My First Time At A Baby Group
It’s funny, as soon as you’re thrusted into this world of motherhood there are so many things that nobody prepares you for…yellow poo, manoeuvring a tandem pram around the corner shop (should I have a driving licence for this?), teething tears, taking your babies for their immunisations (WHY are those needles SO big??!), and…baby groups.
Now, let me give you a little insight into where I’m coming from. I have worked in education now for almost 10 years, with a specialism in Early Years may I add (see our Child Development section for tips on how to support your child’s learning at home). Even this, my friends, does not prepare you for the craziness that comes with going to a baby group. Let me explain.
As soon as we got our baby twins home from hospital the questions began: Will you be taking them to any baby groups? Which ones will you be attending? Have you signed up for the baby yoga massage sign language 17 week all singing and dancing one yet? My echoing reply: Not yet.
What’s The Rush?
Why is it as soon as your babies start breathing people want you to subject yourself to these said groups? My babies can just about grunt. I am not sure that taking them to baby sign language is going to make sure they turn out to be future professors. Of course I can see the value in meeting up with other mamas and discussing what colour baby poo is or moaning about how we haven’t slept for more than 7 hours in two weeks…but when you are still working out which way a nappy goes on whilst experimenting with how much caffeine you can consume before you give yourself a heart attack, now didn’t seem quite the right time to go. And if I’m perfectly honest, I just enjoyed rolling out of the house, messy mum bun and yesterday’s clothing on, just to grab a coffee and cake.
One month, two months, three months…the time began to fly by. Suddenly I woke up one morning with two five month old twins who could finally focus on more than just the teat of a bottle and stay awake for longer than I could down a cup of coffee. I think the day might be approaching. I think it may be time to take the babies to a baby group. Gulp.
As soon as you start looking into baby groups you are bombarded with an assortment of decisions. Should I attend rhyme time yoga? Or would baby massage be better? (You may have already seen my thoughts of baby massage in my Life With 4 Month Old Twins post…) Seriously, these babies are going to have a better social life than when I was a uni student soon. No, let’s keep it simple and try out the ‘Baby Explorers’ (for babies 0-12 months).
Here We Go…
As I get ready to leave, my stomach is flooded with butterflies. I start to realise that this isn’t actually about the babies anymore. It’s about me. What if I don’t know what I’m doing when I get there? Who will I speak to? I hope I make some friends. What do I do if my babies start screaming? Will my parenting skills be judged? It was like going on a blind date with a load of mama strangers.
As I approach the door to the centre I am taken aback by how many people there are in there. This group is SO busy! I guess that must mean I’ve chosen a good one. Of course you’re not allowed prams into the baby room, so my first concern is how do I get two babies into the baby room without the pram?? #twinlifeproblems. Luckily, the lady who is running the session spots my slight anxiety and helps me. Once inside, I quickly skim across the room. Which mama do I think would be my friend? Which parent looks friendly? Everyone seems to be very familiar with each other and I’m that new girl starting her first day at school. Don’t look weird. Smile and everything will be ok. That’s the great thing with having two babies, I have enough going on to keep me looking busy.
As I throw friendly (slightly desperate) smiles at random women, one lady starts to talk to me. I go for the most obvious topic of conversation: ‘Aw your baby is very sweet’ (I used the term baby as I couldn’t tell the gender…awkward) ‘How old are they?’ (Again, non-gender specific pronoun). The conversation continues and we discuss the same questions about my two. This seems ok. Not too bad at all. I think I’m actually starting to feel comfortable.
Oh no, I spoke too soon.
Please Don’t Make Me Sing…
As soon as those positive thoughts entered my head, the drum comes out. A tidying up song is played and we are directed to make a circle with our babies. Now, I don’t know about you but I find sitting in a circle with a bunch of strangers quite overwhelming. There’s something about it that makes me cringe. As I sit there, toes curled and hoping this does not take long, we are asked which songs we would like to sing. This, my friends, is not karaoke. Once the nursery rhymes are exhausted we are then introduced to the next part of the circle time. Each parent has to tap the drum whilst singing their child’s name to the group. OH. MY. When is it home time? Do I really have to sing in front of these strangers? And to top it all off, as I have two babies, I have to do it TWICE! Ugggh.
The most hilarious thing about my feelings in this situation is that I actually make people do this in my own profession. But I tell you what, being on the other side of it as a parent, I now can appreciate why some people would rather sit on the side lines and be an observer. Amongst all of the jokes and tales, I do actually think the services that are available can be an incredible support for parents and their babies. We are very lucky to have these centres on our door steps for us to use. If you would like to find your nearest Children Centre to you, you can use this link: Children Centre Information.
What have been your experiences of baby groups?
Love, The Foxfairies x