Now I have two sprogs, the humble baby group is like mecca to me, I generally couldn't live without them.
They're cheap, not at my house and you get drinks and biscuits thrown in. What's not to like?!
Yes, of course, like anything there are a few potholes in this plan. One being that you normally have to make really awkward small talk to a bunch of people you've never met, and keep a smile plastered on your face, even though Little Jimmy is screaming he wants to go home at the top of his lungs. To be honest, I don't mind a bit of small talk. After all, small talk or not, it's still an actual conversation with an adult, which is normally better than debating with my four-year-old why I'm such a poo poo face, for the millionth time.
And anyway, baby groups can be fun, if you know how to navigate them right.
Issue One - Money
Unless you are one of those crazy mums who have spare time and energy to dedicate to other kids and let's be honest, who has, then you will have to pay to get it. Cheap and cheerful, coughing up a quid shouldn't be too hard, even if it is in five pence pieces because you've had to raid Freddie's money box again.
Issue Two- Squash and Biscuits
What you don't know is that before the group opens, all the saintly volunteers pick a straw to see which unlucky sod will be manning the refreshment counter this time. Ever tried to defuse a raging toddler who is told they can't lick all the biscuits then put them back? It's NOT a proper baby group without a couple of the little darlings going nuclear because they drunk each other's squash either...
Issue Three- Ride Ons
What is it with playgroups and bloody ride ons? Isn't it bad enough that my ankles get hit at home every three seconds? That I then have to pay to enter, to then have thirty little shits also drive into my poor ankles!
Then there's the Cosy Coupe..... Directly my eyes lay sight on those plastic cars my heart sinks. Especially after explaining why they need to share the blasted thing, to then finally get a go, and then lose it because they run over to show me they now have it! Argh! Surely I can't be the only one who dreams about killing the bloody thing, right?
Issue Four- Happy Smiley People
There are some days I turn up looking haggard on three hours sleep, and other times I've accidently switched the kids into 'whinge mode' and plan on hiding in the corner stalking childless couple's photos on Facebook.
Telling me your John has slept for twenty-three hours and now only eats green food is NOT what baby group is about.
Baby group is about letting your kids run riot in a controlled environment while you keep one eye on them and bitch to the just as exhausted mum next to you about how come you can't seem to "breed sleepers" like everyone else.
Issue Five- The Craft Table
My issue is this. The eldest one hates craft, while the youngest one loves it. So I'm torn between the constant pull of sitting with the little one and having her colour outside the lines on MY sheet of paper or being screamed up from the other side of the room by a child who can't bear to play by herself for thirty seconds.
Issue Six- Handbags at Dawn
The similarities between a playgroup and Keeping up with the Kardashians is uncanny if you think about it...
Issue Seven- Puzzles
Just accept that none of the right pieces will ever be in the right box and deal with it woman!
Issue Eight- Packing Up
And of course, this is when they really want to play with the kitchen set, they haven't touched all session!
Issue Nine- Singing
In any other social situation, having a bunch of adults sit around on the floor grumbling songs they barely know under their breaths would normally result in some sort of arrest or mass exorcism.
It's okay, though, it's almost over. Just have to get through this awkward bit then we've done enough parenting to warrant putting the TV on for a bit at home. Yes, this is the most boring bit ever, and you do let your mind wonder and silently ponder if this hell will ever end.
Don't worry it does. Because before you know it, you'll be begging to return to this group with biscuits and cheap squash after playing £4.50 a session at baby French for your little monkey to call you poo poo head in two languages. Brilliant!
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