Thursday, 2 February 2012

Teeny Tchaicovsky and Baby Bizet

Our copy of Baby Brains by Simon James arrived today. It's a great story about Mr and Mrs Brains who hothouse their baby in the womb and consequently their baby, when born, is a genius, giving Doogie Howser a run for his money. He's so clever in fact that when recruited by scientists to go to space he does so, only to realise when there that "I want my mummy".

I love the book, and also Jez Alborough's Hug which I wrote about here, because not only does it remind me how much my baby needs me, but how much I need my mum too. When we were in hospital post-birth, by day five all I could think myself was "I want my mummy". She arrived to sobs. "Your baby needs a cuddle" I told her. "Which one?" she asked. It was me of course. While a cuddle from grandma is always nice, I had the baby's cuddle needs covered. It was me who needed the cuddle.

But I also love it because I've been watching in disbelief as the north London mums around me sign up to expensive classes to help their babies develop - Mini Mozart, Teeny Tchaicovsky, Baby Bizet, that kind of thing. (Only two of those are made up). Not only are they expensive, but I don't believe that kind of class at this kind of age makes a jot of difference to how clever the child becomes.

Several months ago I won a series of sessions of Baby Sensory. I only went to one because I couldn't bear the pseudo science when the teacher told us to wave pompoms in front of our children's faces to develop their eyes. And then charged everyone for a cup of tea on top of the £7.50 for the session. All the way home I just couldn't bear thinking about those poor blind pompom-less children. "Don't worry mum," said my (genius) baby, "I'll sit in my buggy watching traffic instead, and sneak a peak at the telly when you think I'm snoozing, and stare at the shadows the trees make in the park. I promise to learn to see mum, rest assured." Phew.

Two friends have invited me to a session called Classics this week - concerts for babies. They might read this blog and I want them to know I am very grateful for the invite and to please continue to invite me to things, and it does sound like a lovely way to pass the morning. But it costs £10. For a baby session! The website however says the £10 is for the adult and babies go in free. Maybe I should do as my husband suggests and send her in alone while I wait outside.

Anyway I think instead of going to classes people should stay at home and read Baby Brains. And then they should read it to their babies. Unless of course their babies can read it alone.


  1. Haha! As one of those friends, I am not offended at all! We are going as press so we're not paying. But I still reckon £10 for the occasional classical concert you can take your baby to is worth it - just like you'd pay to see a film or any concert. Not doing it to make H cleverer, just to give him the experience of hearing live musicians.

    I agree about Baby Sensory though. The thing they say about developing baby's eyes is ludicrous! As is charging for a cup of tea.

  2. ps love your writing about the poor pompomless babies...hysterical!

  3. I shall lend you Baby Brains Superstar as the follow-up.... Watch it when he takes on the rock world!!!

  4. Can I report back? Today we went to a hugely popular concert for babies by the LSO. Babies under 12 months went free; parents paid £3. It was brilliant. The babies got to hear live music from six different instruments and were thoroughly entertained. I can't see what's not to like - what's the difference between reading your child a book, taking them to a film or taking them to a concert? None of these are hothousing; they're just fun and stimulating. Plus to pay £10 for an occasional concert even, I think is fair - the musicians have to earn their living too.

    I think there's a distinction to be made between taking them to a concert and enrolling them in some rip-off class...

  5. LSO concert sounds nice. It's not concerts etc I object to, it's the pseudo science and the cost.