This week has been the end of an era for Tim, although he is only 10months old, because of where his birthday falls in relation to the summer holidays he is already attending the last of groups that he has loved (well his mummy has anyway).
But probably the most exciting thing that he has been doing has led to us being able to say that this week he has graduated school.
Yes Tim has been going to school since he was only about 1month old, he must have been quite advanced for his age as he did start in year 5.
So by now I imagine anyone who has read this far is confused (or things that I am!)
I first heard about it in August, I was finally on maternity leave and was visiting the local Breastfeeding Cafe when I was told a little about it and given a leaflet
I went home and phoned Michelle while Tim was still just a bump and she came to see me to explain what it was all about not long after Tim had arrived.
From what I had read it sounded very interesting and worthwhile, but once I had spoken to Michelle there was no turning back, she was so passionate about the whole programme that it was just infectious.
So I guess by now you want to know what it actually is?
B.A.S.E.® – Babywatching is just what it sounds like, a mother takes he baby along to a group to be watched, but why?
Children are encouraged to watch how a baby grows and develops from week to week, observing interactions between the mother and child with guidance from a facilitator enabling them to talk and discuss what they are seeing.
There is evidence that children who take part in a project like this increase their ability to empathise, gradually transferring it from the Babywatching setting to their everyday life enabling them to engage more successfully in social situations. Making them more sensitive to others thoughts, actions, feelings and emotions.
So what does it actually involve?
As the mother it really is easy, you turn up week in, week out and you sit!
It really couldn’t be easier, I have loved doing it, as a mummy of 2 I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to give as much time to Tim (our second child) as I had to our first child, so I looked on this time as an opportunity to do nothing except focus on him. I would always take a blanket and a selection of toys, which varied from week to week, and just sit with him.
During the first weeks this involved a lot of time sitting infront of a class of children while breasteeding, well what else do young babies do! I spent time encouraging him to roll, sit and crawl. He has had his nappy changed in front of them and as the year progressed he moved from breastfeeding to eating sandwiches.
Initially it seemed a little strange for there to be this bunch of people sat talking about us and what we were doing, but sometimes the comments they made really made me think about what I was doing, do you realise just how many things we do without thinking? They would mention that I was stroking or holding Tim in a particular way and talk about why they thought I might be doing it, often that they thought it would make him feel happy or secure while I sat there thinking that I hadn’t even realised my finger was for example, stroking his cheek to keep him relaxed.
One week the class were asked what they were looking forward to seeing Tim do during the year, there were the obvious comments of talk, walk, crawl etc, but then one member of the class piped up with
I don’t want him to walk
my first thought to this was how horrible this sounded, almost mean, why would anyone not want to see another person develop, when this child was questioned the answer was wonderful, they enjoyed Tim coming into class so much that they didn’t want him to start walking as
when he starts walking he isn’t allowed to come in anymore
So this week has been a bit hectic for Tim (well and mummy!)
Tuesday we were asked if we could be filmed during a session to be part of a DVD for training more facilitators and help the project get rolled out in more schools across the UK, it was a long day, for one it was a different day to usual, normally we go in the afternoon for less than an hour total, but for this we were in early in the morning, there was, as always is with filming, a lot of hanging around before it even started, an hour long session, followed by more hanging around for interviews. Tim was just amazing, he coped with the change of time, different set-up and bright lights amazingly. I think that children just know how to play up to the cameras.
Wednesday was our last session as the school year is coming to an end, we had been told that we did not have to go in 2 days in a row, but we thought it would be lovely for the class to see Tim one last time without the bright lights of the cameras there. The children had learnt from the previous day that the room could be set out differently to what they had been doing so that everyone could be involved in one very large circle, so they organised themselves to sort it out, something that I am sure would not have happened so quickly and easily at the start of the programme. Tim once again was great, normally the children are not allowed to interact with the ‘baby’ in anyway and the class had been very good at this, even if Tim tried to climb on one of them they would never touch him. So this session I had agreed to do something a little bit different. By the end of the session every child had been able (if they wanted) to have a cuddle with him. A real treat for the children and for Tim to actually be able to interact together.
So would I recommend taking part in a Babywatching project?
There is no doubt about it, it is a resounding YES, I have had an amazing time taking part and have loved seeing how much the children in the class have developed and changed.
BUT as with everything if you are not willing to commit fully to something then it is not for you, the class you are working with will fall for your baby and want to see you week in, week out during the project.
If anyone wants to know more about the project please feel free to contact me and I will either answer your questions or put you in contact with someone who can.
If you have taken part in the project yourself and would be interested in writing a guest post about your experiences I would love to hear from you.