In my mission to try out all of the local baby and mum classes and events I took Phoenix for a trial at Gymboree. Those not familiar, Gymboree is a chain of baby/toddler centres across the UK who host different age based play classes.
We went to the ‘baby sensory play class’ and I think it’s fair to say we won’t be signing up as neither of us seemed to have a great time! The concept is good; a group of babies and mums singing and using different toys, but in reality I felt like I was in a scene from the PlayDays crossed with The Wicker Man. There was lots of flailing around silk scarves and chanting sweet but slightly ‘horror film-esque’ songs. Phoenix was quite clearly way too young for this kind of thing and everyone smiled sweetly at me but you could see in their eyes they were thinking ‘are you mental bringing a 7 week old here‘. It didn’t really help when at the start of the session the play leader said to me ‘sometimes the really little ones get a bit frightened, so feel free to stop if he gets upset’ to which I replied as a joke, ‘gosh, what are you going to do to him?!’…..total tumble weed silence and confirmation amongst the other mums that yes, I clearly was mental.
As well as the scarf performance there was also ringing bells, a massive parachute game and some sort of song about a bicycle. It was all a bit much for me and for Phoenix and he decided that the best place to watch all this commotion would be from my breast, so we didn’t actually get to do much of the class. When we returned to the circle, to my utmost horror there were what seemed like thousands of scary clown hand puppets everywhere. Everyone then proceeded to dance the clowns up and down the babies bodies and wave them in front of their faces. I HATE clowns. In fact it’s always creeped me out that Ronald McDonald has a kids’ charity called Ronald’s house – if I needed help the last place I’d go would be to his house.
Anyway the clowns were enough to finish me off. Gymboree is definitely not for me, although maybe I’ll give it another try when he’s a bit older I know lots of mums rate it. I could also see that lots of the babies seemed to be enjoying it, but to be honest who knows if they were laughing with us or at us.
The best bit in the class was at the end when the Gymboree woman blew bubbles over all over us. I don’t know if they have some kind of bubble secret recipe but these bubbles did not pop! They were landing all over the carpet and didn’t pop. I think I spent way too much time thinking about it, but it was amazing.
Oh, and if you are going to one of these things with your baby do not wear a short skirt, even if it’s really hot. You’ll need to sit in positions which are not compatible with mini skirt attire. I think the mum opposite me wanted to offer me one of those floaty scarfs after giving her an eye full.