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Will I ever be able to 'do' mainstream toddler groups?!!!! Giant chip on shoulder...

(35 Posts)
JakB Mon 10-Jan-05 19:38:26

Went to Gymboree today with DS. By the end I was angry, frustrated, upset etc etc...
DS has been moody today (just one of those toddler things) and screamed at one point very loudly. Cue gasps of horror from everybody and the bloke running the class making a really big deal out of it. Then the girl on reception said, 'Oh I hate those screams, XXXX'. AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Then DS ACCIDENTALLY caught a little girl with a beanbag. Cue mother, 'oh what's happened' etc etc and lots more shocked looks. I just can't cope with it after DD. They made me feel as if DS is a horror and he's just the sweetest little boy demonstrating NORMAL toddler behaviour. Behaviour I would be OVER THE MOON if DD demonstrated. It's just so competitive and horrible, from, 'oooh, what percentile is your child on for height' to 'XXX has blah words and is saying blah'. AAAAHHHHHHHHH. Feel I have to do the 'normal' thing with DS but I just get so wound up (know it's my chip on shoulder) and just feel like preaching on how bloody luck the lot of them are!!!!!!!
Rant over. No need to reply, just needed to offload...

aloha Mon 10-Jan-05 19:46:56

What horrible people JakB!! I must say, I have never encountered any nastiness like that, but I'm not over fond of structured stuff for little ones. I assume Gymboree is like Tumbletots? Lots of MN threads with mums of all kinds of kids saying Tumbletots makes them feel like a failure. I take my ds to a special needs gym class (he's dyspraxic) which is great - nobody bats an eyelid at ANYTHING!! Lots of screaming sometimes, but it's fine. And to the local scuzzy gym where they have a sort of softplay Tinygym with no structure at all, which I think is nicer and it means people don't focus on slight variations in behaviour/ability, which I think would be awful for my clumsy little boy. He would be a disaster at Tumbletots.

Merlot Mon 10-Jan-05 19:48:05

Hope that made you feel better

that you had such a rotten time, but can empathize and agree entirely with how ridiculously competitive and pathetic some people can be. Jak B junior sounds a grand little man .

meea Mon 10-Jan-05 19:48:58

Don't think you've got a chip on your shoulder we are all just that used to worring about real problems that when you go somewhere like that it's hard to believe that people worry about things like that.
I feel like that about some of the parents at school who always make me feel guilty about dd2's reading and spellings.Some people need to stop living through their children and get a life of there own.
I've had my rant now and feel much better.

motherinferior Mon 10-Jan-05 19:49:53

Oh honey. How awful. I know my sister tried a similar class with her older boy - who's NT - and ended up just feeling he always behaved in a way that was making it impossible to return.

I know EXACTLY what you mean about the competitiveness too - I always cower and retreat, convinced my gorgeous girls somehow don't match up.

Sod them.

lunavix Mon 10-Jan-05 19:51:47

I know some people who find it easier to just get together with friends with similar age lo's or who've met at toddler groups, and go to ball parks/etc as a group, or if they get chatting to a like minded parent at one make it a play date. So many people find going to gymboree/tumbletots an unpleasant experience that it just puts strain on the whole thing.

warmmum Mon 10-Jan-05 19:52:09

Sorry you have had a horrid time. Why don't you visit your local libary and see if there are some other mother and toddler groups about. We have one at the local church (no you don't have to be christian to attend) and it's really cheap (£1.50 a week) so it doesn't attract the competitive mother types!! Just a chance to get together with like minded mums, have a cup of coffee and let the children free play.

Heathcliffscathy Mon 10-Jan-05 19:54:08

i know exactly how you feel, not renewing my crechendo sub for that reason: ds is NT but structured stuff and competitive environment just not appropriate for tinies imo...sod em!

Chandra Mon 10-Jan-05 19:54:33

If it makes you feel better, the only reason why I don't attend todler groups is because I can't cope with the competitivenes of the mothers. It may be bad luck but in the group I attended there was no way to be OK, if your baby didn't sleep you were a disorganised mother, if he did you were a control freak mother who forced the baby into a routine. So.... I am much better with out them, as for the socialisation aspect, some mornings in nursery have done the trick.

