#9: Organised Fun for Sale

#9: Organised Fun for Sale
3 minutes to read

Mums love a baby group. We live for them. We often rue half term and other perilously lengthy school holidays because most baby groups don’t run. You know who really does not love a baby group? My baby. Well, tough shit mate, I’ve got us on a one-per-day schedule. On a Monday we do two so you’d really better look alive. 

Moo is usually the least interested baby in the field. She occasionally surprises me and goes in for the high octane stuff with disco lights and bubble machines – throw in a whistle and some drugs* and we’ve got ourselves a ’90s rave, kids. But mostly, she’s feeding, asleep or crying. When she cries, I adopt full helicopter mum mode. I feel the need to offer a spiralling running commentary so that the other mums appreciate that I’m trying to resolve the issue, and that the best tool in my arsenal is about to be unveiled. Hi there boobs, hi there. The world hasn’t seen you for at least 60 minutes, what a treat.

I never quite know how actively I should participate in the group while Moo is feeding. Any eye contact is fairly angry (her, not me), because I invariably didn’t stump up the goods quickly enough. Then the oxytocin is released and she’s eye-rolling her way to blissed out milk drunkeness. I’m also momentarily awash with such love and adoration that I think I might cry because she’s so completely perfect. Oh Jesus, hold fire – we’re doing a song with actions. If I just moderately strangle Moo’s torso with a vice grip, I can release one hand and get in amongst the sign language. Huzzah! I throw a cautionary sun sign somewhere near my shoulder to see if I’ve got a captive audience in Moo. Unresponsive.

I persevere regardless, as the class leader says that even if your own baby is ignoring you, you’re probably being eyeballed by one of the other whippersnappers. I take a furtive glance around – nope, no one else is watching me. Which is just as well because I’ve messed up the sign for flowers and I look like I’m trying to give my nose a handjob.

Come on Moo, I silently urge. We’re here for you, not me. There are nice toys and things here that we don’t have at home. There’s a lady singing to you, I can’t sing. There’s some sort of prop with bells and bits of ribbon. This is our time together, solely dedicated to your enjoyment and development and not bamboozled by your sister, or me needing to get some washing in.

Then I realise that this is probably exactly why you’re feeding so contentedly, why you’re reaching out to grasp my finger, why you’re away with the fairies. You know that in these classes, I’m yours and no-one else’s. It’s not the done thing to dick around on my phone, waiting for you to finish up. I can’t reach the leaflets on the signing in table to read them. I don’t really want to stare at other babies. So I look at you. I look at the tiny circle of almost invisible downy hair on your forehead. I look at your gorgeous eyelashes. I look at the little folds of flesh along your arms. I feel your tummy pressed against my tummy taking deep, sleepy breaths.

Actually, I don’t give a shit that I’ve just paid 6 quid to sit in a room and breastfeed you for half an hour, or stand in such a way that you can gaze out of the window over my shoulder and ignore the hubbub in front of you. In three months you probably won’t find me quite so riveting as you do now, your world will expand way beyond me. So let’s keep these moments, when we’re out pretending to be socially active having organised fun, and just enjoy our little party for two.

*Obviously say no to drugs. We’ve all learnt from Grange Hill.

-SJW June 2016

image

Photo taken at the utterly brilliant Hartbeeps in Highfield, Southampton.
Rhyming with Wine

Pink Pear Bear

31 Comments

  1. June 14, 2016 / 6:08 am

    I used to live by my mommy groups. They saved me after I had my first. And I miss them like crazy since moving to Podunk nowhere. What I wouldn’t give for an afternoon of cackling with my fellow hens. #fartglitter

    • June 14, 2016 / 7:00 am

      I know – in the first 3 months I think they have nothing to do with the babies and everything to do with keeping the mums sane! Thank you for reading and commenting x

  2. June 14, 2016 / 8:21 am

    This really made me laugh out loud – especially the sign language part. I also drag my baby to groups every day, and at the beginning she ate and slept most of the time. But you are right, even though ninety per cent of why I go for the adult conversation, she also gets my full attention for the whole time. No phones, no cleaning, just mothering. #Chucklemums

  3. June 14, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Not sure if my comment sent as my baby kicked the iPad – the hazards of nurse and surf. Just wanted to say this was very funny, I liked the sign language joke, and I relate to this too. I go to baby groups so I can talk to mothers, but it is also a few hours of uninterrupted mothering fr my baby. #Chucklemums

    • June 14, 2016 / 8:44 am

      I got both ???? thank you for commenting and reading, I’m glad you enjoyed it…they’re good for forcing us to be ‘at one’ with the little ones even if our minds are buzzing! #chucklemums

  4. June 14, 2016 / 10:12 am

    Oh this almost makes me want to go to baby groups – I was utterly crap at going to any with my first, maybe my second and I will lose ourselves in the ribbon-bell-rattle domes of organised fun xx #chucklemums

    • June 14, 2016 / 10:30 am

      Ha, you should absolutely go – second time mums are revered at groups because the FTM’s assume we know everything! Good for the ego although largely misguided. Thanks for reading ???????? #chucklemums

  5. June 14, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Your baby groups sound a lot more fun than mine!! Baby groups saved me with Oldest, although Oldest was not very impressed by them. #chucklemums

    • June 14, 2016 / 10:36 am

      Some are utter crap! Some are absolute gems. Annoyingly the ones you hate tend to be the ones the kids like, and vice verca ???? Thank you for reading xx

  6. June 14, 2016 / 11:17 am

    Six quid? Flipping heck. I feel bad this time around I did nothing. We go to one ‘free for all’ toddler group and I did a freebie baby massage course but generally I let him and his sister run feral while I drink tea. But groups are totally worth it if they keep you sane! Loved reading this, thanks for coming back to #chucklemums!

