Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Class action

The Littleboys and I have resigned from Rabbit Rhymes – although I’d prefer to think of it as Constructive Dismissal.

Let me explain. The toddler music class had always been something of a trying experience for me (see the first ever entry on this blog), but we persisted with it as Littleboy 1 seemed to enjoy it. True, he was never one for sitting still for longer than about six seconds, preferring careering around the room to yet another rendition of The Wheels on the Bus. But he loved banging the instruments – I’ll never forget the joy on his face the day he found the cymbal – plus the marching around the room to the Grand Old Duke of York.

I’d always had a feeling the Rabbit Rhymes Teacher disapproved slightly of his inability to sit quietly, gritting her teeth despite her faux-sympathetic protestations that ‘it’s just fine’. But, just as he was becoming slightly more well-behaved, Littleboy 2 started to move. No longer sitting sweetly on my lap and shaking a rattle, he was off - crawling in one direction (usually towards the tape recorder, on a mission to turn the music off) as his brother headed in the other.

As the weeks rolled by, the Rabbit Rhymes Teacher directed more and more frantic looks at the Littleboys and their hapless mother. Although not always the naughtiest children in the class, the fact that they were a double act seemed to heighten the impact of their antics.

Eventually she took me aside at the end of the class and asked whether there was ‘someone’ that could come along with me to supervise Littleboy 2, as she felt it was disturbing Littleboy 1’s ‘progress’. By this, I assume she meant a Nanny or Au Pair. I replied that no, actually, there wasn’t – and, feeling like a naughty schoolgirl, silently vowed never to darken Rabbit Rhymes’ doors again.

What was I meant to do – hire a Nanny for the day to help me round up my kids at a half hour music class? Well, obviously – round here, if you’ve got a problem, throw money at it. Baby waking at night? Get a maternity nurse in. Kids won’t eat vegetables? – there’s a local class for that. (We went to it once, you pay about £10 a week for the kids to sing songs about beetroots and stick their fingers in tomatoes.) Kids misbehaving at a toddler group? Hire some help…..

So now we have a dilemma: do we ‘do’ another class? There are plenty to choose from, as a quick flick through a local parenting mag reveals. As well as all manner of music, gym and art classes for toddlers, you can take your tot to Mandarin (‘Learning Chinese the FUN way’ promises the ad). Or you could do Latino Bambino (‘dancing with your baby to Latin Rhythms’). For the new mother, there is Buggyfit (running around the Common with your pram led by some military fitness instructor), baby massage and the worrying-sounding ‘cranial osteopathy’ (cures colic, apparently...if only).

Or, we could just ‘do’ our usual combination of playground, scooting round the Bandstand and an apple juice in the Café on the Common. It’s free, the Littleboys enjoy it and we don’t have to deal with patronising class teachers or snooty fellow-parents. It's tempting. Perhaps I'll even package this three hour activity and market it to fellow parents.......

Recently I bumped into another mum from Rabbit Rhymes who tells me that the class this term is much diminished. It turns out that we are not the only family to have resigned. Strangely enough, the ones who have gone are apparently some of the other parents of 'lively' children. And, of the few that are left, at least one family is about to move out of London, her City husband having lost his job. Something tells me that the Credit Crunch isn’t just going to affect house prices in Nappy Valley. Could the axe be about to fall on Rabbit?


Holly said...

Rabbit Rhymes sounds like monkey music – which was over-priced and was never convinced how much joseph got out of it – but god, how much I miss it living in the depths of Exmoor. Our options on this grey, rainy day are to visit the post office opposite (run by an exceptionally grumpy couple) or go to the Rural Life museum which adjoins our house (run by the village matriarch who scares the pants off me and smiles tightly as joseph thunders up and down the room and lifts the dolly out of her Victorian crib). Come back monkey music, all is forgiven!

valley girl said...

I couldn't possibly comment on whether Rabbit Rhymes is Monkey Music!
In theory I think toddler music is a good thing - but it really depends on how relaxed the class leader is....
Maybe ours was relaxed until the Littleboys came along.

Iota said...

Cranial osteopathy, actually, is a life-saver... but I agree is sounds pretty spooky.