Donbean Mon 10-Jan-05 20:01:59

OMG, i know what you mean! Its just awful. Im just annoyed at myself for going back 4/5 times to the same thing each week.
My problem wasnt so much toddler behaviour, it was that i was completely ignored by every body.
I persevered and went back but now ive "shopped around" and found some much much better places so be reassured that they are not all like that.
Because i felt so uncomfortable im sure that ds could pick up on it and that just isnt a healthy lesson to teach my child.
Toddlerdom is a challenge, *they all* know that as they too have toddlers, so why be so bloody nasty and unhelpful to some one in the same boat? Thats what i want to know.
Big sympathies and i hope this moral support makes you feel better. x

triceratops Mon 10-Jan-05 20:03:51

My DS is always a complete nightmare at playgroup, or so it seems to me. He bites the cute little pink baby girl and screams "That song is boring" throughout any organised singing .

But then I remember that he was bitten himself plenty of times by other peoples little darlings when he was smaller!

jellyhead Mon 10-Jan-05 20:08:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog Mon 10-Jan-05 20:10:31

Aaaagh, bollocks to the lot of them Jakb.
Can't be arsed with that sort of stuff myself-decided long ago that just because I had kids,it didn't mean I had to hang out with people with whom I had absolutely nothing in common.

We keep our socialising to a very small group of known and trusted families, and do a lot on our own-swimming, walking, playing in the park, buggering about at home.

Long ago realised that women with small children are just like old women with grown up children. Both groups constantly bray about the achievements of their children but hey, NOONE LISTENS TO ANYONE ELSE!!! (To think that we worry about the social skills of people with ASD!!??)

triceratops Mon 10-Jan-05 20:20:47

I like to see the diversity of people at our local toddler group.

We have mums who smack and mums who give 20 min lectures with examples (only missing the powerpoint slides),
We have gina ford mums and continuum concept mums
mums who bottle feed and earth mums with organic cotton bottom babies,
mums who dress in designer gear and mums who look like they have just rolled out of bed and then through matalan (me I'm afraid).
We have mums who are 17 and mums at 42.

A dad once came in and was mobbed for two hours (he was cute though)

It is still a really friendly group which I put down to the leaders who work unbelievable hard and have great diplomacy skills.

Slinky Mon 10-Jan-05 20:24:03


"We have mums who smack and mums who give 20 min lectures with examples (only missing the powerpoint slides)"

We used to have a couple at our toddler group who did the "lectures and examples" - we were always for them to bring out the flipcharts - it was always worth going just for that

triceratops Mon 10-Jan-05 20:30:12

Slinky - I find myself doing it if I am not careful and ds gets this blank faraway look ..........

coppertop Mon 10-Jan-05 20:41:02

PMSL at the Powerpoint Parents!

When ds1 was a toddler I found the perfect group for him. It was fairly small with maybe half a dozen children. The lady who ran it was/is lovely and it was through her that I found ds1's equally lovely pre-school.

The group had finished by the time ds2 (ASD?) came along and the only other group in the area is full of competitive mums (with one or two exceptions) who talk loudly about the evils of parents who use bottles and dummies. I find myself sticking it out for ds2's sake as I think that at the moment he really needs to be around other children. He likes going because they have a huge box of cars and toys that he can spin. He couldn't care less about the other children. I was mortified one day when a young tot was lying on her front on the floor and ds2 used the backs of her legs as stepping stones.

JaysMum Mon 10-Jan-05 20:42:39

Moondog...I have to agree with you 100%
I spent a whole year dreading each toddler session. I just knew I would be saying sorry to all the other kids Moms because J would have done something to upset their precious little ones.
No one ever apologised to me when J was hit, kicked or pinched....they all thought their little angels couldnt have possibly done anything to hurt J without him doing something to instigate it!!!!
Gave up in the end and just made sure we spent time with people whom we could trust and enjoyed spending time with.
From that day on toddlerhood was a lot happier for us all.

