Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Learning New Things

My husband and I agreed that our son needs time with other children his age or thereabouts, for socialization.  Gregory sees a lot of adults, but kids also learn from kids and he needs this.  When my husband suggested that I look for other mothers and plan play dates, I went on an Internet search.  

There aren’t many groups and the few that do exist might get together once a month and some had bad reviews, such as catty behavior, etc.  When I spoke to my friend, Kim, about this, she suggested I look into Gym Rompers in Metairie.

The important thing to me about Gym Rompers is that it is not a daycare.  It’s for the baby and the parent!  It was perfect for what I wanted – socialization and activity for my son and socialization with other mothers for me.  I liked that each child had a parent – so each child was being attended too and the instructor wasn’t overloaded with the responsibility of a group of children.

I called Gym Rompers and spoke with one of the new owners, Jennifer.  She was really sweet and very reassuring. I have to be honest, I was nervous about going.  Nervous about if my son and I would fit in, if the other moms would judge, would my son enjoy it or would he get frustrated around other children, would people give me strange looks for being an older mommy, worried my son scream, puke and hate the class.

Gym Rompers offers classes in Metairie on Wednesday and Thursday, separating the ages by 3 months to one year and other classes for ages one year up.  I made a time mistake and we arrived for the one-year up group.  Jennifer was there to greet me and she suggested that I stay with Gregory and let him participate. 

It was a large group.  There were older children running around and the songs were faster paced, but we managed to keep up.  Jennifer explained that the next class – the one in Gregory’s age – these children are crawlers, not runners and the songs go at an easier pace.  But even with the older class, during that time frame, I knew that we would be joining.  It was Gregory’s reaction.  He couldn’t take his eyes off of the kids!  Even if I didn’t connect with any parent, we were going to return, because I knew this would be a good thing for my son.  

The class included games, puppets, singing songs, bouncing on the knees, using the huge toys in the room (toys too large for a normal home and well cushioned) and the parachute games.  (I also like the classes because there are no computers - plenty of activity without being plugged in.)  Gregory did great for the first class, but towards the end he was showing his classic signs of being tired and hungry.  I considered leaving at this point, but I also wanted to see the other kids and mommies of his age group class.  It was a much smaller group, but with some really nice ladies.

One lady said she was 49 with her first child, a boy.  She said, “When I first came here, he was only able to do tummy time.  My friends’ kids are in high school and there’s nobody his age.  (sounds familiar) This class has been great for him.”  I’ve never seen a baby crawl THAT FAST before!  Gregory was zoned in to the baby crawling.  But… he was tired and by mid-class he was cranky.  It was time to go.

Below is a picture of Gregory and one of the girls in the class.  Believe it or not, they are the same age!  My son is a lot larger!

As I was leaving, Jennifer suggested that my husband come for the night class.  It’s a mix of older and younger, but she thought my husband would appreciate the class better if he experienced it.  It’s designed for one parent and the child, but she extended the invitation to both first time parents to the class.

On the way home, Gregory was out like a light.  He slept the drive home and I carried him to his crib and he slept for a good while after that.  I think the activity, both mind and body, was good for him.

Though it was a long day for my husband, who goes to work at 5am on Wednesdays, he decided to come with us to the night class.  I was so happy that he saw the benefits of the class for our son.  During the night class though, Gregory was a spit up machine.  Lesson learned, don’t give your baby a bottle right before a class!  All that tossing in the air and rolling side to side makes for a milk return.

So, yes, my son screamed (rather cried) in his age group class and he puked in the night class, but he liked the classes!  At the end of the night class, one of the parents came up to me and said, “Gregory was focused and attentive to the other kids.” 

I’m glad we went to a variety of classes, each one had supportive parents.  We also went to the Thursday morning class with the mixed age groups.  Gregory did well.  And you know what…  by Saturday night.. my son who had shown no interest in crawling… well.. he started doing the crawfish shuffle (crawling backwards, which according to everyone, is the first step in crawling).  AND… my son said his first two words… first, Baba (for bottle, we’ve been calling the bottle this since he was born) and Dada – which Daddy is very happy with.  (See Videos below)

Do I think it’s because of the classes?  Well, I can’t say.. but yes, I do give the classes credit, if not for the new skills, for Gregory’s further desire and interest to learn new things.

To watch this on YouTube, Click Here.

To watch this on YouTube, Click Here.

To watch this on YouTube, Click Here.


Leah Campbell said...

So fun! I love the gym classes up here - it is so fun to see all those kiddos together!

Dakota said...

It can be really hard to find other Moms and kids that are open to getting together. We have an organization here called the Play Network. It groups moms up with other moms for playgroups, and does it mostly according to age. Maybe they have such a thing in your area? It was not an easy thing to find on a google search, let me tell you! I think I finally found it by googling "play group" and my town's name. I've also found some similar groups through Facebook.

Leah said...

Our city has a "Mommy and me" class that they host. They contact Mom's in a similar geographical region with kids within 6 months of each other and run 6 classes. I went to my class with my first son and ended up meeting some amazing Moms. After the 6 classes, we continued meeting at a local drop in play center every week for over a year (you get year long mat leaves in Canada). We kept in touch - and I still sit beside one of the Moms as we watch our 12 year old play soccer together now! It's so good for Mom and baby to have these kinds of groups!

Cheryl said...

I love the idea of this type of class both for Gregory but for you as well. I think being at home with a little one can get isolating. I always had a group of friends with kids my kids ages and they were my support system (in addition to my husband of course) and my source of entertainment.

I hope that works out for both of you and you make so really good friends that you have things in common with.