Wednesday, 3 December 2008

It's Rhythm Time

Jamie's had a bit of a shock.

After last week, when he was subjected to a bus load of mums and screaming babies raiding his home, today he suffered a potentially even more damaging emotional experience: Vanessa took him to his first music class - Rhythm Time.

So, what is Rhythm Time, I hear you cry?

Well, here's how the organisers describe it on their website -

"Developing confidence, creativity and coordination should start from an early age and the age range for Rhythm Time baby classes is from birth to 15 months.

Music is fundamental to every baby's development and our baby classes are designed specifically to help this process.

Babies and young children really enjoy being part of a group and mixing with others is essential to a baby's growth and development. When mother and baby are together in the class it helps with bonding and the group environment enhances the experience for the parents!

The content of our classes for babies up to 15 months is as follows:
Singing - to help language development. All children sing before they learn to talk
Dancing - to help eye tracking, balance and spatial awareness
Exercise - to help with muscle development and to gain more control over movement
Massage - to help with bonding, relaxation and circulation
Exploration - to help with hand eye coordination, develop small motor skills and to encourage speech development
Social - to help parents and children create new friendships."

So now you know.

With regard to what happened today, I must stress that what I'm about to tell you has been forced out of Vanessa herself and is therefore undoubtedly watered down and much less weird than what actually took place - but here's what I know.

There were nine mums present in all, together with their nine sprogs. And then there was The Leader, resplendent in her bright orange tee shirt.

The group began with a song which included lines such as, "let's say hello to all our friends," and, "hello to Jamie, he is new." Good start.

Then a pink sheet was produced and held by all the mums whilst the babies sat or lay in the middle. The babies were then covered en masse by this piece of material, whilst the mums sang with mocked surprise, "where have all the babies gone?"

Those babies who could crawl out then did so whilst the others lay helpless on their backs like beetles until the mums lifted the sheet and, guess what? They were still there!!! Brilliant.

Next, all babies safely back in their mothers' arms, everyone got into a circle and sang "Let It Snow," whilst The Leader walked around the group blowing bubbles from a plastic container.

Then, as a finale, the babies split into two groups. The first group got into the middle and were given a drum each; the rest were handed a selection of percussion instruments including a tambourine, a triangle and - Jamie's choice - a symbol. Each group was then invited to play their drums or instruments in support of Shakin' Stevens popular hit, "Merry Christmas Everyone," which was blaring in the background. The groups then swapped roles with the drum section becoming the mixed percussion section and vice versa.

Then everyone put their hats and coats on and went home.

Today's session was a free trial so Jamie could decide if he liked it and The Leader could decide if she liked him. I think Jamie was too traumatised afterwards to offer a proper opinion but she was apparently happy with him so, by default, our boy is now booked in to attend 12 more weeks of Rhythm Time starting in January.

And if you think for even a second that I'm going to miss the opportunity to personally accompany him to at least one of these sessions, then you clearly don't know me at all. I genuinely don't think I've looked forward to anything as much in my life. I only hope I can hold myself together for long enough to avoid Jamie getting barred.

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