I wanted to take the boys somewhere we could all socialise. Having two babies so close together has made it difficult for me to take them both to the same group and I was feeling slightly isolated and in need of adult conversation.
I had decided to go to this playgroup in particular as it is where the boys will go to nursery and it is the closest, only a five minute walk away. So we had a slightly early lunch and headed off. I eventually found the correct entrance and bravely marched in. There were only two women and a child in there (being early is one of my things)! I announced "I'm new" and the playgroup leader gave me a quick briefing, took my pound, then I was left to my own devices.
I'm guessing this is a typical playgroup set up: loads of toys on a central rug, tables of activities, and chairs around the edge of the room. I let the toddler loose and off he ran and started playing. He has been a shy child so it was wonderful to see him getting stuck in, especially when the room filled with adults and children.
Then I had a dilemma - where should I sit? Now I know I'm not alone in this, please read Kim's wonderful blog about not knowing where to stand (and getting a decent haircut). I thought the baby would have a sleep so I left him in the pram and parked it at the end of a row of chairs and sat down next to him. Then I watched all the new arrivals come in and sit nowhere near me. I'm no yummy mummy, but I only have the one head. I realised one group of mums must be friends, dare I say a clique? They all looked like they belonged together; all fake tans, short T-shirts, sleek hairdos and makeup. I have none of these.
Then, hurrah, one mum sat five chairs away, on her own. She looked quite shy too so I made the first move and said 'hi'. She was quite new to the group and we had a lovely chat about children - thank goodness we had something in common! She is nine months pregnant, so she may not be at playgroup next week, but I hope she is. I didn't even ask her name, but her three year old is Eddie, I love this name!
It was time for a cup of tea (or a brew as they call it up here). I realised the baby wanted to know what was going on and did not want a sleep, so I took him to play on the mat. I sat on the periphery of the yummy mummies, hoping to catch an eye, maybe smile at another baby, but this was denied by one of the mums turning her back and closing ranks. Now I don't know if this was deliberate, but it ruled out getting to know her or her friends. At least I had the baby to play with and the toddler to watch.
I was pleased to be there, the boys enjoyed themselves and I did speak to a few people when we sat down at the end for songs and nursery rhymes. I even got a bit emotional when we sang 'Happy Birthday" to one little girl - I don't know why, maybe I was emotional at finally plucking up the courage to start at playgroup.
The downside of course was the fact that the boys didn't have an afternoon nap. The toddler in particular looked shattered and didn't want much tea.
Will I go again next week? Yes I will. It's good for all of us. Now I know the ropes I'll make an effort to talk to the other loners (well everyone who isn't a yummy mummy) and see if I can make some friends. It's easier to make virtual friends in blogging or Twitter than it is in real life, well it is for shy old me anyway.