It was E’s Christmas party at playgroup this week. We go to a local Sure Start (actually, we can go to about three local Sure Starts which is nice) and they have a baby group, for children up to a year old. It was filthy weather but I was glad to get out of the house and a small group of us sat and ate festive treats (we each brought something), listened to cheesy music, played pass the parcel and made Christmas cracker cards.
Santa turned up halfway through. In through the door (there’s no chimney) and said, “Ho ho ho! My husband is very busy at this time of year so I’ve taken on some of his duties instead.” OK, we were fine to have a Mrs Santa, but she was still wearing the full beard.
It didn’t matter really. The Sure Start is one of my highlights of the week which sounds a little sad but it’s very friendly and they put a lot of effort into the session. Each week we make something for the babies’ scrapbook, different themed activities – Road Safety Week, Divali, Autumn, Halloween and so on – and there are a range of toys. We also sing and do a very small bit of baby signing. I was won over by the very small act – the girl who runs it remembered E’s name and the spelling from the beginning – and now we go every week. I shall miss it when I have to go back to work. The trick will be trying to get S (if he’s free) to take E instead. It’s good for her socialisation but he’ll be terrified at being the only man in there.
It’s no secret that Sure Starts have had their funding cut under the current government. Despite the constant refrain of less money in the public coffers this seems to be nothing more than a vindictive act. I am always reminded of the Peter Ustinov quote about how he’d never seen collections in the street for guns and warships “because these have been taken care of by governments. But I have seen many collections for children.”
E wasn’t scared of Santa and fortunately didn’t grab the beard and tug like she does with her father. She received a present (I think it’s a board book) and we took photos by the tree. It was all very much in the spirit of Christmas, everyone was very jolly. Some of the parents had dressed the babies up in festive costume – something that’s never appealed to me but hey.
I wanted to end the year’s blogging on a high and sing the praises of something that helps so many people on a tight budget. So hurrah for Sure Start, hurrah for everyone who work or volunteers at mine and help to make it so nice and hurrah for Christmas pot luck parties. We must make sure such a positive force remains a part of our society.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blogs this year and to all of you who read, comment and like the posts, I wish the very best of the season. Have a very Merry Christmas and here’s to more parenting bewilderment and joy in 2013.