Since the boys were around 5 months old, I started to take them to various playgroups. Some organised ones by companies such as Baby Sensory which lead to Toddler Sense, and others were groups friends with their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd child about the same age as my 2. The friends groups I probably started when they were about 3-4 months old and still laid on their backs.
I didn’t always have a nanny with me, but some times I did. With and without, I was always quite a site – 2 car seats or 2 babies in a double buggy/stroller and all the paraphernalia that came along with us – snacks for 2, milk for 2, water for 2, lunch or dinner for 2 and a gigantic diaper bag. I actually used the ‘Wistful Weekender’ by Petunia Pickle Bottom. Yes a ‘weekend’ bag for 1 baby was my DAILY bag for 2! (I do highly recommend this bag as there’s a pocket for EVERYTHING! Including 4 bottles!)
With an accompanying nanny, we were quite the entourage going to someone’s home! But those were fun and special days, watching your babies grow along with their friends and the great bond that starts to develop between us mothers and between the children. Their first friends.
I also would meet friends and their babies on ‘play dates’ at venues like Toddler World at the Hendon Leisure Centre. A bit smelly at first (thank God they redid the place while we were still going there) but large, bright and enough to do for babies through to 3 year olds. Ball pits, gymnastic balance beams , hoola hoops, climbing frames, a large ground trampoline, soft play areas, pilates balls, etc. etc.
But all this is great and loads of fun with 1 child, and it’s the time either parent bonds with their child in a playful environment. However, once the boys began crawling, then walking…. I was in BIG trouble!! I didn’t know which way to run as inevitably they both would run in different directions! Every 5 or so mins I needed to do a head count and make sure my eyes in the front were on one boy and the eyes on the back of my head were on the other. The were times I thought I lost one, only to see that he made a friend somewhere in the large room, or found something he really liked. Other times I was really glad the attendants, or facilitators were familiar with me and my very active boys and would help me out. (and then I learned… dress them in the brightest of colours so I could do quick spot checks any time!)
Needless to say, it helped me keep fit as well as I would run faster than I thought I could, stretch wider than I thought I could while holding one baby with my right hand and the other with my left leg, and get exhausted by the end of that hour as if I had completed a grueling triathlon!