Pitch Imperfect

Janey Lloyd

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Hearing that the Spice Girls are one down for their upcoming reunion I’ve been using baby groups recently as a chance to get my practice in. Despite not getting that all important call back (I blame BT), I am thoroughly enjoying the silliness Joel and I have been having.

I remember talking about the groups with a friend who had also recently become a first time Mum and we shared the same worries of “what if our babies just cry the whole time or if they’re sick everywhere?”

I didn’t need a newsflash to know all babies do this and if it happens then I have my ever faithful sidekick of baby wipes to save the day. I’m glad that I bit that nervous bullet and went for it as the giggle I got that day from Joel was unforgettable as he realised Mummy is funnier than the baby in the mirror.

You’re spoilt for choice in the local area with baby groups - it can be difficult deciding what to choose depending on your individual preference and how many you wish to attend. Some parents base their decision on their own hobbies for example football, swimming etc, the cost or where their friends prefer.

I personally want to go to a group where Joel can relax, have fun whilst enabling me - the self-proclaimed chatterbox - to have a catch up with the other parents. I am also keen to look at low cost and free classes as I’m now funding Lenor’s Christmas bonuses since Joel’s arrival.

I’ve listed some of the classes I’ve attended so far that won’t leave you on beans on toast for the rest of the month!

Movers and Shakers

The Wheel Inn, Scone

Every Monday 1:15pm

Cost £3 per session – the first session is free

This crazy and fun non-profit group is run by two lovely ladies Maureen Menzies and Davina Stewart. Movers was the first group I went to with Joel and as soon as I heard the music, saw the feathers and masks, I knew I had made the right choice.

They had us wearing feather boas and rabbit masks waving scarves about - as I would sing away in my tone-deaf manner - the last time I was entwined with a boa singing away was over a decade ago at the Student Union.the last time I was entwined with a boa singing away was over a decade ago at the Student Union. This time Tequila couldn’t be present (well not without being judged) and it honestly wasn’t required, as I easily found myself caught up in the fun.

Maureen likes to select catchy and new songs with highly creative toys giving you a break from "The Wheels on the Bus" and "The Twinkling Star" At the end of the session Maureen and Davina invite you to the Sensory Room which is great for relaxing the little ones.

This group also gives a great opportunity afterwards for the parents/grandparents to have a chat. I haven’t been to their other session for the older children, but I’ve heard on the Mummy grapevine it’s another sterling effort from the ladies.

A lot of imagination and thought has been put into the running of this group which has contributed to its success. I know from chatting to the ladies it is a case of the more the merrier so feel free to come and shake it off Taylor Swift style!

Baby Massage

Arranged through health visitor

Venue and time can vary

Free

This was the first class that I took my slightly reluctant husband to and he really enjoyed it. His main concern was being the only other Dad there and cancelling yet another date with his neglected Playstation.

When you walk in the trainer Elaine has relaxing music playing and this chills you out instantly. Each class focuses on different areas eg the legs, arms, face and the final class was putting it all together.

The class is designed to deal with the unpredictability of babies.

We also learnt about the history and origin of infant massage including the health benefits. If you go with your partner, only one of you can massage your baby so Elaine would give the other partner a doll to practice on that you could also give a name. I managed to convince my husband to name his Fernando on the condition I didn’t sing it on the way home. I agreed and sung “Waterloo” instead much to my husband’s annoyance.

The class is designed to deal with the unpredictability of babies and Elaine was good at explaining what to do if your baby isn’t liking one massage and this helped put me at ease when Joel started getting his grump on.

Be warned, your baby can get extremely relaxed when getting massaged and very suddenly you can have a showstopper of bodily functions – so bring a towel! Elaine would repeatedly assure me this is a good sign of baby being relaxed especially after Joel’s loud passing of wind (he takes after his Father).

At the end of the course we received a certificate and handouts so we could continue the massage at home. This class is ideal for you if you’re looking for a chance to bond further with your baby and to get your other half involved. To do this class ask your health visitor for further details.

Bookbug

AK Bell Library, Perth

Every Wednesday 09:45am till 10:15am 0-18 months

Every Thursday 09:45am till 10:15am 18 months + every Saturday 09:45am till 10:15am *term time only

Free

Janey - Joel with BookbugJust under a decade ago I was the library worker nervously taking the Bookbug session - so with my insider knowledge I know how brilliant this class is. Luckily no one has continued my habit of freestyling “Row Row Your Boat” or singing “Ally Bally Bee” out of tune which contributed towards the 2008 cotton wool shortage.

This class introduces the library to your little ones from a young age as a fun place and transforms the stuffy image it once had with the colourful bunting and painting that decorates the children’s section.

The session involves the classics of “Incey Wincey Spider” and “Old Macdonald” with some other lesser known songs, with a break for an exciting story. A few of the songs involve your child sitting on your knee which is great for that extra interaction and also a sneaky cuddle so if they’re facing out they know you’re still there.

