Thursday, November 18, 2010

the rock mamas: doing it together

"I don't think I have what it takes," posted a fellow (and at the moment single) parent on facebook.

"You DO have what it takes, of course you do!" was one of the immediate comments.

"But they say it takes a village. I have something more like a hut, perhaps a yurt," was the response.

 (My village, in the Arb)

I am all for the village thing when it comes to parenting. I've relied on play dates for my sanity long before Lilly was able to play with other children. She was about 6 weeks when we left for Norway to spend a year in my native country. I immediately signed up for a new mom and baby group (barselgruppe) that met on a weekly basis that first year. And then we had baby swimming one day, mommy and baby aerobics on another day, always a coffee date some day and Friday was open.

After we returned to the US when Lilly was one, we found new routines and things to do with fellow parents. Age-appropriate read, sing and play classes at the library were a lifesaver that first year, in addition to the various play dates. Now we've branched out, incorporating "school" (ECFE) one morning, yoga another (a friend and I child swap for yoga and then often end up vising over coffee till lunch), and, perhaps my favorite, an outdoors group play date in our amazing local Arboretum. It started out on a casual basis this summer and then firmed up as a "thing" we'd all commit to doing this fall.

We call ourselves The Rock Mamas. It was the rock memorial garden where we first used to meet for play and picnic that inspired the name, but honestly, I think we all feel like we rock while we're there.  Because it doesn't get much better when you're hanging out with kids. The kids are happy playing, running around in the fields, up and down little hills, climbing and jumping off rocks, snacking on picnic treats. And the moms get to talk, often in complete sentences, which, as all parents of young children know, can be a challenge during play dates.

We'd vowed to stick to our weekly outdoors playdate throughout the thick of winter. So we felt pretty good about ourselves when we got together in the Arb this week, all bundled up after the first snow fell this past weekend. (We did make an exception the week of the extremely cold and blustery storm, described as "stronger than most hurricanes, more intense than the Armistice Day Blizzard, the 1991 Halloween Superstorm, and even the wild storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior in 1975." That week we headed over to "Wiggles & Giggles" at the YMCA instead.)

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