Music with Mummy
Baby swimming classes
Gymbabes (a precursor to Tumble Tots which I also recommend)
The local Sure Start centre also ran new parenting classes, a babies group, baby massage and baby yoga.
So, where do you start? For the first few weeks, I'll be honest, I don't remember much of what happened or what we really did. Mostly we saw our antenatal group and I spent a lot of time just marvelling at a tiny newborn/panicking about having a tiny newborn.
A couple of months in, I started to take a bit more interest in the options available and at an NCT coffee morning I met Leigh, who was launching Baby Sensory in the area. It sounded like it featured a lot of elements other classes did - well apart from the swimming! I found the idea of the programme completely engaging and Leigh herself was so passionate and enthusiastic and so much fun that it was infectious. I signed D and I up for a taster class and never looked back.
It turned out my initial assessment of Leigh was right - I mean, who couldn't love someone who will dress up as a Christmas tree for the pleasure of the babies (and probably the mums too) in the class?
The pictures from this post cover the times I've been to Baby Sensory with both children. Of all the things that I did with D, this is the one that I signed up for first for Roo.
So what IS Baby Sensory?
The name gives it away really but it seeks to immerse babies in a world of senses. Here's Roo in one such session - utterly shocked and surprised by all she was seeing.
Babies are introduced to sound through pre-recorded music and music made by mums until babies can take over and do their own shaking.
In some sessions, babies are introduced to smells. Recently Roo was introduced to a bouquet of herbs, lavender and lemon.
Babies are introduced to an array of materials to touch and feel. One session recently involved feeling and discussing fruits and vegetables from pineapple to sharon fruit. Another would have seen us passing around a large snake made of a variety of fabrics - if only Roo hadn't decided it was food time!
Unsurprisingly, sight is also important. Babies are provided with puppet shows, underwater scenes, fibre optic wands and lots and lots of bubbles. Here's D, enjoying a walk around the room with copious bubbles.
In each session, we start with Say Hello to the Sun which begins to teach some signs created by the founder of Baby Sensory - Dr Lin Day. This song has a really calming effect on Roo. D is enjoying learning to signs to do with her too.
After this, we move on to the themed session - some memorable sessions are the baby olympics and winter wonderland.
In the middle of the class, babies are given a chance to move to the other half of the room. This gives mums a chance to talk to one another and also gives you a chance to try out a few different toys and books on your child and see how they take to them. Often there will be some of the elements from the week before available there, including the ever present Teletubbies!
After this, there is a section with suggestions for great ideas you can use at home with babies to engage their senses.. or an educational section which tells you all about baby development.
Finally, the messiest bit of the session happens - where babies are completely surrounded with all kinds of things. Leigh is always left with a lot of stuff to clear up. Here's D encompassed by everything from the Royal Wedding session we attended nearly four years ago.
All too soon, it's time for the Wave Goodbye song. A chance to hold babies close and be still. Most times, all of the babies are quiet for at least a minute after the song has finished. Quite an achievement.
I'm really hoping that there will be a Father's Day special for Roo so that she can experience Mr K flying her in the air! D is also hopeful - he's absolutely desperate to see what it's all about.
If you haven't guessed by now - I'm a bit fond of Baby Sensory. If you're considering doing it, give it a trial. Particularly if you're Oxford way and can have Leigh as your class leader.