I join a cult
Well, that is exactly how I used to see it before I became a mommy. By cult, I mean “Mommy and Me” classes, of course. If I had ever walked into the New York Kids Club as a child-free woman, I would have come out convinced that it was the scariest place I had ever been. Post-baby, it was my salvation. I had to get us out of the house and there is only so much time you can spend at the playground or park, especially in February in NYC. I’m not a joiner. It’s a real effort for me to take classes or go to the gym. I prefer to work out at home alone (or not) and take classes online. But for F’s sake, I had to find an activity with other kids that he could enjoy.
I was nervous going for our first class, Gym Babies. When I get nervous, I’m awkward and dorky. We were joining a class that had already been in session for a couple weeks, so all the other care givers had the routine down pat. You enter the lobby where you are supposed to find a “parking space” for your stroller in the sea of strollers crammed into this room, remove your shoes and your baby’s shoes, get your diaper bag and anything else you need for the class, and then go sit in the waiting area by the gym. I did none of these things correctly so I caused a complete commotion by trying to take my baby in his stroller into the waiting area with my SHOES STILL ON. It’s amazing I didn’t get bounced out of there the first day.
Eventually I managed to get myself and F into the waiting room where I found myself smiling nervously at the other adults in the room and deciding Nanny or Mommy? Turns out I was the only mommy at most of the classes. The few parents that did come with their babies weren’t terribly friendly. Maybe I’m assuming here, but I think the parents classified me as a nanny and didn’t bother making the nice with me. However, the nannies in the classes were very sweet and friendly, one especially, named Annie. She was there with her little charge who was a few months younger than F, and she was wonderful to him.
The classes were always led by 2 or 3 instructors who all had names like Twinkly and Sparkles. They all talked in soft, babyish, sing song, and not just to the babies! The first few minutes I thought I would lose my mind! And then like any good cult member, I accepted it for what it was and joined right in the baby circle.
The gym was set up as baby paradise. F loved it from the moment we got there. The whole room was covered in super soft wall-to-wall carpeting and was filled with baby mats and baby play areas. He could crawl and pull him self up and as the months went by eventually walk and run around like mad.
The thing that sealed the deal for me: he wore himself out that first session and I barely had him back in his stroller before he fell asleep and slept for the next 3 hours straight! If I could have afforded it, I would have taken him to classes every day. But this is Manhattan, and it was not cheap. I think one 45-minute a session per week for one 3-month semester cost around $800.
The only downside for us was the music. We play Led Zeppelin and the Beatles for F and tell him it’s the Wiggles. I’d rather pull my own arm out of the socket and beat myself to death with it than listen to the Wiggles all day. I hope it doesn’t mess him up too much someday if The Immigrant Song comes on and he says to his friends, “Dudes, is there anything better than a Wiggles tune?”
But at NY Kids Club they have music playing all during the class, so of course these baby tunes got stuck in my head and I’d find myself standing on the grocery line singing, “Down in the meadow in the itty-bitty pool swam three little fishies and a momma fishy too.”
When we decided to leave NYC for a while for the wide, open spaces of northeastern PA, one of the things I knew we’d miss the most was his weekly gym session. How lucky are we then, to have made friends with Darci, who taught a form of mommy and me classes for years in Manhattan before becoming a mom and ending up in my tiny hometown! Our first class was Tuesday, and once again, F barely made it back into his car seat before passing out from exhaustion! That is worth its weight in gold!
Next time: A Manhattan baby in the country
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