I’m not one to jump at every single service, club and group out there for Baby. For one thing I find it hard to get dressed in time for most of them. But now that the Scottish summer holidays are finished and Big Sisters 1 and 2 are back at school, Baby and I are venturing into the wonderful world of maternity leave fun to see what we can find.
I only want to do one or two things a week so I settled on what I thought would be an easy one to start with: Baby Massage. That sounds nice and relaxing for both of us, I thought, it’s just up the road and it doesn’t start at the crack of dawn. Let’s give it a go.
Before the Baby Massage was an option I’d been popping along to the ‘Baby Club’, which provided taster sessions for various clubs and services available in our area like cooking for baby, language development, safety in the home. We’d even attended a First Aid session where the mature, male Glaswegian tutor kept giggling when he said the word ‘latex’ (referring to his Resusci Annie doll, thankfully) and then had me in tears (and I don’t think it was the hormones) when he told us the story about the day he saved the life of his neighbours’ baby daughter.
Anyway, at these sessions were two very capable mums with older babies who made me feel a little intimidated and welcome all at the same time. They really seemed to have it together and at the end of each session would swing their babies into a sling and were down the road before I’d even bundled mine into her pram. Each week they’d invite me along to the new café I’d been so desperately trying to check out, but with big sisters still on holiday and on a trial run in the house by themselves for an hour, I always wanted to get home sooner rather than later, just to be on the safe side. I was sure these mums thought I was making excuses.
So… when the option of baby massage came along, just before the beginning of term, I decided Baby Club would have to take a back seat.
Monday morning arrived, we got up, dressed, fed and out, across the park to the venue. We arrived bang on time, I parked the pram next to the many others already lined up in the lobby, took Baby out of the pram and went to the door – the windows of which were covered in posters…
You know that moment when you take a deep breath and go into an unknown room and all eyes turn to you and you wonder if you’re really late or whether you’ve got the wrong room? Well, that.
I was pretty certain I had the right room. There were about 12 other women all sitting on the floor with their babies lying in front of them on changing mats and towels.
“Sorry, am I late for the baby massage?” I said, knowing I wasn’t. “The letter said 11:45.”
“Well we like to be ready and start at 11:45” [Heavy sigh… baby mat thrown my way].
Gulp. I was in trouble and had the job of reassuring the other two mums who came in after me, receiving similar treatment.
We eventually settled into the class and before you knew it, Baby Girl was farting with sonorous prowess. She was definitely relaxing. I was just keeping my head down, swearing to make it on time… no, early next time.
Cut to next time and isn’t it always the case that the nappy needs changing just before you leave the house? As we finally left, clean bum-and-all, I picked up the pace. There was no way I was going to be late.
I slalomed through the dog muck – I’m not catching anything else on the buggy wheels again; zoomed past our wonderful library; saw the dog walker with seven crazy dogs, or was it eight – she always seems to have lost one? And I waved frantically to the confident sling mums on the other side of the road who were leaving the Baby Club.
“Hello!” I squeaked as my voice cracked, you know the way it does when you’re trying to be cool, but your voice box lets you down, “Off to massage class!”
I parked up the buggy – more space this time. Yessss! And entered a room with a choice of mats and just a few mums. I feel very smug, but can hardly breathe. Baby’s smiling and cooing, but I can feel my heart in my ears. The scary lady isn’t so scary this time and brings us all a cup of cold water. Phew!
The massage began and Baby Girl was loving it. We got as far as the legs and she wanted a feed. Fair enough. She ate as her eyes rolled and I watched as the other babies and the demonstration-dolly got their tummy and arms smoothed and soothed.
The walk home across the park was less of a power walk, more a relaxing stroll and when we got home I crashed on the sofa, wondering if I could ever keep this up. Then it struck me. This is when I get to relax. Baby Girl had dropped off in her pram and boy did she sleep and sleep after we got in. She was away in the land of nod for a good 3 hours and I had a very chilled afternoon. It was utter bliss and I felt the tiredness ebb away. I even got a cup of tea at the right temperature and as I sipped I thought… maybe I will go back next week after all.