Perhaps if I woke to find myself on the starting line of the Olympic 100m final, my shorts had just fallen down and a spider had got on me, there exists a scenario where I would be further outside my comfort zone than I was at Monkey Music this Monday.
Monkey Music, for those unfamiliar, is a musical and sensory experience for babies and toddlers. From being the passive recipient of sensory information (i.e. sitting there confused whilst strangers sing and shake maraccas at them) they graduate to boinging, then prancing, then hitting stuff and finally to being so annoyingly loud that everyone agrees they’re too old to come anymore.
It is co-hosted by an inanimate stuffed monkey and (crucially for insurance purposes) a qualified childcare professional; so imagine any programme Vernon Kay has co-presented. The group is made up of experienced mums and babies and a smattering of awkward looking dads in tight blue jeans of which I was one.
The non-furry host is an enthusiastic figure that you might get on children’s television. One minute looking at a tree and the next bursting into a song about a tree. “What a nice tree. Do you know any songs about a tree boys and girls?”
🎵”Oh the leaves on the tree are green, green, green. It’s branches are long, long, long🎵 etc.
Impressively she memorised all of the babies’ names and was able to slot them into some of the songs. If it had been me instead of 🎵Johnnie🎵 and 🎵Katy🎵 it would have been🎵snot face🎵,🎵big ‘ed🎵.
As well as being quite clearly a fish out of water, being my first week I didn’t know any of the songs either. Whilst the other moms were singing along with their babies, I was left mumbling along and arching my eyebrows as if I was actually singing the right words – a bit like that time John Redwood had to sing the Welsh national anthem.
One song I did know was old Mcdonald which I think might have been thrown in there as a musical life belt for me. There were props for old McDonald’s animals and consisting as they did of a horse, a sheep, a dog and a cat I sincerely hoped that old McDonald was primarily an arable farmer. Unless he has a market for non-traditional milk, I can’t see that the wool from a single sheep would be sufficient to keep the farm afloat. With the possibility of Brexit threatening the removal of agricultural subsidies, he must be a very worried man.
Captain Poo Pants perked up a bit when we moved on from the bit where his dad was pretending to sing and got to use props of our own. I don’t think we did everything right – he was making a grab for the rainmaker belonging to the babynext to him (not the done thing). Instead of sitting on my lap for a clapping song he was arching his back and screaming. Instead of shaking the maracca he was eating it. And as we were supposed to be settling down for quiet time and watching some bubbles at the end he was loudly and violently sucking his fingers and farting.
Even though we did everything wrong, I felt like a berk and Isaac didn’t smile the whole time we were there, we’re signing up for another 6 weeks 👍