A few months ago, my wife, Gabrielle, asked me, “Where can I meet other new parents?” Her question caught me off guard. “Don’t you know where I work?” I responded. The exchange reminded me that while we focus on how children’s museums benefit kids, we also need to develop ways in which we can assist parents, too.
This summer, my son Bennett turned 3 months old and we enrolled him in CMEE’s “Baby and Me” class. (It helped that I know a few people within the Museum’s education department.) During the weekly program, he loved looking at the bigger kids, holding (and dropping) music shakers, and watching the parachute waft above him. While it was obvious Bennett enjoyed himself, the classes were actually more fulfilling for Gabrielle and me.
Even though I work at a children’s museum, I still needed reminders about how to play. The classes were really empowering because they provided us with tools for parenting our baby. We learned new songs that have helped us soothe Bennett when he’s crying. We discovered what he was developmentally capable of, such as holding his head up while riding the “airplane.” And, after the class, we could continue these same activities in the Museum’s Crawler Exhibit. Best of all, “Baby & Me” provided a forum for us to meet other new parents and discover we weren’t alone in wondering when he was going to start sitting up by himself, teething, or eating solid (or pureed) foods.
I’m looking forward to CMEE’s “Baby & Me” class starting up again this month on the 14th. The program is free to CMEE members. If you have an infant, I hope you’ll join Bennett and me. The two of us are also planning to attend CMEE’s “Rocket Day” on October 12 and “Halloween Bash” on October 24. Check out CMEE on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see my Halloween costume this year.