The Social Lives of Children

There are many things they don’t tell you when you’re pregnant, especially about what happens once the baby is born. For example, at no point was I told that I would develop a pair of giant testicles in the form of painful piles after pushing out my first born. “Would you like some cream for those?” I was asked on returning from the toilet, waddling like a cowboy who’d just completed a 9 hour trek across the Wild West on his 22 foot stallion! Cream?!! I was thinking more along the lines of surgery to amputate the buggers! Don’t even ask what happened down there after the subsequent two natural births!

However, I digress. One thing never mentioned was the future social lives of my children. And when I say future, I had anticipated a few years down the line. I envisioned the first few years involving walks in the pram, rambles in wellies, attending the odd playgroup and then it would be time for nursery! I honestly had not planned for anything else. My maternity leave would involve a sleeping baby and lots of daytime TV with a plentiful supply of packets of crisps. Within six weeks of his arrival, Sam had his first weekly social event written on the calendar. Baby massage.

It was going to solve everything apparently; at the end of the course I would have a contented baby! He would settle easily into a routine, would no longer suffer from trapped wind and would be put to sleep with a quick rub of his belly. I could hardly wait and so the first class came around. It started at 1pm. I started getting ready at 9am. Well, I started getting Sam and his vital supplies organised. I would just have to turn up in whatever clean clothes I could find with my hair quickly doused in dry shampoo! Cleaning of teeth could not necessarily be guaranteed! Whilst packing, every eventuality had to be accounted for. Projectile vomiting. Poo explosion. Weeing all over fresh set of clothes whilst been changed because of projectile vomiting/poo explosion. Volcanic ash cloud blowing in from Iceland. In addition to the week’s supply of clothes, nappies, baby wipes and muslin cloths, the baby suitcase was also loaded with toys (that he couldn’t even hold), a thermometer (a slight change in skin colour would need to be investigated for a major infant illness), tubes of Bonjela (even though he was months away from growing a tooth), cotton wool (just because) and enough loose change to park the car for three hours. I would, after all, need several journeys to transport all this equipment to the building before even contemplating entering with my baby!! And so started my Sherpa training which would prove so useful later on when the dancing started (see previous blogs). It would be like the puzzle involving the fox, chicken and grain crossing the river in the boat! The 7lb child in the 10 stone car seat would need to be carried by me at all times. By the time Abigail came around, I just plonked her anywhere and I even once left Joel behind at Sam’s nursery (in those days it wasn’t intentional!)

In a lather of sweat, we finally entered the room which was, of course, located up two flights of stairs in the attic space! There I was presented with other new mams, all with that familiar look – dazed, slightly happy but bloody knackered. But this was all going to change. This would be the miracle we all needed. Our babies would revel in the massage experience and we would be all become life long friends. Sam never left the car seat; he slept through the whole session and after six weeks, I never saw any of those women again!

To be continued.

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