When Kitty was born we didn’t own a baby gym. I’m not quite sure why, I think it just hadn’t really crossed our radar as one of those things that the baby might need. We had quilts for her to roll around on and lots of arms to hold her and that was that. But as we visited friends from our NCT group and she tested out all of their baby gyms we decided that she might just like one of her own to have a little roll around in. And so for Christmas that year we bought her the one she liked the best.
She loved it. I think she spent the whole of that Christmas rolling around inside it fascinated by all the lights and dangling toys and its happy little tunes became part of the soundtrack to our daily life.
And four years later it’s still a favourite toy. Just not for Kitty, although she and Elma are still quite often found tucked up inside it playing with the lights and turning the tunes off and on for Pip. No now it’s all Pip’s. And where Kitty was obsessed with the lights, and Elma’s favourites were the dangly toys, Pip loves the whole kit and caboodle equally. He’s bemused by the baby that lives in the mirror, opens his eyes in awe when the lights go off and one, and spends a great deal of time trying to haul himself around by the hanging bars. And as it’s a nice slippery mat he can do a good few circuits on his tummy too.
I know that this is one of those toys that is utterly beloved but only in our lives for a short period of time. You might save your childhood teddy, or a book that your read so much that it started to fall apart at the seams, but baby gyms are a bit cumbersome and not very cuddly. They’ve also got quite a limited period of interest; Pip will be sitting up soon and at his great height it will just clonk him on the head so I’m sure that by the time he’s one he’ll have moved on to other things and be merrily attacking his sisters with a piece of railway track.
And by the time they’re grown I suspect all three of them will have forgotten how much they loved their gym. But I won’t. Or at least I hope I won’t. It’s provided hours of entertainment for my three. Sometimes the sort where we could lie on the floor together and look up at the canopy, and sometime when I really needed to do the washing up because we were about to run out of plates. And after four years of battering by three different children it’s still standing, with only a little wobble where one post has acquired more than the intended curve, and even more impressively, we’re still on the first set of batteries. You can’t ask for m0re than that!