With my Little Man now at nursery for two days a week, we are no longer playgroup attendees. On our free days we tend to go for soft play, trips to the park and seeing friends and family instead. Playgroups are now a thing of the past.
I’ve been on the playgroup circuit since Boo was a few months old, so around 6 years now. That’s a fair few years, so to be no longer going feels a bit weird. Not necessarily bad weird, just different weird.
So on having a little look back, I thought I’d share 8 things that I won’t miss about playgroups….
1) The venue and equipment. The freezing cold church halls they are invariably held in. With a unique musty smell. Every one of them. Then there are the germs. Aside from the obligatory sneezes and splutters, it’s the questions arising in my mind about the last time the toys and equipment were cleaned. At all. Even with just a baby wipe.
2) The scramble for the Cosy Coupe. I have yet to attend a playgroup, and I’ve been to many, where they have a sufficient number of these cars. And by sufficient, I mean at least two dozen. The kids all want these. They lurk them hoping for them to be vacated, the more brazen amongst them simply yank open the door and try to bundle on in on top of unwilling drivers. Get more of these. Go Cosy Coupe dodgem style and you have a sure-fire playgroup hit on your hands.
3) Snack Time. AKA The Frenzy. Yes, it is only a Malted Milk and half a Tommee Tippee cup of weak squash, but to these kids, it’s high tea at the Ritz. Let the mayhem commence.
4) Craft time. Am I the only parent getting stressed at the craft table? There’s the pressure of getting the assigned craft ‘right’ whilst looking like the child is doing it all and I am totally relaxed with them putting everything in the ‘wrong’ places and trying to lick the glue.
5) That child. The child that nobody watches at all. The one sneaking around the room. The one opening doors that they shouldn’t be. The one taking toys away from contented others. The one throwing cars at toddlers heads. The one that I feel I am the only one watching.
6) Story time and the shame of the child who will never, ever quietly sit still for this. My kids love their books, but try to get them to listen to a story at playgroup and they rebel, big time. Every other child sits on that mat, looking adoringly at the playgroup leader, whilst my child runs wildly round in circles shrieking (my eldest) or sees story-time as an opportunity to have every single toy and ride-on in the room to himself and run manically from one to the next (my youngest).
7) Song time. Whilst the kids are cheerily joining in with each and every nursery rhyme my child runs wildly round in circles shrieking (my eldest) or resolutely refuses to join in, copy the actions or even face the same way as every other child (my youngest).
8) Time to leave. Wrangling an unwilling child into their coat when all that they want to do is run wildly round shrieking (my eldest, and yes I am now spotting a theme here) or having a child beg me to leave as soon as the snack has been consumed as after all, that’s all he really came for (my youngest).
Actually, looking back over this now, it’s kind of looking like every single aspect of the entire two hours was hideous to me. You know I’ll still look back on them nostalgically though, don’t you? Foolish mother.
Bye, bye playgroups.