For a very little person, the Little Mister has an incredible social life.
His week kicks off with Monday morning coffee group. He’s pretty taken with some of the other mums and babies in the group, but the real highlight for him is staring into the fish tank at the Wellington Zoo cafe where we meet. Maybe it’s the flourescent light that’s so appealing because the fish are pretty tiny and slow moving.
Tuesdays see us go to the Space course at Play Centre. Again, he’s starting to get into watching the other babies there, and it’s hard to believe we are almost at the end of our second term of the programme. Milin slept through most of the first term though, so in a way he’s really only perhaps nearing the end of term one. He’s starting to get into the songs, but I don’t think he’s figured out that some are the same every week.
Our slow winter mornings, where as much time is spent under the duvets as possible, mean getting to story time at Newtown Library on Wednesdays can be a struggle. But when we do, the Little Mister is one happy chappy. Apart from hearing someone else read him a stories, in a far more riveting manner than mama, Milin loves listening to Stu playing the ukelele at the end of the session. I simply cannot compete.
Thursdays at the moment usually involve playdates, although next month we will be adding Baby Sensory to the diary. After such a busy week, perhaps it is no wonder that come Friday, it takes everything I have to get us both up, dressed and fed before I head off to work just after noon.
When he was even littler, and we first started venturing to these various baby clubs, it’s fair to say I viewed them with something close to disdain. I had no desire to learn the words to Old MacDonald, or spend each morning talking about how often he was feeding. That changed quickly though, and now, each morning, I am looking forward to the next engagement on Milin’s busy social calendar.
The play dates, library sessions and music classes aren’t just about Milin. Of course, they are mainly about keeping him entertained – though while I appreciate that babies need to be stimulated I doubt waving finger puppets at a five month old is going to turn him into a genius later in life. But more than that – they are about me.
Without these activities, not only would Milin get so bored of me trying to entertain him with the same activities on the same play mat, in the same room of the house, but I too would likely go more than a little crazy.
But not only are they a way for me to entertain the Little Mister, they are also a constant source of support. My most-loved parents and sister are so far away. But here, thanks to Milin’s various social activities, I have found myself surrounded by the most amazing women. Five months ago, we didn’t know each other and many of us had little in common.
But babies are true levellers. As new mothers, we now share tips, recount disasters, offer advice, sympathise over sleeping patterns, and we listen and we laugh. Sometimes it’s over the phone, sometimes it’s over a coffee, sometimes it’s over the internet, sometimes it’s while feeding a baby or changing a nappy – it doesn’t matter. We are all grappling with trying to do our best for our little ones, and that has brought us together. And now that I’m on my sixth straight week of being woken every two hours at night, by a baby who still refuses solids and formula, I’m so glad I didn’t turn my back on baby club.