When Addie was born, I was told to give her downtime, and downtime we did. We snuggled in the warmth of the Spring days- skin to skin under the blankets. Both mama and baby exchanging heat and cuddles. On the coveted two hours awake two hours asleep schedule, we slept a lot and well. Addie ate like a champ. And she grew as she would. She learned to roll, and play and then, at 16 months, she walked.
Walking!!!! To us, this meant freedom.
So many classes were for kids who could walk, and while we LOVE Rock-a-Baby RI, Addie seemed to want more activity. Armed with a zoo pass, we used the Big Backyard at Roger Williams Park Zoo all last summer. Splashing in the water, playing with the wooden blocks and making [Indian] elephant noises, we were certain to renew our membership for this summer, too.
But what else?!
I remembered the wise words of mothers before me: plan for downtime. But I made the plunge when the cold air came: an activity Monday through Friday. So, in the late days of Fall Addie and I began an experiment that would take us through 8 weeks of finding which activities she liked best, a mix of community and therapy and everything in between, and we would pare it down from there.
Aqua-therapy (If you’re looking for a swim program, check out PODS!), dance at Bellani Maternity, Rock-a-Baby, Soccer aka Squeaky Sneakers at Teamworks, and Cradles to Crayons at Providence Public Library.
Addie thought it was routine.
We pool? is the first thing I hear Monday morning.
See Habwey, Ashee, Bucket, yes! On Tuesday mornings (translation: Hadley, Ashley, Beckett. Who we see every week at dance)
On Wednesday… let’s just say you don’t mention Rock-a-Baby unless you’re prepared for squeals of, HARMONY!!!!! to resonate throughout the house.
On Thursday, from the time her tiny feet hit the floor I hear all about Ella, soccah, kick bawwwl, until we are on the field.
And Friday mornings, read stories? Paint? comes from the backseat as we make our way to the library for books and crafts and play.
Finding the perfect mix of community supported programs, mixed with classes that are lower and moderately priced, we’ve created quite the week of activities which help us stay out from the cold and out of the house (and will keep us out of the blazing heat, too).
It felt like a lot when we started, and now it is just perfect. This summer we will miss soccer (the time is used for camps now that school is out), but Thursdays will be our new exploration day- perfect for taking our kite to Newport or on a nice hike in Lincoln Woods.
To bring it all into perspective, when I first had Addie a lot of friends disappeared. When she was diagnosed, the rest of them left. My time was split between making sure she had the right doctors and worrying about everything I didn’t know I had to worry about. Addie has taught me a million lessons- the most important being who will be there in my darkest hours. Who can listen without words. She’s an amazing child and we truly feel that the least we can do is provide her the space and time to explore everything that excites her- from books to sports to time with friends. As for myself? I’ve adapted to a new village of friends and created a support system unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of- all because we got out there and tried new things!
Other activities we enjoy: RWP Zoo, Capron Zoo, Providence Children’s Museum, Newport Cliff Walk, Brenton Point Park for kites, URI Bay Campus Beach, Biomes, Mystic Aquarium, picnics in the park (I keep a blanket in my car in case the perfect park presents itself unexpectedly)… and this summer Dave and I hope to get Addie up to Boston to check out the Boston Children’s Museum. How can you do these things for less? Look for passes at a discount from AAA, many places offer free visit days for different reasons (or just for residence, like the RWP Zoo!), your current memberships may offer reciprocal entries or discounts to other venues, and call your local library- they have passes available for most kid attractions in the area.
While this coming weekend we celebrate ourselves as mothers, I choose to celebrate Addie welcoming me into this club of women we call Motherhood. Each week through nurture, experience and healthy participation in Life, I grow because she is here.
All of Life… and its wonderful creation:
How do you get out of the house with your little ones? Where are your favorite places to go?