Today, we visited Family Knight, some lovely friends we met through NCT classes. When we arrived, young Arthur Knight was sound asleep, so Dexter was able to have his lunch in Arthur's luxury highchair, and (more exciting for Dexter), play with Arthur's toys. Arthur is a lucky little man, and has a plethora of cool and stylish wooden toys which Dexter enjoyed investigating. However, the hit of the afternoon was the introduction of 'Scorch' - an unidentifiable glove puppet creature, ably operated by Dan, Arthur's daddy. Scorch was the catalyst for much giggling, and for about five minutes, an uncharacteristically grumpy Dexter exuded the endearing chuckles of a generic baby from a generic fabric conditioner/formula milk advert.
The encounter with the glove puppet took me back to my days of maternity leave and my weekly jaunts to 'Gymboree' - a music and play facility in the salubrious location of right next-door to the loos, deep in the bowels of Churchill Square Shopping Centre. Every Thursday morning, I would trot dutifully into town to endure 40 minutes of 'educational' music and play with the boy. I took Dexter from being a tiny five week old and he spent the first few months sleeping through the entire experience. I would still be expected to sing along maniacally to 'Incy Wincy Spider', albeit to a miniature, snoring newborn. When Dexter finally did start staying awake for such japes, he was a particular fan of 'Gymbo' (I haven't mis-spelt it - spot the cynical marketing ploy). Gymbo was a terrifying clown glove puppet - the mascot of Gymboree - who in my opinion, bore more than a passing resemblance to a (marginally) more child-friendly version of Chucky the doll. However, Dexter loved the 'Gymbo' song (largely revolving around Gymbo being waved around infront of his barely-focused eyes), and a 'kiss' goodbye from the wool-haired entertainer was guaranteed to raise a smile.
Dexter has been invited to a birthday party at Gymboree in a couple of weeks. Watch this space for what will hopefully be an emotional reunion...