I knew after Boy Child was born that I would need to get out of the house. I was already on the back foot as I didn’t do an NCT class but I was terrified by the pressure to make small talk at baby and toddler groups. A structured “Baby Class” seemed the way to go. I’m pretty much addicted to education of any kind so the idea of learning something made sense to me.
This seemed like a great idea at first, some gentle exercise and a chance to get Boy Child used to the water. It seemed worth the effort to shave my legs. The lessons took place at a primary school pool. Unfortunately, primary school pools are not designed for the logistical nightmare of 6 women and 6 screaming babies all trying to get changed at once. The changing space was communal so all the Mums were trying to discretely get dressed under a towel while simultaneously soothing a screaming baby who couldn’t be put down due to the weird plastic matts on the floor. It was an assault on both the ears and the eyes.
That would have been bearable, but Boy Child was a sicky baby. To their credit, the swim school were prepared. They had a man (the teacher’s partner I assume) at the side of the pool to hand out kitchen towel when a spit up occurred. After the first 3 times it was embarrassing. After the 10th, it was just exhausting. I stuck it out for the half term I’d paid for then gave up, promising I would try again when he was older. Which it turned out to be when he was 4 and could go in without me.
Baby Sign Language
I loved doing baby sign language. I got to learn baby sign language and feed my growing addiction to nursery rhymes. Boy Child loved it too. It was the first sign of the “great enthusiasm” that I hear about at every parents evening. Most of the mums already knew each other so no one really talked to me very much but I didn’t care. I was happy to be doing something that both Boy Child and I enjoyed.
Baby signing is great because it minimises baby’s frustration as they are able to communicate their needs earlier. The only downside is that, they are able to communicate their needs earlier. This means they will communicate them non stop for all the hours they are awake. Boy Child’s first sign was “more” and he wanted “more” of everything. From milk to stories, from my food to the tv remote control. He used it for everything from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to sleep.
Jo Jingles is a large music class franchise that was very popular in my area at the time. When baby signing no longer fit our schedule, we decided to try it. We didn’t get off to a good start because of this guy:
He is the “Jo” of Jo Jingles and Boy Child was horrified by him from day one. The classes were very regimented with instruments being hand out with specific instructions for use and then counted back in at the end of the song. Boy Child quite enjoyed the actual classes until he learnt to walk at which point the very structured set up became a problem and we moved on.
Musical Minis was a much smaller operation and we basically chose it because it was close by and fitted our schedule. By any objective standard, it was a bit crap. The instruments were old, the branding dated and the classes very simple. Despite all of that, it was great. They had this section in the middle where the kid’s could just do what they wanted with the instruments (certainly not allowed at Jo Jingles) and the adults got to chat. This approach created a really relaxed atmosphere and we carried on until Boy Child started preschool.
Baby Classes with Number 2
Once Boy Child was at preschool, I had time to take Girl Child to a class. I wanted to try something different this time so signed us up for Hartbeeps. It was certainly different. The first song we sang was “The Change Time Rap”. It was an experience and certainly an indicator of the bizarreness to come. I found myself doing many, very odd things at Hartbeeps. Brushing a teddy’s fur with a toothbrush, laying on the hard floor of a community centre, in the dark, pretending to sleep and wearing all kinds of fancy dress.
Despite these oddities the classes were amazing. I was a bit put out when Girl Child lost interest and I found myself singing along with the songs, wearing a silly hat and giant sunglasses by myself, while she ran wild around the room.
Now that the children are older I quite miss the classes. They still do various activities and I happily ferry them there and back but it’s not quite the same as when we did it together. At least I don’t have to shave my legs anymore.
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