The Answer

Have you ever heard the saying Playgroup will be the answer to all your problems? No? Neither have I, honestly, but I am sure it must be an actual saying since everyone seems to want to tell me that going to Playgroup will be wonderful and will, somehow, offer me everything I need.

Needless to say, I have been skeptical. Having worked in this area, I have yet to see this amazing, problem-solving magic. Maybe it’s not the actual Playgroup that provides the answers, but a Playgroup Genie?

So, this morning, after yet another ‘discussion’ surrounding support/moving/playgroup/friends/blahblahblah with James last night, I decided to phone and enquire about one of the groups that runs every second Tuesday. May as well look for this Genie that’s going to make everything so much better, right? I am informed that the group does run today (crap) and I am welcome to attend (double crap).

With half an hour before it started, I had enough time to get out the door, buy morning tea to take and get there on time. Did I want to go? No, not really. Still, even with masses of nervous butterflies fluttering about in my tummy I decided to just do it. I mean, there’s a Genie at the end of this rainbow, right? And I do want what that Genie has to offer.

So, we head out the door. Both girls look cute as buttons, especially Kahlei in her new cow suit:

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My first mistake was morning tea. I decided, since I was going to have to do a dash to the shop to do the complete opposite of the first morning tea I took to the last group I attended. To which I took cut up fruit, plain crackers and some cheese – things Ellie would normally be having for morning tea, but it didn’t really go down well. So, this time I buy a cake and some donuts.

I walk into the pink tinged room, butterflies madly trying to fly out of my stomach now, and the first thing I see isn’t the room full of immaculately dressed women staring at me but the counter full of lovely healthy snacks and not an ounce of sugar. I wouldn’t be surprised if my groan was an audible one at that moment in time… I put down my sinful offering and turn to face what I had hoped would be friendly faces.

Let’s just say they were curious faces. Not friendly, not quite hostile but most definitely thinking “What are you doing here?” I have never been so painfully aware of my comfortable tracksuit pants in my life. Seriously, what was I thinking? And no make up? For shame!

I swallow my fear apprehension and am introduced. Ellie happily finds a toy to play with and the fun begins. I am ushered into a seat by what can only be the Queen Bee and am quickly surrounded by her minions. Waving a hand in the direction of the child she just introduced as hers, Queen Bee begins to tell me about Johnny. I relax a little, because – let’s face it, talking about my kids is something I can do.

Turns out Johnny is one gifted kid. He has the highest IQ of any child his mother has ever met. The minions cluck in agreement. Johnny is also one busy 2 year old boy. He attends swimming once a week – twice a week in warmer months – and secretly Queen Bee thinks she might just have an Ian Thorpe on her hands. He attends music lessons, only piano for now, does kinder-gym, goes to preschool one day a week and will soon be enrolling in an art class. I am listening to all this thinking I didn’t even know you could do all this in our little area! and was caught off guard when Queen Bee turned her gaze from her son (who really was quite adorable) to me and asked innocently “What do your girls do?”

Um?

Suddenly, a few minions started to flit away. I suppose ‘nothing’ was the wrong answer. In my defense, I have wanted to take Ellie to swimming lessons but James doesn’t think they’re really helpful until later. I mean, Ellie plays at the playground and in the backyard (kinder-gym), shakes rice filled containers and beats on ice cream tubs and pots and pans as well as playing real instruments when we visit Grandpa (music lessons) and creates beautiful pictures with paints we have made ourselves (art classes). I didn’t think she was missing out.

Queen Bee changes her tact and asks what I plan to do for Ellie’s 2nd birthday (which is just over 3 months away!). I explain our decision to simply have my family come the weekend after and do something nice together before going home to have cake. I was practically mumbling the details (or lack-there-of) as I could feel every eye boring into me. Johnny had a pool party. I’m not even sure how a 2 year old has a pool party.

At this point my gorgeous little Moo Cow starts grizzling and I take the opportunity to RUN. I left with Ellie crying, but I bribed her with a donut, thinking ‘Could I BE a worse Mum than I am at this very moment?’ My poor children, living such sheltered and uneventful lives, having ho-hum birthday parties and occasionally eating sweets…

I was still feeling pretty crap after both girls had a nap. The Genie I had been looking for hadn’t appeared to help me out, instead I was left feeling  judged, embarrassed and upset.

IMG_7307Luckily, my gorgeous girls know how to cheer their Mummy up. We went outside for Kahlei to have her first rusk (to stop her gnawing Daddy’s finger off), Ellie had to have one, too (of course) and they were just too cute.

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Look at that! The kid has no teeth but she sure did a good job!!

So, Playgroup B didn’t give me the answers to my problems. I am thinking I could probably go through the whole alphabet and not find the support and friendship people think I should find at Playgroup. The thing is people who tell me I should go have either never been to one or went to one with friends from their church/school/club. To really fit in you have to be more of a local than I will ever be here. I remember one lovely old man who used to come into the NRMA frequently asking me how long I had been in town. When I replied he patted my hand and said “Only 50 more years and you’ll be a local.” I laughed.

I’m no longer laughing.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Beckeroo,
    The only real mum seems to have left the room.The playgroup thing may or may not be the answer,but if you keep looking you may find one that has one nice mum and kids, and really one good friend is far more important than a room full of overdressed show ponies who measure success by how big a social event they can arrange or the somewhat suspect yardstick of IQ ratings and sporting prowess.So this one did not work out keep looking and investigating(think of it as research)this and other avenues.
    I know that If I was in your position I would feel the same after all you must get your aversion to crowds from somewhere .I know people think I don't like people,thats not true I love people I just find it hard to be with them .However there are times our responsibility for the ones we love dictates we do things that are difficult and that includes searching for ways to help our little ones learn to interact with others.So the search for a playgroup with real mothers and normal children continues.The playgroups that haven't got to know you well don't know what a class act they have let slip through thier fingers.
    Love you always
    Dadderoo and Pa

  2. I totally hear you on the playgroup thing!
    I know I should get out and mix a bit and I know the kids need to mix with other but I am soooo not a playgroup mum. I tried but I made the mistake of thinking playgroup was about the kids playing, not the mothers and fashion.
    If you're ever in my area you're more than welcome to pop in and we'll have our own playgroup. You can wear your tracky dacks, I'll probably be wearing my brother's pjs 🙂

  3. My advice to you is for you to take action of your own, and create your own "playgroup". You only need one other mum!! Put an ad in the local paper, or on facebook

    "Capable, but a little bit shy and retiring, mother would like to extend an invitation to other shy and retiring mothers to join me at the park for a morning of enjoyment and fun.

    No judgements given, no side remarks made, just time spent with each other and the kids to talk and get some adult conversation"

    I'm sure that that would bring someone of a like mind to spend some time with you.

    I just think that you are going to have to go out there and create what it is you want – because you are the best!!!

    Love you

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