Every Thursday afternoon, Sienna and I walk five minutes down the road to a little community centre for her Relax and Sing session. It began as Baby Massage and, more recently as she has started to do more than lay on her back and look slack, the sessions have evolved to “Active Baby” with singing, toys and sensory stimulation…oh and cake, there is always cake and a cuppa.
I knew that, despite being my second baby, I would have to take myself out of my comfort zone with Sienna. I had the safety net of my NCT group when I had my son, there was always someone to go to a group with but this time round, the majority of my Mum friends had older babies. Any new mum will know that first time walking into a group is unnerving and, to be quite honest, you feel like you’re on your first day of school again. Luckily, and thanks to Corinna, those initial nerves quickly disappeared as she has this amazing ability to not only make you feel comfortable, but effortlessly get people talking to each other!I have been wanting to write a post about Relax and Sing in Wakefield for months. She really deserves all the promotion she can get so I thought that it would be nice to hear from Corinna, the owner of Relax and Sing, so I asked her a few questions:1) Can you give me a little background about you? I’ve done a few different jobs in my time, including working as an international marketing manager for an art gallery in Shanghai, working in a butter factory, being a wine waitress, and more recently, spending the last ten years as a primary teacher and music specialist. I have two young children who I love to pieces but who also drive me to distraction!2) What are the main aims of Relax and Sing? To bring together groups of mums (and dads!) and foster a sense of community, helping each and every parent who attends my class feel supported and connected. It takes a village to raise a child and that support network is vital. I also want to bring parents the benefits of positive touch through baby massage and yoga, and the many physical and emotional benefits of singing, for both parent and child.3) How did you come about creating R&S?I quit my teaching job of ten years last summer as I realised my heart just wasn’t in it any more. I was spending too many hours on things I didn’t really believe in, such as government- required paperwork, at the expense of my own children! I travelled up to Edinburgh and trained as a baby massage and yoga instructor and threw myself into this wonderful new venture!4) What do you love most about your job? Where do I start? I love seeing friendships being formed, and women supporting each other. I love watching how mums interact with their babies, often becoming more confident and intuitive week by week. And of course, I love the babies, seeing how they have changed every week and how they respond to favourite songs or games. It really is the most rewarding job I’ve ever done, and fills me with happiness that I’m able to create something positive and helpful for new mums.5) Complete the sentencesSince becoming a Mum… “I have lost my mind but found my soul. “ (I’m not the author of this quote but it’s so true!)Being a Mum means… “always feeling guilty about something, constantly juggling everything, but loving harder than you ever thought possible.”You can tell from my interview with Corinna that she’s passionate about what she does and the love for her job is clear every week I see her. All her hard work is paying off as recently she won a MPower Mums in Business award where she was highly commended in the ‘Cheerleader’ category and she has also been nominated for the ‘What’s On 4 Mums’ awards which gets drawn at the end of the month.
I was so lucky to find such a lovely group of Mum’s in my R&S session and we all chatted freely during our sessions! Since some have left to go back to work, go on holiday etc, we are now trying to organise a little play date for the babies. It would be nice for Sienna to have some friends of her own and not just be sharing Lucas’.
My favourite part of our Thursday afternoons is seeing Sienna’s face when Corinna sings. On my Instastories, I’ve likened it to someone seeing Beyonce or another famous celebrity. She looks at her with delight, awe and happiness – it’s adorable! Sienna’s favourite bit is obviously the singing and we repeat the songs at home which is met with more smiles. As well as songs, in the Active Baby sessions, there are toys to play with in the middle of the circle, instruments to shake along to the music, sensory toys like light up balls and wands and we also play with material and the parachute!When we started Relax and Sing back in March, Sienna was just under three months old and we began with Baby Massage. Corinna gave us all a free bottle of organic sunflower oil to use and each week we concentrated on a different area of the body which we massaged. I can imagine these sessions are great for those babies that struggle to settle or with constipation. Sienna enjoyed them but I found the massage a struggle as she never wanted to extend her chubby little arms! I think she gets a lot more from the Active Baby sessions.
Corinna is constantly thinking of new ways to support the mummies at her sessions and provide the babies with stimulating activities. She sells CD’s with the songs of the sessions on and I know that some of the ladies in my group have said that the CD’s have been magic in the car for soothing those that are unsettled. Corinna’s voice is magic! She offers little goodie bags of instruments/sensory items for a small fee which you can then use at home. We have the light up ball, scarf and maraca. More recently, she has been organising “Mummy Meet Ups” which I think it really needed to make sure that no Mummy feels lonely.I asked some of my Relax and Sing Mummy friends to tell me what they liked most about the sessions and this is what they said:
“Making mummy friends and watching Francesca’s face light up each time as she’s loving the singing and seeing other babies her size.” Chantelle Westerman
“I love the fact that she makes us a brew when we get there… most of the time it’s my first drink of the day and when you’re looking after your baby 24/7 it’s so nice to feel looked after yourself for an hour.” Claire Lofts
“Corinna’s was the first baby class I tried with my 12 week old twins. I was so nervous about how I would cope if one of them cried, if one needed a feed or if they both needed attention at once. I needn’t have worried as from the first moment I walked in Corinna made me so comfortable and that first experience shaped the rest of my maternity leave. Corinna gave me to confidence to try other groups and I can’t thank her enough for it.” Paula Voizard
“My little girl absolutely loves this class! From being mesmerised by the shiny fabrics to giggling and smiling at Corinna’s beautiful singing.” Charli England
” It’s not only a great bonding time for us but great for socialising too as we all know it’s difficult being at home all the time. I’ve made some lovely friends and Corinna is extremely supportive.” Jolene Wood
“The classes are amazing – you get to bond with your baby, learn techniques to help them with digestion and sleep, and as they grow you can help them play and interact with other little ones, but almost uniquely for a baby class (in my experience), you also make friends (for life in some cases) and develop a network of Mums who will support you and give you advice when you need it.” Karen Speight
I can’t thank Corinna enough for helping me make some lovely memories with Sienna as a baby. She is my last child and I’m so glad I found something so ‘relaxed’ and fun for us to do together. In those early days, it was my only chance of a hot cuppa too! If you live in the Wakefield area and have a young baby, I definitely urge you to check her out and sign up to a free trial session.If you’re new to my blog, hello! Thanks for stopping by and you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! If you’re a regular reader, thanks so much for your support. Please like, comment and share away, it really is appreciated!