    • June 14, 2016 / 11:32 am

      Yep – average price! We counter it by doing a £1 NCT one but it’s a pricey game. On Friday afternoons when I have both children and I’m all grouped out I tend to rock under a table ???? thank you for reading Fran x

  7. June 14, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    Love this, I hope you’re talking about baby sensory and the Say Hello song because that’s what I was picturing!! I started off trying to go to loads of groups but now just do one most weeks – baby sensory! Mostly because my husband works evenings so if we are out all day we don’t see him much. #bigpinklink

    • June 14, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      I am indeed Ed!! I always struggle with the sign for ‘guide’ (moon) as well. In our class today we had the “tension cloth” which always makes me wee my pants with mirth because it’s essentially a black net. Yep, you need to max out your time with your husband, that’s often more important than groups anyway. Thanks for reading ???? #bigpinklink

        • June 14, 2016 / 10:16 pm

          Oh yeah, that too! In fact, they’re all a little sketchy. I think Dr Lin is mugging us off to look like fools.

  8. June 15, 2016 / 3:50 am

    Wow – they’re so big over here that I can’t imagine somewhere devoid of groups, although a lot of them are run on a franchise basis so harder to take off. Ha – yes it can be a bit eerie seeing another baby staring you out! Thanks for reading and commenting #fartglitter

  9. June 16, 2016 / 10:13 am

    Ah, I used to love the baby group days. Getting out of the house! Adults! Not sure what the boy got out of it and I felt like a div singing but they were still good…#chucklemums

    • June 16, 2016 / 10:55 am

      The memories are soon obliterated by the next stage of childhood but they definitely serve a purpose! Thanks for reading ???? #chucklemums

  10. June 17, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I always thought that baby groups were mainly for the mums to get together and eat cake!! 😀 I’m sure just feeding and cuddling is enough for them at the moment, where you do it makes no odds really, it’s when they are boisterous toddlers trashing your house, that is when you need to get out and trash a church hall! 😉 Thanks for linking up. #bigpinklink

    • June 17, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      I’ve yet to find a mythical cake one…although my NCT one the other day did have pink wafer biscuits and who can say fairer than that, haha. #bigpinklink

  11. June 30, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Right I need to go find a Klout button for baby groups – one a day and two on a Monday – your efforts are to be commended! Such a funny write up – love how you switch from totally devoted adoring mother to humour which makes me laugh out loud – truly brilliant writing! #stayclassy

    • June 30, 2016 / 9:36 pm

      Haha – can’t remember if I wrote it in there but Friday afternoons you can pretty much find me rocking back and forth under the table ???? thank you for such lovely comments, really means a lot. #stayclassy

  12. July 1, 2016 / 9:06 am

    Wow I’m so lucky my local baby group is free! It’s part of a children centre and so os finded by the LEA or council. There is literally one everyday too.

    • July 1, 2016 / 9:07 am

      There are some really good free ones, I find half the battle is learning where and when they are! Lovely to just be out with other mums. Thank you for reading and commenting ????

  13. carolcliffe
    July 1, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Ah I remember it well! The slightly grubby toys, the toddlers trying to push your newborn out of the baby swing where you finally got him to sleep for the first time in 3 days….and the sanity of knowing you’re not alone! I love the way you have written this, the combination of comedy and tenderness. #StayClassyMama

    • July 1, 2016 / 10:43 pm

      Yes, all of that!! Safety in numbers and seeing other people’s children being unruly too. Thank you for a lovely comment xx

  14. July 4, 2016 / 6:39 am

    Our trips to baby groups generally involved grappling with our little one for 30 mins as he tried constantly to escape towards the soft play equipment at the back of the room!!

    • July 4, 2016 / 7:21 am

      Yes, often highly stress inducing and occasionally joyless! Having the play area right there within reach yet prohibited until a specific point in the class is a recipe for disaster…

  15. July 5, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    This is so perfect. It describes everything you feel at Hartbeeps in those first few weeks. My son was not interested at all and cried through most of it, but you’re right those moments were they actually care about you are worth savouring. I didn’t realise this until it was too late and now he’s crawling all over the place. He occasionally sticks his fingers in my mouth now, but that’s the only one on one time we get haha. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama! Really enjoyed this one. : )

    • July 5, 2016 / 8:37 pm

      Ah thank you for a lovely comment ???? yes, there’s such a narrow window isn’t there between them not getting in amongst it and then suddenly overshooting and being too old / mobile! All highly stressful…

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