Friday, 22 January 2010

Toddler Groups

This week, I made a return visit to one of the toddler playgroups that I used to visit whilst I was a full time house dad. It was really nice seeing a few familiar faces and odd-yet-obvious to see that their babies are now walking and asserting themselves; the transition from baby to toddler is such a fascinating one and happens all too quickly.

Making the return visit reminded me of when I first took the reigns of being a full time house dad.

  • Feeding - I can handle it
  • Sleep deprivation - I'll get used to it
  • Reading stories - a good excuse to try out silly voices
  • Nappy changing - I can do it with my eyes closed (although not recommended)
It was going to playgroups that gave me the heebie jeebies, having to enter into the realm of mothers. Man alive, you might as well ask me to walk through the bra and knicker department of M&S. It's just not cricket.

Luckily for me, I was never treated as an interloper, just as A.N.Other parent. This was the case for all the groups I went to, and I think I went to them all.

This underlines one of my favourite facets of The Shire, in that it is a friendly little place. Recently, I spoke to a friend whose son lives in leafy St Margarets, near Richmond and is doing the house dad thing and going to playgroups, just as I did. He's been going for several months and the mums have absolutely nothing to do with him. We are not just talking clique city, we are talking castles with battlements and boiling hot oil teetering over the parapets. He doesn't have LOVE and HATE tattooed on his knuckles, nor does he stare at people in a Hannibal Lecter way. He's a regular guy who wants to be proactive in his son's upbringing. It's so very sad.


Plummy Mummy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plummy Mummy said...

Very sad indeed.
I must admit I have not found every group in Plumstead to be friendly - for e.g. the Slade one on tuesday which I now avoid. Also some groups are dominated by childminders and they are not always friendly to parents...I wonder if that's what has happened to your friend's son.
I have however, luckily found a few good ones and you are right the people there are friendly. Once in a while a dad turns up, is treated as any other parent and it's great for the kids to see that.
I noted that you use the term "realm of mothers" - my mother in law says her husband never took her kids out anywhere on his own. It's good that the likes of you and your friend's son are actively involved in your children's lives.
Would love to hear a recording of your funny voices! I love listening into Mr PM reading stories to our tot.

Anonymous said...

i'm planning on starting a new parent-baby/toddler group, hopefully at a venue right next to the common. there are so many new parents in the immediate vicinity and it would be ideal for a group to start that was not biased towards mothers, but rather more inclusive and welcoming to both mothers and fathers coming along with their little one(s). i'll keep you all posted.

Plummy Mummy said...

Anon - that's great news. If you want anyone to come along to sing nursery rhymes, let me know as I really miss doing that since we don't go to stay and play so much now (tot is in nursery).

Doctor Pangloss said...

Anon, this sounds great. I'd like to say that in my humble opinion), what is really needed in this area is a playgroup that caters for the afternoons as they are pretty much all morning groups at the moment.

I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

I hear that the Bopping Bunnies lady is going to be starting a group in Plumstead soon as they see that the groups in Blackheath/Greenwich are saturated and the one in Charlton has also been really well attended.
There are a number of groups which I go to that are well attended. I always see a Dad at the rhyme time at the Slade nursery (and Jesus I once had the misfortune of going to the Slade play and stay..) and there are also always Dads at Toddlers World too. I recently got a list from Sure Start of things in the area and there are a lot of new ventures happening for toddlers and babies, especially at the new centre in Purret Road.
Nearly every parent I have met has been friendly enough. Cant say I would want to be friends with them all but I have always had a smile and said hello to people, familiar faces or not. Hurrah the shire.