Monday, 25 January 2010

The politics of Toddler groups when you are an incomer.

I think, here in the Fens, you stop being an "incomer" when your grandchildren have died in the house you lived in, or thereabouts. For such a wide open space, the Fenlanders themselves are very closed in. So much so, in fact, that the first mothers prepared to risk talking to me at the local toddler group were themselves incomers of a mere years standing. they had come from the far reaches of the NEXT VILLAGE DOWN, and were therefore unused to the ways of the natives, and desperate enough for a chat that they risked scorn in talking to me as I scanned the room to check my kids were not hitting anyone.

Everyone knows the rules to toddler groups. (Note these rules apply only to village or small town toddler groups of a predominanatly White British character. Other more multi-cultural groups have their own social strata )Or at least, mums do. There are never any dads there, and if there are, nobody must talk to the poor sod. Each toddler group must include the following social groups.

A) The posh mums who attend merely as a social function. They do not work, drive 4X4's and ignore their children as they bite and scratch others, sitting in a small huddle talking about tanning salons while their offspring rip their OshKosh jeans fling babies out of bouncy chairs. They do not get their haircut in the town/village, but the nearest city, and pay more than £50.00 for it.

B)The younger mums who nip outside for a fag and have several children fathered upon them by the nearest Barracks. These children are impeccably dressed and extremely violent, giving rise to many shouts of "KYLE! Get your arse here NOW!" They too ignore their children and cluster together discussing her down the road who got pregnant with her over theres' squaddie.

C)The small seam of middle class mothers in whimsical dress who are the only ones playing with their (always) one offspring, trying to stimulate them with the Roatry club funded group toys. They say "Erm, Kyle, please stop doing that. Where's your mummy? Kyle? Kyle?"

D) People who have moved from London to have a better way of life. They stand confused, shocked, and shunned.

E) Childminders. They sit and drink coffee and direct the 4 16 year olds they employ to look afer the 10 crazed kids they "childmind". They are fat and smell of dogs.

F) Everyone else. The three people who are too busy breastfeeding, chasing 2 or more children, or weeping to talk to you. They are the only other normal ones and it will take 8 weeks for you to exchange 3 sentences, because it goes like this:

"So, whereabouts are you from?"

"Oh, really? That's really interesting, I used to...hang on....what, now? ...a poo? Ok. I'll be back in a minute..." (gone for 2 weeks)

Other sundry rules include:

  • Paying to enter means as many biscuits as you like

  • When you smell poo, you must say loudly "I can smell poo" and sniff your own childs nappy before loudly proclaiming "no, it's not her". The actual culprits mother must be outside having a fag and arguing over maintenance with her squaddie partner.

  • No toys must be complete.

  • There must always be a sign up saying "IF NO-ONE OFFERS TO HELP THIS TODDLER GROUP WILL CLOSE!!!!!!!!!" but nobody ever does help.

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