What are you experiences at playgroups? Honestly, such a simple concept…children, toys, parents drinking tea, yet it can become the most political, fractious situation going at the drop of a hat.
I took Emmeline to playgroup yesterday (guilt driven; we haven’t been for literally months) and I have to admit, I was not looking forward to it at all. Call me a miserable cowbag but I can’t be bothered to make small talk about nappies, how old she was when she started walking, does she eat well, etc. with a load of strangers. Granted, in my town it is highly likely you’ll know a large percentage of the people at any given scenario however, I was still not looking forward to it. *Miserable cowbag it is then!*
I prefer to just watch Emmeline engage with the other children, I find it fascinating seeing where she gravitates to and what activities attracts them the most. I also love to watch the parents. I think it’s the Montessori teacher in me but I find it amusing when you see a parent trying to force a particular toy/game/puzzle onto their child and they show absolutely no interest so the adult then continues to play with it themselves in order to try and appeal to their child. You can’t make a child learn a particular skill until they are ready. For Emmeline at the moment, she has started to show an interest in drawing, playing with play dough and general arts and crafts so she is clearly honing her fine motor and creative skills. This is great because I get to play with colouring pens too!
I think she was initially quite overwhelmed because you’re in this huge room full of ride on toys, slides, craft tables, a baby corner, books, a jigsaw table and trillions of people all yacking away. We walked in and I left her to take it all in for a few minutes and honestly, over the next half an hour playgroup succeeded in proving my point about how political and querulous they can be!
SO – I saw a mother in tears because her daughter had been called a horrid name by one of the other mothers, a toddler who took it upon herself to push every other children, steal their toys and generally cause mayhem and a harassed playgroup leader attempting to keep the peace all round. The lady in tears is someone I vaguely know so that wasn’t nice to see but it did make me concerned as to why on earth someone would consider a toddler so evil. I spoke to her in an attempt at reassurance as truly her daughter is fantastic. Such a personality and just wants to have fun all the time.
play dough fun
I remember when Jude was only 11 months old and having visited the paediatrician several times we had just had a referral to physiotherapy (we were in Cambridgeshire who were significantly more forthcoming with support that Hertfordshire has ever been). Following our first physio appointment, I took Jude to the playgroup we always went to on a Tuesday and was relaying the details of our appointment to a friend. This stuck up woman who I only knew through sight suddenly piped up from the other side of a neighbouring table and said to me “what do you expect him to do at 11 months, run?!”
This was my first encounter with people making comments about Jude. No, clearly I did not expect him to run but at 11 months, he would literally sit and not make any attempts to move. You could pretty much sit him in a room, go off to work all day and come back and he would still be sitting there, with no idea about what he is meant to be doing. Obviously, I never did this but my point is, he didn’t know how to move. The professionals were predicting the help he would need and had put it in place. The physio began by teaching him to put his hands on he floor to one side so he could roll into the crawling position a bit easier; we moved on from there.
Anyway, I think I still harbour a slight fear of judgment at playgroups which may explain my reticence to attend. I’d love to hear your playgroup tales in the comments section below, or email me if you’d rather not air them publicly!