Today we went to our first full Rhymetime session at the local library. It is a free group and, as it turns out, very well attended.
The leader was hugely enthusiastic, without being pushy or cringe-y, and made a real effort to remember the names of all the children – no mean feat when you realise there were more than 20 of them and they kept moving about!
There were two main reasons for wanting to attend:
- Meeting other parents and children – as an only child, we want Reindeer to have lots of time with other children so he learns how to interact with his peer group, not just adults
- Music – great for development but, sadly, I don’t know anywhere near enough songs so I’m trying hard to memorise them
I’m pleased to say we achieved both of those things today! Reindeer was agog at the music and the antics of the other children. An 11-month-old was sat on the lap of the lady next to me and they kept watching each other and reaching out to stroke each others arms and faces, which was really nice to see. One of the things we’ve learned over the last few weeks is that babies are totally absorbed by other babies!
When Reindeer was new to the world, my Dad told us that singing to him would really help him to feel comfortable with us, especially when he was crying, although Dad also warned us that it wouldn’t be a magic cure to stop him crying. Apparently Dad learned this when I was a baby; it would seem I was a nightmare baby who cried for as many hours as I could manage each day – much to the horror of my parents!
The fog of exhaustion which comes free with all newborns meant that, hard as I was trying to take my Dads’s advice, I just couldn’t remember any songs at all. Eventually, the words to one song finally surfaced. Unfortunately, that song was ‘Ten green bottles‘. Reindeer has heard this many hundreds of times now – thousands of bottles have been sacrificed to his pacification. But, the weird bit is, it has worked! By about two months this song worked wonders at calming him if he was upset.
As the fog receded a little, more songs came to me although they weren’t as effective. Then I heard a new (to me) song ‘Five little speckled frogs‘; this song is amazing – Reindeer loves it! It works even better than Ten Green Bottles (heresy!). Usually, by the time the first frog dives in the pool, I have his attention and he begins trying to calm down.
I love that Reindeer is so interested in music and that it has such a calming effect on him. He loves watching/listening to his dad play guitar, and is starting to show an interest in me playing the piano – even bashing the keys himself occasionally. I’m hoping that Rhymetime will expand my repertoire to songs that don’t just involve counting backwards but include stories and vivid pictures that will fire up his imagination.