The cutest one has just clocked over 10 months on this wonderful planet. Time has flown by and we've watched our little girl grow from a tiny little baby to being a 'bugger-crawling-I-can-do-this-walking-thing-as-long-as-I-hold-onto-the-couch', cheeky little mouse. She's pulling things off the couch or the coffee table, and the boy is finally starting to learn that lego and action figures can't be within arms reach of the little tyke because when they are retrieved they are covered in saliva.
Last week was a week of firsts for the mouse. She cut her first tooth, she stood unsupported for the first time and she had her first surgery. By the way, everything is fine thus far. She doesn't care about her finger in the slightest, although she just loves playing the game 'pull-the-sock-off-my-bandage-just-to-shit-Dad'. Come to think of it, she's an independent little thing. Not headstrong so much, but a willing explorer, curious about everything and happy to wander around the house looking for ways to cause mischief. Not unlike myself really.
About a month or so ago, with head hung low and fair few mumblings and grumblings, I skulked to the local library after Lord Vader had informed me that it had weekly nursery rhyme sessions for little ones. She of course suggested, in the only way a Sith Lord knows, that I take the cutest one because she would enjoy it and it was important for her to interact with other little ones.
I suppose I've kept the cutest one all to myself really. Perhaps it was the novelty of being a fulltime parent, perhaps its because I'm rather shy and really hate being out of my comfort zone, for example meeting new people, at a library, who know how to sing, who know nursery rhymes, who know what they're doing and won't feel like complete gits when partaking in the singing of the nursery rhymes. Or perhaps its a little of column a and a little of column b.
So selfish me had to go somewhere I didn't want to go, to be with people I didn't want to be with, all for the cutest one's development. Sigh.
I hated it. I felt like a fish out of water, probably because I was. I tried to do all the right things, you know, like sing the real words, and dance, yes dance, and smile and make small talk. But it churned me up inside. I felt so intimidated by these bright, bubbly women who happily and without a self concious bone in their bodies would gaily sing and dance and manage not to look at me in a condescending way as I failed repeatedly to do anything right. I can't sing. I'm dreadful, an out of tune bear with a sore throat and no lozenge to salvage even that. As for dancing, I couldn't even manage the hokey-pokey. I'm pretty sure Lord Vader wore steel caps in her shoes on our wedding day, and that was only for a nondescript slow dance!
The cutest one, of course, enjoyed it. I'm not sure if it was the singing and dancing and other children to watch, or whether she enjoyed watching me suffer.
Needless to say, I didn't go back; not until last week that is. Last week I sucked it up. It really was high time for the mouse to get to play with and see other little ones in action. I've sheltered her selfishly for too long. Lord Vader didn't even pressure me this time.
So with trudging steps I shuffled to the other local library (we're lucky to live smack bang between two libraries). We got there early, it was still Story Time for the pre-schoolers, so we sat quietly at the back and listened to a few stories. At the end of Story Time the librarian who had been reading approached and asked if I was going to attend the nursery rhymes session. I mumbled that I was, and she breathed a sigh of relief "Thanks! Last week no one showed up!". This sounded promising.
I like small groups, they are a little more personalised (I was going to say intimate but you all would have gotten the wrong idea) and way less intimidating. One other mum showed up, and she was as nervous as me. The librarian metaphorically held our hands through the ordeal, leading the songs, and dances, happily reassuring us. The cutest one loved it. I... coped.
This week we went back and I was much more comfortable, even though four mum's and little ones showed up, I was comfortable because I had an idea of what I was doing (even though I can't sing or dance), and of course the mouse loved it.
The next big step for me is to contact a parents' group. Pretty sure there is a Dad's group around somewhere nearby, but maybe I'll keep building my comfort levels first before tackling that.