Afterwards, the Bookbug leader makes time for a giggle and you also have a chance to pick up some books. It's a hugely popular class so remember to book from the Friday onwards to get a place. What my inner rebel especially loves about this class is you get to sing loudly in the middle of a library and no one can tell you off!

Winter 2017 and 2018 Babies

This is private group on Facebook can be added by friends if they are members - posts can only been seen by members

Free

I want to mention this group as since becoming a member last month, I have found this group extremely helpful and I feel that these types of groups don’t get enough credit.

This is the perfect type of group if you for whatever reason don’t want to attend groups, or you do, but want to do something different.

It connects you with other local Mums to get advice, arrange walks or playdates, find a friend for baby groups or even to find a Chardonnay chum. It connects you with other local Mums to get advice, arrange walks or playdates, find a friend for baby groups or even to find a Chardonnay chum.

The group was set up this year by a local Mum of two, Lisa Findlay. Lisa set the group up after the popularity of the other closed group '2015 Babies' which is still running today and has proven to be a great support for her and other Mums.

She states that she wants Mums to “share the joys, pains and triumphs of bringing up a baby in this crazy game that is being a parent”.

So far the membership is growing in line with the friendships being created and if you’re considering a similar group on social media or have been invited to join this one then please go for it. You will chat with some new and familiar faces whilst having that comforting feeling you’re not the only one learning to win the crazy and rewarding game of being a parent.

Scone Babies and Toddlers Playgroup 

Old Scone Church Hall

Every Wednesday morning during term time 9:45-11:30am

£1.50 and each session includes refreshments – the first session is free

The running of this baby and toddler group was recently taken over by my sister Lesley Sorrie and Jemma Wildman (I’m not bias in anyway but if I didn’t mention this group Christmas Dinner this year would have been awkward).

It’s a great group for parents with babies and toddlers as the ladies have arranged different areas eg dress up, arts and craft, baby play, play kitchen and a pop up tent filled with toys so there’s a great range to keep those short attention spans entertained.

If like myself, you have a baby and no toddlers then the ladies also have a separate baby area with a play mat and baby appropriate toys so you can have a chat with the other parents. A break is given to get refreshments which is provided for everyone, giving the children a chance to recharge their batteries.

There is a lovely community that has been created within this group with everyone happy to pitch in and help. After the first group they had taken over I had a super proud sister moment hearing the excellent feedback everyone gave and it was great to see all their hard work being noticed. This is a lively and well organised class that provides the freedom for you to grab a comfy seat and chat away.

Afterwards, you’re guaranteed a peaceful midday as your little ones leave passed out in the pram exhausted from roaring away through the serengeti of Barbies and toy cars.

Trinity Tots 

Trinity Church (the back hall) York Place, Perth

Every Friday 10:30 am till 12pm

0 months to pre school age

£1 donation

I went to this group for the first time last week and for once I was early (due to me getting the times wrong). This group was recommended to me by a school friend who was unable to make it herself so off I popped as a proud Billy no mates.

When I stepped into the room I was greeted by a sea of smiles and Joel giggled away meeting the new faces. One of the helpers recognised me from a sleepover as teenagers, unfortunately she remembered the part of when I stepped in dog dirt and trampled it all over the inside of the tent. I’m pleased to say all is forgiven and we had a lovely catch up.

Janey - Joel painting his footIt has a wide selection of toys for all ages and a great variety of baby toys with very comfy leather sofas that I could have quite easily fallen asleep on.

Once a month they do keepsakes so we had picked the right Friday to go. The very creative Janet gave you the choice of the butterfly or the rocket and she would paint your baby’s foot then with pen add to the print to create your chosen design.

It was lovely coming back with this handmade gift to show Daddy along with family and friends. There’s such a friendly atmosphere at this group and everyone is so happy to help you out plus make time for a chat. You can easily see how the donations play a vital role from the arts and crafts to the scrumptious array of cakes. There’s loads of fun to be had for everyone and they even make time for singing.
 

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Although every baby can be different they are still all mini nosy neighbours making the craziness at baby groups ideal for their curious eyes. After being defeated by a sickness bug last week it’s been great having fun again with my little boy.

No parenting book or class prepared me for having to cope calmly when seeing his confused and pale face, so finding a chance to relax has been a breath of fresh air. I'm starting to notice a development in Joel’s awareness and his confidence with interacting with other people since going to the groups.

Remember as daft as you may feel dressing up and singing in front of strangers remind yourself of Theresa May dancing in Nigeria.

It can be a daunting thought for some people attending the group and meeting new people but as you walk in you’re always met with a smile and sometimes you spot a familiar face. Remember as daft as you may feel dressing up and singing in front of strangers remind yourself of Theresa May dancing in Nigeria.

The groups are also a great way of tiring Joel out so that afternoon nap becomes less of a struggle and I can unwind with a cup of tea telling myself the dishes can wait till later.

From my experience so far there are many benefits for both myself and Joel with the groups no matter if it’s from physically attending or from behind a computer screen, their popularity in the local area speaks volumes. Silliness has proven to be the best medicine this week and Perth glaziers beware we've found our stage.

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