We graduated from baby sensory!

baby sensory graduate!

We’ve been going to baby sensory classes for a few months, and we graduated last week!

Baby sensory graduate!

It’s appropriate that she’s crying in the graduation picture, as she mostly cried her way through the course. I think it was really good for us both, though.

We started going when she was just eight weeks old, and it’s seen us through to sixteen weeks. I’m not sure if the baby liked it, but I did!

It’s been really useful. During that time, she developed a pretty serious stranger anxiety, so being forced to get out at least once a week and be around people who weren’t me, Daddy or Nana was good for her.

And, as it’s been winter, it’s been good to get me out of the house as well!

We’ve been really lucky in that the class was within walking distance of our house, so I’d bundle us up in the stretchy wrap and we’d walk down after lunch on Wednesdays.

Generally, we spend a lot of time just the two of us. Initially, she was frightened of seeing so many people. And other babies! She’d never met other babies before.

And I didn’t know any other local mums. So it was lovely to get chance to talk to people with tiny babies.

But it was the actual baby sensory aspect that was most interesting. Some of the things we played with included:

  • Bubbles! She loves bubbles, it turns out. We now do bubble time at home.
  • Lights. She loves lights at home. One of her favourite toys is a string of fairy lights. But she took real issue with the lights at baby sensory class! I think it might be partly due to the fact that the lights were turned off before the fibre optic or other fun lights came out, and she went through a phase of being afraid of the dark.
  • Baby massage. For some reason, always makes her cry in class. She likes it at home.
  • Songs. These were a mixed bag. Some she loves and some made her wail. She did consistently hate the applause at the end of each song though.
  • Bells and other ways to make music. She’d rather wail and scream. I think the environment was too noisy for her.
  • Puppets. She liked these.
  • Fun things to touch. Feathers, ribbons, etc. This was getting a bit risky by the end as everything goes in her mouth now!

By the end of the sessions, she was starting to enjoy herself a lot more.

In the first few classes, we had to spend most of the time feeding to calm her down. I don’t think we fed once in the last two classes!

She likes things that are familiar to her. If the song is The Wheels on the Bus, then she was happy. If it was something she didn’t know, it was scarier. If she’d seen it at home first, like bubbles, she could deal with it better in a strange environment.

In general, we enjoyed the classes – and even if the baby didn’t, I think it was important that I kept on dragging her out to them!

We’ve started Sing and Sign classes as well now, so that’ll busy up two days of the week. We’re going through the same issues of needing to comfort feed throughout Sing and Sign, but I’m hopeful that she’ll feel better about them soon.

Have you taken baby sensory classes? What did you think?

International Women’s Day 2018

international women's day

Happy international women’s day!

international women's day

Before the baby was born, I told everyone I didn’t mind whether we had a boy or a girl.

I lied.

I wanted a girl desperately.

Throughout the tough pregnancy, I thought to myself that if we had a girl, I could be happy being done. If we had a boy, I might have tried to put myself through it again to get a daughter.

The need to have a daughter was strange. I know I would have loved a son. We had a boy’s name chosen from really early in pregnancy, and I could almost picture my little Toby. He would have been wonderful, and I’d have loved him just as fiercely as I love my baby Yaya.

I have lots of male friends, I like lots of men (my husband and dad are two of my favourite people!), I’m closest to my little boy bunny… But I am so glad she is a girl.

I feel sort of uncomfortable admitting it. (I promise, it’s not to do with the clothes!)

Part of it is that I know girls. I went to a girls’ school. From the ages of 11-18, I didn’t interact with boys. They’re almost like an alien species to me. Meeting boys when I went to university was weird. I feel like I know a huge range of different women, with different interests and personalities, whereas I don’t have that range with men.

My daughter might want to take ballet classes or beg for a pony. She might join the army and wear exclusively male clothes. I know women who do all of those things.

Life is a bit easier for a masculine woman than a feminine man. If she wants to be a racing driver or a doctor or a linguist or a nursery school teacher, people won’t judge her. If she wants to wear skirts or Doc Martens, she can.

I’m not ultra feminine. Most days I don’t wear makeup. I have some kind of genetic inability to do anything good with my hair. I love Formula 1. My housekeeping skills are not great. But I also love ballet and nail polish and films with Sandra Bullock. I have close female friendships. I’m a nurturer.

At my school, we were taught that we could do anything. (We were also taught that we should do everything, which is a bit more problematic. That’s a thought for another day.) I am excited to pass this lesson on to my daughter.

There are so many options open to her.

Women are strong. I grew her inside me – how amazing is that? Being pregnant made me appreciate my lineage as a woman. I felt connected to all of the women that had gone before me. Whether or not she chooses to have children herself, that potential is there for her.

I’m looking forward to sharing stories of other strong women with her. Her name has been shared by empresses and saints. I hope she knows that I think she has a great future ahead of her.

Right now, at four months old, she has such a strong personality. I know she’s so young, but she’s so vocal and determined. While I’ve been writing this post, she’s used her head to rotate herself 180 degrees in her play gym!

I’m really excited to raise this little woman.