“School is too late!” Meet the owner of Britain's Strictest Baby and Toddler Group
Oliver Laughdugry sits down to brunch with Sandra Coalville, the controversial disciplinarian owner of Wondertots Rhythm & Rhyme Time.
STRONG LEADERSHIP: Sandra models (L) starry night grey shimmer t-shirt dress (Krumkyn Palava, £499.99) and (R) midnight blue velveteen plunge neckline dress (Humdinger Marriage Ruination Fashion House, £850). (Randle Partridge/Bazake Media)
It's not often conversation with the proprietor of a baby and toddler group turns to the Ukraine crisis, the USA's prison population and forced chemical castration. But then, Sandra Coalville has developed something of a reputation for controversy.
Wondertots Rhythm & Rhyme Time operates out of church halls and leisure centres in Clapham, Brixton, Balham and Tooting, but rumoured investment following an appearance on a forthcoming episode of BBC’s Dragons’ Den means the scheme is set to go national.
Wondertots sounds like a normal run-of-the-mill enterprise. Parents and babies sat around, playing with toys, singing nursery rhymes? Think again.
"All other baby groups are chaos. Total anarchy," she explains to me in a charming independent café over cappuccino and clafoutis. "If you want to bring your children up to be gang members or drug dealers or terrorists, go ahead."
"Yes! Really! Look, inner-city children are scum. They're awful. We need intervention immediately. School is too late! We need to get them at three months old at the latest."
But isn't it poorer children who are the real scumbags with a genetic predilection towards criminality? And aren't the children who attend Sandra's £20 half hour sessions overwhelmingly middle-class?
"Don't get me started on pushy middle-class parents!" she scoffs, her sparkling blue eyes ablaze with mischief.
I press her for more. One major complaint is that the whimsical name Wondertots offers no clue as to the disciplinarian nature of her classes, and in the words of one parent who spoke anonymously to a national newspaper, "she then uses a cocktail of psychological abuse and physical threats to force us to keep attending." Is this true?
"Yes," Sandra states, matter-of-factly, her eyes ablaze with determination. "Of course I force them to stay. They wouldn't come back otherwise and their children's minds would be filled with all this personal freedom garbage by another baby and toddler group."
Sandra takes a sip of her cappuccino. "Anyway, 'abuse' is a strong word. Is flicking the sore lactating nipples of single mothers 'abuse'? Genuine question."
Against my better, more liberal judgement, I find myself oddly charmed by this disciplinarian. But what about infants with disabilities?
“Oh please!” she giggles to herself. “Disabilities don’t exist. It’s just parents convincing them they have one. Indulging them. That’s what I call them, ‘indulgabilities’.”
One parent on the Mumsnet forum claimed Sandra screamed obscenities at their toddler who was born with a severe physical disability because they couldn’t march in formation. It is something that Sandra does not even try to deny, explaining, “Yes. I remember it well. For heaven’s sake, I’m installing order in these little potential thugs.”
Conversation turned to perhaps the most controversial aspect of her Wondertots sessions.
Suddenly a little nervous, I broached the subject: Talk me through the World War Two era iconography and uniforms.
“Well, Oliver…” Sandra’s voice almost purrs. Under the table I felt fingers gently brushing along the inner thigh fabric of my chinos, teasing their way upwards. I gasp. “We all like things we shouldn’t, don’t we?” Go on. “We all find ourselves… tempted…”
Her hand, in delicate spiralling strokes, had reached my groin. I felt almost lightheaded as my blood rushed towards an accelerating engorgement.
“You want it, don’t you Oliver… we all want it. We want strong leadership.” Her fingertips traced the contours of my personal bulge, expertly. Yes, I whisper. I want to be disciplined. Effortlessly, she tugged at my zipper and slid her hand in. My head pounded as if it could explode.
“Very well,” she smiled, before grasping my scrotum with a terrible strength, digging her well manicured nails in. I scream. A bloodcurdling, high-pitched scream. My legs jolted, knocking the table flying, dregs of cappuccini and clafoutis crumbs scattered across the floor of the independent café.
I shouted some things that are probably not printable in a family publication such as Bazake, but still she held on, twisting her hand counterclockwise whilst I begged for mercy.
“This is not your chance to win a fucking Pulitzer Prize you pathetic liberal shit!” she cried, half-laughing, half-snarling. “If I choose to wear Wehrmacht uniforms at MY baby and toddler groups that is MY decision!” Still she held on, squeezing, twisting, tearing at my delicate nutsack.
I look at my fellow independent café patrons, their eyes avoiding mine, pretending nothing was happening. I try to implore them to help. She’s ripping my balls off you ignorant freaks!
“Apologise, Oliver.” For what? “Apologise for your middle-class parenting. Apologise for your ill-disciplined liberal middle-class parenting.” That’s not true!
“Yes it is, Oliver,” she grinned, her beautiful blue eyes wide open with a haunting mix of merriment and funereal sympathy. She twisted my testicles harder and harder. I felt like an espresso kettle whistling on the hob.
“I know all about your offspring. They’re communists, Oliver. They’re communists and they’re laughing at you. Admit it.” Yes. Yes. They are communists, I sobbed.
“You should have taken your belt to them, Oliver.” Yes! Yes! “Apologise for polluting society, Oliver.” I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I’ve failed! I’m sorry!
She released her grip and I fell sideways off the chair. Gingerly, I felt for damage as I lay in a crumpled heap. I licked my fingers and tasted the rich iron flavour of my own blood. I sighed in horror as I imagined the mangled state my scrotum must be in.
“Get up, Oliver,” snapped Sandra. “We’re in an establishment with 5 stars on Tripadvisor in an up-and-coming neighbourhood. The last thing they want is you looking like you’ve died of an overdose.” I did as she commanded.
“Let’s finish this interview shall we?” she suggested as a mouse-like barista picked up the table and offered us free replacement coffees.
So, the future’s looking bright for Wondertots?
She studied me keenly, with eyes like a bird of prey. “Yes. Yes it is.”