The Joys and Horrors of Baby Classes

The joys and horrors of baby classes - baby at a class wearing start shaped glasses

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. 

 

Baby Swimming

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.

 

Music Classes

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:

Music class mascot That scared boy Child

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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The joys and horrors of baby classes

 

14 Comments

  1. Anita Faulkner - Brazen Mummy Writes
    March 19, 2019 / 8:30 pm

    Still haven’t braved swimming. Feel like a bad mum for that, but it sounds so horrific! One day. I’ve heard great things about Hartbeeps, but nothing that fancy around here! 😂 xx

  2. Jodie
    March 20, 2019 / 5:27 am

    Our oldest child hated hated swimming and we do something called rhythm time where they have instruments and sing etc but like Jo jingles it is quite structured you get told what to do and i feel the babies don’t care for half of it

  3. March 20, 2019 / 10:10 pm

    I’ve never been to Hartbeeps – but I know a friend took her nephew when he was tiny and said it was like a rave! I did all the groups with my first – Waterbabies, Gymbubbas, Sing and Sign (didn’t like that one much!), Baby Sensory, Moo Music, felt like we were at a different one every day. Now I only take the twins to Moo Music – because my mate runs it, and my mum comes to help me! 🙂 #ItsOK

  4. March 21, 2019 / 6:09 am

    Hartbeeps sounds fab! I’d be lost without classes – I dread the summer holidays when they all stop.

    I loved baby sign language – even if my daughter did use the milk sign for mummy for a while… 🐮

    #ItsOK

    • Jo
      Author
      March 21, 2019 / 10:58 am

      Oh yes, I hated the 6 week break every year!

  5. March 21, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    Oh my word the horror! You’re a braver woman than I am!
    That change room scenario sounds awful! I’d not have coped with the anxiety that would have induced. Well done you!
    #itsok – you don’t have to shave your legs now! lol
    Thanks for linking up.

  6. March 21, 2019 / 9:44 pm

    We absolutely loved Baby signing too. You’re absolutely right that it really helps to relieve the frustrations of a lack of communication.

  7. March 22, 2019 / 5:15 pm

    Oh yes, the joys and horrors! I remember it well. Loved the part about your son being scared of the giant “Jo.” Mine found creatures like that terrifying, too!

    • Jo
      Author
      March 27, 2019 / 11:48 am

      I never really understand why any child likes them!

  8. March 25, 2019 / 2:56 pm

    You’ve said it exactly as it is – baby classes are a perfect mix of joy and horror! Joy because hurrah we’re out of the house, and finally talking to another adult (even though it’s probably about your baby!!!), and someone else is in charge of entertaining your baby for an hour – win win win.

    Horror because we have to get baby and self to the damn class on time and then hide in shame if baby decides to throw a tantrum THROUGHOUT the class (happened to me once; I didn’t go back for weeks!).

    Parenting – a tough job but #itsok!

    Thanks for linking up with us at the #itsok linky dear.

  9. March 25, 2019 / 7:09 pm

    I loved baby signing and it was really useful. Baby massage was great for getting out of the house!

    • Jo
      Author
      March 27, 2019 / 11:47 am

      We still use the signing occasionally now!

  10. March 26, 2019 / 7:42 pm

    To be fair Jo Jingles does look rather frightening! #itsok

    • Jo
      Author
      March 27, 2019 / 11:46 am

      He really is a bit creepy!

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