What is a playgroup? Clue is in the name right? WRONG. One would assume a playgroup is a group wherein your children play. Do my children play at playgroup? No they do bloody not.

Aims of a ‘playgroup’ for me: drink the most caffeinated drink, eat some of the biscuits intended for small children and chat to like minded adults about important issues such as what was on TV last night whilst gazing lovingly at offspring playing games and giggling with their friends.

Aims of a playgroup for oldest daughter: Do not, under any circumstances, play. Preferably sit as close as possible to your mum without actually being on her lap, repeatedly tell her you are hungry and if your mum looks as if she is making a move to get a coffee look panicky and tell her you need the toilet, or, if going for gold, a poo.

Aims of playgroup for toddler son: Do not, under any circumstance, play. Spot a toy you like the look of, ideally something exactly the same as something that you own and do not play with at home, run over to it and snatch it out of the hands of a small gentile looking child and shout ‘MINE.’ Extra points for snatching from a baby. If your mum looks like she is making a move to get a coffee weave dangerously in and out of adults drinking boiling drinks, and, if mum looks like she is pretending you belong to someone else develop an aggressive inability to wait for the slide and ‘help’ a couple of well behaved children down it.

Aims of playgroup for baby: Do not, under any circumstance, play. You are not old enough to play. After a calm morning gurgling and smiling at home develop an inexplicable need to wriggle and writhe until you are taken out of the car seat that mum was hoping you would remain in for the duration of playgroup. Cry until you are jigged, if jigging stops, slows down or changes cry until it starts, gets faster and remains constant. Make sure your mum makes no move to get a coffee by ensuring both hands are busy at all times. Strongly object to being held by a stranger especially if you hear the words ‘to give mum a break’.

Normally 99% of children’s aims are met compared to 0% of mine (that’s not quite true, I can usually manage the old ‘look over there’ trick and at least get a bite of the toddlers biscuit) so I’ve decided, much in the same that a ‘staycation’ is the new vacation, a ‘staygroup’ is the new playgroup. At home, in pyjamas, toys out, telly on. Coffee anyone?

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