Kayleigh and Carson are mum and son; one family that makes up the Lochgelly group for Expecting Something in Fife. In this blog, we share their story.
A Kayleigh and Carson Story
Kayleigh started bringing Carson along to the Expecting Something group to get out the house, socialise and make new friends. She likes that there is something different all the time. She’s particularly enjoyed the glow-in-the-dark play, painting, dancing and playing with food!
Kayleigh doesn’t go to any other groups. She likes Expecting Something “because it’s local, accessible and free.” Before she came to the group she felt quite isolated so she thinks the group is important to help parents like her feel part of a community. She’s been coming for around 18 months and says “I hate missing it!”
Kayleigh likes being able to talk about things with other parents in an environment that feels safe. She says “There’s a lot of advice in this group. There’s nothing that holds you back.” It’s also helped Kayleigh become more confident. She says “it’s helped me to talk more and be able to express my feelings. I show more emotion here than I do at home or at work. I can have adult talk.”
She also thinks that being in the group has helped Carson’s development. She says “It’s brought him on quicker.” She feels that even if he doesn’t join in every single activity – having it go on around him is really important. She wants him to have access to lots of different artistic opportunities. It’s really hard to make those things happen at home and other groups don’t offer the variety. He’s particularly enjoyed all our drumming activities and painting.
It seems to work well for Carson that in our group he’s never forced to join in the activity, but he can choose to try it in his own time. Recently we had a session where most of the group had been drumming before lunch but after lunch we mostly moved onto a crafty activity. However Carson wanted to revisit the drumming instead and he was welcome to do that. A child-led approach seems to reduce any stress so we remain flexible and adaptable for the needs of the children and their unique stages of development.
Kayleigh doesn’t think you’d get the same benefit if the group wasn’t led by an artist. She says “You wouldn’t get the same vibe – you need the artists here! Because I can express my ideas and you make them happen.” One example of this was when Kayleigh had the idea of making a dance film with the babies to the music from Dirty Dancing. We arranged a filmmaker to visit and we created some dance moves. Kayleigh found the perfect costumes at home for herself and Carson and they turned up to the session ready to roll! The whole group really enjoyed themselves, and the finished film is really cool.
In fact Kayleigh is often one of the first to put on a silly costume, volunteer an idea, sing a harmony or just ‘have a go’ at something new. Kayleigh says “I never used to be like that before. Having a kid makes you become a kid again.”
Kayleigh is such a brilliant energy to have in the group, she’s fun to be around and full of fantastic ideas. Even when she tells US she “can’t be bothered” at the start of the group – she’s straight away fully engaged with the activities and interacting with the other participants. She’s very supportive of the other parents and babies in the group, always interested in how everyone is getting on. She’s a great listener if anyone has a problem to share. We’ve been lucky to get to know her and share a little part of Carson growing up.
Expecting Something works with new, young and expectant parents under 25 and their babies in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh and Lochgelly, Fife, providing a weekly safe space to spend time with their babies and peers whilst engaging in artist-lead creative activities.