I was reminded about a baby playgroup, Wee Play, hosted by Baby Bungalow here in Tampa over the weekend and decided to check it out today. I’m glad I did!
This is the first time I have taken Kelsey to an organized play group. The instructor seemed very knowledgable, explaining the purpose behind the different types of activities and what skills were being practiced by each one. There were about 20 babies there around Kelsey’s age, beginning crawlers through confident walkers (once they get good at walking they move to a different group). They sang songs, played with a variety of different toys, and got to experience a variety of sensations. It is $4 for one session or $30 for a 10 class pack.
With Kelsey being more interactive, and now crawling, I have been trying to find opportunities for her to socialize with other children. I’m trying to make it out to the Tampa Moms Over 30 Meet Up group I joined (back to the sprayground tomorrow!) and am glad that it will work out to go to this play group once a week. We are also trying to put together a play date set up through the MacDill Enlisted Spouses Club.
I must say I felt pretty awkward in the class at first. I sing songs to and dance for Kelsey when it’s just the two of us (I get funny looks from my husband) but it’s different to be in a room full of strangers singing and grinning. Then I realized every mom in their probably does or did feel this way at least at some point and it’s good for our babies’ development so I got over it. A little harder for me to get over in general is all the shared slobber, but I know I certain amount of germs is good for her, too.
When everyone first started singing Kelsey just looked around the room trying to figure it all out. She didn’t want to leave my lap at first either. She eventually warmed up to it and enjoyed the songs and toys and started crawling a little bit away from me to check the toys out. Unfortunately, it probably means I’ll be making a trip to the dollar store soon to buy a hula hoop and some other toys. It also reminded me that I had picked up some pony beads and pom poms from Target’s dollar area and saved a small plastic bottle to make a shaker, however, I never told my husband why I had saved it and it’s already been recycled – oops! At Wee Play there were shakers made from the Target Pharmacy bottles with beads inside – I wonder if Target will give me one. If not I’ll just wait for a plastic bottle to come along around here.
I have learned, thanks to sites like I Can Teach My Child, that toys don’t have to be too fancy or expensive. I picked up some bubbles from the dollar store a little while ago (by the way, they are starting to go on clearance at Walmart, 8 for $1 and keep an eye out for clearance items in the baby aisle at Walgreens) but I think now that Kelsey can crawl after them like she did today she will enjoy them more so I will be giving them another try at home. I got a lot of good pointers on things I can do with her at home using what we have.
I hope this will help get Kelsey used to be around other people and get her out of her shell. I’m also hoping it will get me out of my shell, too. I finally made it my mission today to make some “Mommy cards” and did. I little image manipulation and a text box in Microsoft Publisher and I have a whole bunch of business card perforated paper already so I just hit print. Of course, if you want something a little fancier, Vistaprint always has deals to get a couple hundred for a few bucks.