Horror of horrors, I was asked to assist with the aforementioned Bounce & Rhyme session at t'other library this morning. Unable to fake my own death - or even feign deafness - at such short notice, I had no choice but to help.
Don't get me wrong, I like children ( I used to be one) but I prefer them in small doses. Children en-masse scare the M&S support pants off me and, like animals, they can sense it. As soon as their beady little eyes settled on me knowingly, I guessed there'd be trouble.
Sure enough, as soon as the Big Story Book came out they started swarming all over it, snatching and pawing while I peeled them off one by one, horribly aware of the Mums weighing me up. Also, I had no idea how hard it would be to keep a smile pinned on with a Full Nappy under my nostrils.
Luckily, there was no sign of Experimental Mum today so there was no bashing, but Chav Mum was in full flow, charming her neighbour with tales of her 'arsehole' boyfriend, which were actually quite interesting (he's a 'waste 'o space, but a kid needs a farver). Her son, meanwhile, was being a bear - clawing the air with his hands and making horrid growling noises throughout Old MacDonald Had a Farm (ee-i-ee-i-oh-my-god-make-it-stop.)
The manager signalled something to me with her eyes, which I hoped meant 'Let's get outta this joint,' but actually meant Time to Open the Fun Box (matron). Out came the cuddly toys and rattles, followed by a fracas over who should have what and why and plenty of 'ooh be careful, you could have someone's eye out with that loves.' Songs n' Actions was rounded off with a fist fight as we wrestled the toys back into the Not-so-Fun-Anymore Box, because they're Not Allowed to take them home.
In the middle of all this merriment - somewhere between belting out Ten Green Bottles and longing for a trapdoor to open - someone wanted a poo, someone needed a nappy change, someone screamed blue murder, someone tried to poke my eye out, someone thwanged DVD's all over the floor, someone made a break for the door, someone asked me for my watch and someone had a nervous breakdown.
Thank God it's all over 'til after the summer holidays.