Blossomhill Mon 10-Jan-05 20:49:36

Same here. I remember one day I was feeding dd (who was 6 wks) and my ds (who was only about 20 months) and quite boisterous but never spiteful. Anyway one day he had a little pusharound trolly thing and rammed it into the door. This stupid cow who was a childmonder (baring in mind I have dd in my arms but am watching ds like a hawk) ran up and stuck her finger in ds's face and really told him off. I gave my friend the baby, ran over and said get your hand out of my son's face, I was so I was on the verge of punching her as she really, really shouted at him! She said that I wasn;t watching him and he had done it a few times. He hadn't hurt anyone but was running around like all of the other kids. I said to her how dare you tell my child off, I am here to do that. It was bout 5 years ago but I really gave it to her. Talk about mothers protection, I was ready to kill her!!!! She had her finger in his face ffs
Anyway Jakb I would say try and find something a little less structured as it may be a bit too much. There are so many stupid cows around though aren't there. I must say I was so glad when both of mine went to playgroup as I didn't feel the need to take them as they were playing with other children there own age.
Dd was a classic as she used to go round picking up everyones last bits of coffee and tea and drink them

milge Mon 10-Jan-05 21:13:29

(((((((())))))JakB - Toddler groups are the work of the devil! Ds(NT) got told off by a woman at ours for throwing lego bricks - fair enough, i thought, as he may hit someone, but no, for "damaging toys". FFS. Curiously, everyone has been great about DD, and if she is having a bad day, i just sit with her quietly and sing with her, which she loves. If it is a really awful day, we leave and try again next week. Hope you feel better after posting.

eidsvold Mon 10-Jan-05 21:18:37

sad to hear it was not going well.... I found in the UK a toddler group as described by triceratops based at one of the churches in the village.. it was really great - a little structure - simply - playtime, snack time and craft time for older children, pack up time. It worked really well for dd. At the moment we attend a mother and toddler group here in Aus but I am a little on edge at times as we have it in people's homes and surprisingly some of them are not very toddler friendly... I have to try and watch dd1 like a hawk whilst usually trying to feed dd2!! It is getting better and I persevere for dd1's sake and so that other children have exposure to children with special needs... rather than just attending her special needs playgroup iykwim.

But I can appreciate where you are coming from as I had one of the mum's in the UK comment to me in a dismissive, superior tone - oh she is not sitting up yet then .. how old is she again!! I simply said 8 months or whatever she was and then said no.... she did not need an explanation that my dd had down syndrome... who cares. The mum was also a moaner - expected her child to be toilet trained at 18 months old and was devastated that she was not... so I guess you get them everywhere.... I just learnt to seek out like minded mums - and then we moved back here so that changed and we had to start again.

Jimjams Mon 10-Jan-05 22:19:18

I didn't really do toddler groups with ds2 as wasn't ready for the situations you describe (I found one, lovely, very small group we went to once a week). However I did have to send ds2 to nursery at 2 as his role model was autism and he was sniffing a few too many books He's fine, loves nursery and doesn't seemt to have missed out. This time round I've decided to be brave and try the NT world with ds3-and have joined the NCT. Hope not to be positing something similar soon...

OK bed!

JakB Tue 11-Jan-05 09:00:23

Thanks for all your supportive and hilarious comments! I just don't understand why some mums are so unsupportive of each other.
Jimjams, good luck with your foray into the 'normal' parent and baby scene!
I forgot to say, also, that there was a mum there yesterday who I haven't seen for ages who I met at Sing and Sign with DS about a year ago. She is INCREDIBLY competitive (was worried that her DD didn't have enough signs, wanted her to be able to sign pain etc etc). I wrote about her in an article for the Observer and was wondering whether she had recognised herself

Piffle Tue 11-Jan-05 09:14:40

I know exactly what you mean
I also go to a special needs playgroup and very small intimate coffee morning playgroups like with the NCT, where people know your kids and you do not get judged like that, plus the kids are happier.
Having said that dd has come on enormously and now attends a bigger variety of events, we have learned to develop a thick skin though, ooooh she's 2 is she, only just walking, she's very small was she prem? Is she normal then? I hate having to explain her syndrome and behaviours to people I may never see again and who do no care!

You cannot keep telling everyone to eff off, however good it feels
But having a child with SN makes you SO much more understanding about the spectrum of kids behaviour, I for one would never judge anyone now, whereas before DD I may have...

JakB Tue 11-Jan-05 09:15:50

Piffle, yeah, that's interesting. I would never dream of 'judging' other mums and their children. Am always very supportive. I wonder what kind of mum I would have been without DD?!!!!!

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