So this week I’ve been transported back to two different stages of my life….
On Monday I was transported back to my early childhood, to possibly even pre-school! I took my toddler (14 months) and baby (4 months) to a morning play session, most of the kids were around 2-3 years old, but my children were still welcomed with open arms. The parents interacted with all children and not just their own, the staff were obviously mothers themselves and it felt really relaxed like we could just have fun.
On one side there were toy cars, wooden blocks and doll houses, on the other there was a craft table, a paint table, a kids kitchen, a huge water bowl and a sensory corner. My son made a mess of himself and the room, he was definitely the most ‘enthusiastic’ child there, although he was undoing the staff’s efforts to keep the room tidy they just laughed at his cheekiness, after all he is only one. Feeling elated after this session, it took me straight back to my own experiences of these groups when I was a child, I was excited to go to a similar group at another nearby baby centre on Tuesday.
We entered the room and it was instantly different, it was full of children, but it was…quiet. None of the parents were running around interacting with them, they were sat in a circle gossiping.
The room itself had plenty of wooden toys to play with and had an almost bare craft table. They had a paint table but it was outside, on a freezing January afternoon.
As I tried to ignore the instant feeling of being unwelcome, I tried to play with the children in the group, encouraging my children to interact with the other kids, but their parents quickly pulled them away and avoided eye contact, when trying to chat with the other parents about our kids, I was quickly ignored as they walked away and then it came flooding back, for the second time in two days I was transported back to my childhood, but this time it was my teenage years, the bitchy cliques were back….
Well I’m not in high school now so I will be finding another baby group to go to on a Tuesday, I feel guilt because my son seemed to enjoy himself (but not as much as on Monday). I just can’t put my self through building up anticipation every week. It amazes me how two groups can be so different, I’ve met several people from the council estate that the children centre is in, but none of them go to the groups, it seems to be filled with more well-off parents who drive there, I can see why other parents might not go. It’s astonishing how with one glance, you can be made to feel like the smallest person in the world.
I suppose bitchy women will be there throughout our lives, maybe I was naive to think they were gone after high school…