The Social Life of a Baby

Is it just me or do your children have a more active social life than you? I was just sitting thinking of all the different baby clubs, play groups, classes and activities we’ve done over the last ten months and I think it’s safe to say Millie has had more social outgoings in her short little life so far than I have had over the last five years combined!!

Probably like most mums we’ve tried it all, some stuff we’ve loved and a few, we’ve errr… tolerated??!! It got me thinking though about the things both myself and Millie really have enjoyed together while I’ve been on maternity leave. Both of us love being outdoors. Millie is very inquisitive and is fascinated by wildlife, trees, flowers, random bits of twigs, lumps of mud… Anything she can look at outside. So we spend a lot of time walking around the fields and woodland near us. We also enjoy play dates with Millie’s little buddies and her cousin. It’s been great watching her develop alongside her baby friends and how as they get a little bit older they are starting to play together. But aside from these we have also done our fair share of baby classes over the months and I thought I draw up a list of those we loved the most:

1. Baby Sensory – we have been going to baby sensory classes with our NCT mummies and babies since Millie was just eight weeks old and both of us LOVE it! The combination of both a structured class and a break in the middle for some free play works really well and isn’t a long stretch for Millie to have to remain engaged. Our leader was excellent and the activities were always really well organised and varied. Millie loves the baby sensory song “Say hello to the sun” and every time we play it at home it calms her and she joins in with the actions.

The classes are tailored to different age groups and both age group sessions we have been to have been perfectly suited to the baby’s age range. Millie has now graduated from Baby Sensory but we are sneaking in a one off Easter special next week. I can’t wait!

2. Jo Jingles – Another class we have been to since Millie was only four months old. It is singing and dancing using the puppet, Jo Jingles, as the main prop. Millie loves making a noise so anything musical is right up her street. Although we don’t go every week, whenever we do I always wonder to myself why we don’t make it more regularly.

imageThe classes are suitable for babies up to pre-schoolers and even if your baby is too young to get involved in all of the dancing, the whole experience is great for them to sit and watch. Each week has a different theme and the leader brings out different props and musical instruments for the children to use and participate. Jo, the puppet, also interacts with each child and it’s wonderful to watch their fascinated little faces as he talks to them. But be warned, it’s very noisy and the theme tune will stick in your head for days!!

3. Swimming – since I was pregnant I have been excited to take Millie swimming. I swam right through most of my pregnancy until my bump was so massive I kept floating to the top of the water and could no longer swim. I figured maybe the baby would love the water as I do if she was used to being swished around in uetero as I swam. I first took Millie swimming when she was 12 weeks old and was so relieved that she seemed happy in the water. I signed up to our first term of swimming lessons straight afterwards. We are now onto our third term and Millies confidence in the water is wonderful to watch. She happily “jumps” into my arms from sitting on the side, splashes and kicks to try and catch toys and is starting to be able to hold herself up on the side unaided and pull herself out of the water.

Each week swimming is the one class that really makes me burst with mummy pride as my little girl learns new skills in the pool and increases in water confidence week after week. Before long I’m sure we will be swimming lengths together!!

As much as we have tried to make the most of everything we’ve done, there are a few we didn’t love quite so much…

1. Messy play – I think we may have trialed this one a bit too early. Millie was only seven months old when we signed up to a taster session and she seemed to think the glue and paint were some new approach to baby led weaning we hadn’t yet tried at home and proceeded to eat everything in sight, feathers, paper, fake mud… My OCD was going wild! Then I kept finding paint on various parts of her body for a good few days! Maybe we will give it another try when she is a bit older but for now I’m filing this one firmly in the no thanks pile!!

2. Soft Play aka Hell on Earth!! – don’t get me wrong soft play generally is ok and Millie really rather enjoys it however it’s all about timings. School holidays and weekends are generally a big no no unless you can drag yourself up and out by 9am you have no hope. Far too many over excited kids drinking cheap fizzy pop, pumped on sugar and their little bit of freedom while mummy and daddy relax with a coffee.  Then there’s the smell of wee from the ball pit and the fact that Millie always seems to get ill within a few days of us going, probably from her licking the floor or some other grubby surface that takes her fancy! Grim… Yet we seem to find ourselves there at least once a fortnight!

If only soft play could always look this…. (9am one Sunday morning just as the doors opened!)

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