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Toddler groups etc - would love some advice?

14 replies

sterrryerryoh · 22/04/2010 10:04

Hi - I've just posted this in another thread, but fear it might be the wrong one - so will post here too. Hope that's ok
I have an adopted DS who is now 8 months old - he has been with us for 3 months. Prior to his arrival, even though we have lived in this area for 10 years, we had very little to do with local amenities, clubs, activities etc - both me and DH work outside of the town and (before DS arrived) for very long hours, so used our home as a base, and did our socialising etc in other areas.
Now, I am off work for a year, and really want to start taking DS to some groups - but I admit to feeling a bit out of my depth. With him being 8 months old, I can't help but feel that the parents who are already at the groups will all know one another, and wonder why I haven't taken him along before. Whilst I am proud of having a beautiful adopted son, I don't really want to tell all and sundry that he's adopted for various reasons - it's his information and it will be up to him when he's older to decide who knows etc. Also, I don't want the fact that he's adopted to be his defining feature iyswim? It usually is, when we tell people he's adopted - that's pretty much all that gets talked about, and I'd like to go along to these sessions as a "normal" mum.
I suppose my question is about how these groups are shaped and what happens in them? Will I feel a bit outcast for coming along so late in the day (I'm ever so friendly, and will really join in!!) and is there lots and lots of discussion about pregnancy, birth etc etc? I think I just want a heads up on what to expect?
Thanks for listening. Hope I've posted this in the right place!

OP posts:
pigglepops · 22/04/2010 12:26

Bless you! I can see where your coming from, I'm a very social person but still yet to take ds3 (16 m) ds4 (4m) , I don't want to discuss birth stories etc really I'm happy to sit and chat about here and now! If I were you I would go though it's good for little ones and us too! Just go along and when it gets to the birth etc bit, go and make a drink or say you just don't like talking about it! You don't have to tell anything to anybody if you don't want too ! And I tell you what if you go I will make the effort too! L ol x

ellerman · 23/04/2010 21:28

Please go. I have never found it necessary to discuss anything personal at these groups. Many people join when their DC get to the mobile stage, so now is a good time for you. In our group there are grans too, which make for a nice mix. I have made good friends there and though these friendships may have waned as children got older, they sustained me through my stay at home time.

GoldenSnitch · 23/04/2010 21:46

I've started and stopped many toddler groups since having DS 3 years ago. Many people do and no-one will wonder why they haven't seen you earlier. I doubt there are many people without older children who take newborns to that sort of thing and as ellerman says, most people start going along when the DC's become mobile. I'll be taking DD to some new thngs now that DS is at pre-school and I doubt anyone will wonder where we've been for the past 4 months of her life.

I've also never really had conversations with people at toddler groups about childbirth so I think you'll be safe in that respect too.

Go along. Show off your beautiful new DC. I'm sure you'll have a lovely time

GFatemybaby · 23/04/2010 21:51

Oh that's lovely - congratulations.

Don't worry, nobody I've met has talked about anything so personal. Most people are friendly. Now is a great time to go. I'm sure you'll be glad you've gone once you've done the hardest bit of just getting in the door.

I think these groups can get a bad press but I've honestly had great experiences at the ones I've gone to. If you don't like it just move on and find another one. Good luck!

suitejudyblue · 23/04/2010 22:10

I agree with other posters that I don't think anyone will think it strange that you haven't been before now so I wouldn't worry about that but I do think you will need to consider how you're going to deal with questions about pregnancy and birth.

IME this is very much talked about as it's what has brought you together. I'd be surprised if you can avoid the subject for long and the questions about if/when you're going to have another child will soon come.

Congratulations on your adoption, I understand why you don't want to discuss it but I'd be fascinated to hear about it if I were at your group as swapping pregnancy/birth stories can get a bit old.

Danthe4th · 23/04/2010 22:17

Go for it, i've been to many groups over the years, good and bad. New mum's move into the area all the time.
You may meet some life long friends or just general aquaintances that your paths will now cross over the next few years going to playgroup,school etc.
You can offer as much or as little personal info as you like, just change the story, people will soon realise you are a private person and thats fine.
The benefits of going are worth it.

ruddynorah · 23/04/2010 22:22

why not try your local sure start centre. i've just got into mine with my 5 month old. they tend to do toddler groups but also structured sessions too like 'babies into books' and 'sing and sign.' these can be a nice way to meet people as the group automatically gives you something to chat about away from birth/pregnancy/breastfeeding or whatever. from this you may find it easier to go to the free play sessions as you'll already know some faces.

MrsWeasley · 23/04/2010 22:25

I agree with you not telling people your DS is adopted because a friend of mine was in a similar situation except she mentioned it to some people when their DC arrived. Trouble is one of these people said something years later and they hadnt told their DC they were adopted!

As for going to playgroups simply say that you have only just given up work or are taking some time off to enjoy your DS no need to tell them anymore than you want to.

People come and go to playgroups all the time and so whilst some will know each other, they will welcome you.

drowninginclutter · 23/04/2010 22:32

Totally agree with suitejudyblue, no-one will think it odd that you've just arrived but if/when you get closer to people preg/birth/next will come up in discussion so you need to think about how you can fudge these.
Lots of people have reasons for avoiding other than adoption so you won't be the only one (eg not talking about horrific birth stories, next being a sore subject if struggling to conceive).
Provided you change the subject in a polite fashion most people will get that they've touched on something you'd rather not discuss and will try to avoid bringing it up in future.
You may have to try a few playgroups/activities but I'm sure you'll find some that suit you.

paisleyleaf · 23/04/2010 22:32

You're not "late in the day" at all. New faces are constantly showing up at these groups with reasons like 'I thought I'd give this one a go", "I just found out about this group', "I've got wednesdays free now" etc - just no particular reasons. No one's going to wonder why you've not been before.
And you know, I can't remember having conversations about pregnancy/birth - more what the babies are up to at the time.

sterrryerryoh · 24/04/2010 15:38

Hi All
Thanks so much for all of your support and advice- I'm going along to my local SureStart centre on Tuesday and me and DS are looking forward to it!
I think I just wanted a bit of a clue as to what people might think, but without going - I'll never know!!!!!
Thanks again - my mind is put at rest!

OP posts:
gorionine · 24/04/2010 15:51

I run a toddler group and people come and go. Some mums know each other before coming and some don't. Nobody is going to ask why you are turning in for the first time (although I do sometime ask mums where they heard about us so I can target my advertising better, not in a nosey way IYSWIM) they will just be happy to have another face arround.

The worst that can happen is that you do not like a particular one and have to try a few different places until you find the group you will feel comfortable in. Give it a go!

Congratulations on your adoption!

Clary · 24/04/2010 15:56

Please do go.

Lots of people avoid toddler groups anyway until their DC are older - eg 8mo or so! If you take a baby along it's for your benefit rather than theirs tbh (tho that's fine of course).

Nobody at any toddler group I have been to would look at you oddly and wonder where you have been! Honest. If you are chatty and friendly then just pitch right in.

Chat among mums of DC of yr Ds's age will be mostly weaning/walking/crawling anyway - that's if it's not EastEnders/Cheryl Cole/Gordon Brown

sterrryerryoh · 24/04/2010 23:14

Haha - Oh goodness Clary - I know nothing about Eastenders or Cheryl Cole, and I don't really want to talk about Gordon Brown... if that's the worst that can happen, though, I should be ok!

Seriously - thanks again - will be on our merry way to some groups next week!

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