at what his son did.
Daddy took him off the playground... and fortunately BabyMoo didn't protest at all, for we have always told him that we will bring him out to play, but when we say he's had enough, protesting will not do him any good, apart from forfeiting his next play opportunity.
When we signed out, one of the Mom-owners queried as to why we were leaving way before the two hours of play is up, so I informed her about the incident. When she heard, she informed the others, and I'm sure BabyMoo felt much better with all the fussing and attention he received! They went the extra mile and asked if we wanted a cream to help with the swelling and heal the bruising before it gets egg-like. We were truly appreciative, and some Hirudoid cream was applied, which they mentioned is good for bumps and bruises, and which all of their children use.
Just earlier today, I received a call from Hokey Pokey.
J mentioned that on behalf of Hokey Pokey, she apologises once again for the unpleasant incident, and explaining that although the birthday boy is 6 and thus falls into their targeted age range, some of the invited children were much older. She enquired on BabyMoo, and informed us that as a gesture of goodwill and apology, she would like to send some vouchers our way. I was pleasantly surprised, not to mention thoroughly impressed that they truly care for their customers and little ones. I told her that the vouchers are a nice touch, although we totally do not blame them for the incident, indemnity clauses notwithstanding. Hokey Pokey Management is totally not responsible for the accidents that happen, and as parents, we try to protect our kids from these unpleasant things, although we can only do so much.
I informed her that there is no need to mail us the vouchers - that small incident is no cause for us to stop bringing BabyMoo to Hokey Pokey... and we will be pleased to pick it up when we drop by the next time round. Just because a parent's action leaves a bad taste in the mouth does not mean that we will deny BabyMoo a place that he loves so much!
The hubs and I have spoken about how we love to go to Hokey Pokey because of its excellent customer service and well maintained environment even before this isolated incident took place. That opinion has not changed at all... in fact, we are more inclined to visit because we know that not only BabyMoo is cared for, these mummies are fully aware that more often than not, the parents are the ones who need that extra incentive to sway their vote of confidence when it comes to their children.
Hokey Pokey has integrated that seamlessly into their standard operating procedures, and in so doing, have made us loyal customers. Kudos to the Management of Hokey Pokey... a lot of establishments should take a ball out of your ball pit!
Update: The Herudoid cream worked wonders... BabyMoo has a faint yellow-green bruise, but not much swelling at all! Thank you!