Tuesday 7 September 2010

Toddler Group

Tuesday 13th July

I took Big Sister to ‘Rhyme Time, a themed art/craft and music group for pre-schoolers at Broxbourne Parish Centre’ (the church hall behind the church). On my way I pointed out the tall holly hedge surrounding the vicarage.
“This plant is called holly”.
Big sister finds this peculiar.
“That’s funny that bush is called holly!” she giggles.
When we arrive at the church hall she takes off her sandals and runs about on the wooden floor, squealing and jumping from circular mat to mat, like a frog on primary coloured lily pads. I am The New Girl. The other ten mothers all know each other and come every week. We are told to select which hexagonal knee-high table we’d like to sit at. This one if you want to make a sheep and that one if you want to make a pig. My daughter wants to make a pig and we choose our plastic chairs and make an excellent pig out of a milk bottle and bits of pink felt.
“Our theme is Creation at the moment, so it’s a different animal every week. Last week it was bats.”
After arts and crafts we make our way to the coloured lily pad floor mats and rhyme time kicks off with the popular crowd-pleaser ‘Sleeping Bunnies’. If you’ve never seen this enacted, a room full of toddlers sleeping quietly like bunnies on the floor, and then all jumping up to hop like excited jumping bunnies is just the cutest thing. Then we move on to a bunch of songs I’ve never heard before, all with a religious animal theme. There was something about the cow says ‘I love you Lord’ by saying ‘moo’, and the horse and the pig and so on express their devotion, each in their own way.
These songs are all accompanied by sign language actions and I wonder how many of the mums in the room are Christian believers, and how many just come for the children’s’ entertainment.
At snack time the kids get juice and fruit and the mums get coffee and chocolate biscuits. A friendly mum approaches The New Girl to ask if I live locally. This always leads to me explaining and describing our lifestyle to a surprised and curious person.
“Really? And how often do you move? It must be lovely!”
Then she threw an FAQ at me.
“So, do you think you will get a house one day?”
“ Yes, maybe.” I replied. “We know when Big Sister is school age we’ll have to stay in one area, and maybe get a mooring. But we sometimes think, if you’re going to stay in one place, you know, on a mooring, you might as well be in a house.”
The organiser asks, will I be coming next week for the teddy bear’s picnic? Everyone’s bringing something different so I should put my name next to something on the list. Iced Gems and Tangerines are still available.
“ It really depends where we are moored, I mean how close I am to a station. I’ll have to look at the buses and see if I can get here.”
The Rhyme Time session ends with twinkly music gently praising the love of God underneath the ethereal wafting of a parachute. It’s a beautiful chill out, like the Whirl-y-Gig in Shoreditch Town Hall in 1993.

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