Category Archives: Baby fun

I am my mother afterall…

I’ve always thought that much as we resist, we are genetically programmed to turn into our parents at some point. My lovely friend Jo Avery sums it up quite nicely on her blog.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, I am my mother after all.
The final realisation hit me as I bit down into my crackerbreads and light cheese spread that I can hide from it no more. I am my mother.
I have become a 1976 housewife.
I ride to school on my bicycle with a basket on the front. Just like my Mum.
I eat two crackerbread’s for lunch whilst watching Australian soaps. Just like my Mum. Only she watched The Sullivans and Sons and Daughters. I watch Neighbours and Home & Away.
I help out at my children’s school listening to children read. Just like my Mum.
I tell my children to not sit on public toilets. Just like my Mum.
I wipe muckiness off their faces with my own spit. Just like my Mum.
I go to coffee mornings whilst the kids are at school. Just like my Mum.
I buy all my school uniform from M&S because, ‘it washes well.’ Just like my Mum.
I don’t like going out on Saturday nights anymore. I used to chastise my Mum for this as a teenager, seeing it as a sure sign of having no life. Now I am to be found with a cup of tea (not even alcohol) on the sofa watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night. Just like my Mum.

God help my other half…

Swim Baby Swim

Being a pretty useless swimmer myself, I was keen to get Fred into the pool as soon as possible to ensure that he is confident and capable in water. I also thought that after spending 9 months in the womb, he’d probably be fairly at home there.

We began lessons when he was 4 months old and haven’t really looked back. Such is his excitement, that even before we’re in the pool his legs are kicking in anticipation and that’s pretty much how it continues throughout the lesson (which is lucky!)

We’ve recently joined London Baby Swim in Wandsworth, which I’d highly recommend. It’s in a purpose built unit, so there’s loads of space. As the focus is on babies and toddlers, the changing rooms are set up with baby changing mats and a playpen, plus there are high chairs in the reception area. The facilities are also kept really clean and the water temperature is warmer than a usual pool, so very baby friendly. In term’s of the lessons, there’s a really nice balance between helping the babies to learn some essential skills and having fun in the water.

We’re now reaching 6 months of swimming lesson, so along the way I’ve picked up some top tips on how to make the most of the experience. I hope that you find them useful.

  • Be organised about finding lessons – in London, baby swimming lessons tend to get booked up fairly quickly, particularly for the more popular weekend slots, so sign up to newsletters from pools that you like the look of, which means that you can book as soon as that term’s lessons become available.
  • Give yourself plenty of time – getting yourself and baby changed often takes even longer than the actual swimming.
  • Make sure that your baby is well rested before the lessons – a cranky baby is more likely to be overwhelmed by the experience, which can mean tears in the pool.
  • Double wrap your baby’s bottom – your cute little floater doesn’t want to be the generator of any floaters in the pool, with some pools now insisting that you use both a swimming nappy and Happy Nappy swimming trunks.
  • Plan your post lesson escape – have everything that you need to get baby warm and changed at the top of your bag, as it saves you having to scrabble around after the lesson.
  • Take a drink and snacks for your baby to have after the lesson – the lessons might only be 30 minutes long, but it’s both mentally and physically tiring for them.

Baby Soft Play Fun At the National Army Museum

A few years ago, a friend of mine was in the process of buying a new house and as she listed some of it’s assets, high up the list was the soft play area for children located just 5 minutes away. Pre-baby, soft play was a world that I’d never really ventured into and not too surprisingly, wasn’t a big interest of mine! It wasn’t a widely available activity when I was growing up, although I do vaguely remember the ball pool at Blackpool Pleasure Beach… I was an extra tall 9 year old that exceeded the height limit, so much to my dismay I wasn’t allowed to enter. I stood on the edge watching my little sister, ‘our Nic’ have all of the fun. Yes, soft play holds some tough memories for me, although I think I’ve fully recovered from this hard lesson in life now. Anyway, moving on…

With little Fred in tow, I can now see the benefit of having a good soft play area nearby and am even becoming quite well versed on what’s hot and what’s not in the world of soft play fun! Having attended a couple of the big commercial offerings, I can report back that their scale can be a little overwhelming. They often seem to be in purpose built warehouses, which doesn’t help the acoustics when you’ve got 200 kids screaming noisily with excitement. Perhaps these larger spaces will come into their own when Fred’s a bit bigger and I can leave him to play whilst I escape to the cafe, but for the moment I just want something a bit, err ……calmer?… more chilled?

A tip off from a friend pointed me in the direction of the National Army Museum Kids Zone which I have since visited with Fred. It’s suitable for children from 0-8 years and has lots of different zones: climbing frames, a dedicated soft-play space for babies, arts and crafts, dressing-up costumes, books, interactive toys and panels. Plus, it is a far, far more calming space than some of the other soft play spaces, so is great for younger ones.

I’m sure that this is largely attributed to the ticketing system which they run, where you book your preferred time-slot online before you arrive – very handy. This keeps the number of children to a manageable level, which is important because it isn’t a huge space. The staff are absolutely lovely, and between each session, they run a 10 minute break for a quick tidy up which means that whatever time of day you go, it’s tidy, clean and generally feels well nurtured and looked after.

To top it all, the entry price is just £2.50, which is an absolute bargain for central London and should appeal to all thrifty Baby Jumblers! I can highly recommend it for a lovely outing for you and your baby.

To read a bit more about soft play for babies, and to find some other ideas for activities, here are some links that I found useful:

Benefits of soft play areas
UNICEF’s Early Child Development Kit (loads of good ideas and activities)
How to Stimulate a Child’s Mind, Michael Meyerhoff