In the last part of our series, we arrive at the busy period after the first six weeks. Baby classes and clubs aren’t exclusive to big cities. Even in villages, new moms and babies can find activities they like for a low price or even free. As a non-homebird mom, Ágnes Szabó shares her experiences.
Following the „struggles” of the first six weeks, the world opened up. I never understood mothers who spend years at home with their child/children. I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. As difficult it was to find trainings and activities pregnant, it became so easy with a baby.
First we checked out a mom and baby training class. It was held outside, so the crying during the most part of the first few sessions due to the colicky period wasn’t too disturbing. Fortunately, during these sessions, moms carry their babies on their backs a third of the time, so I only had to distract my baby girl’s attention from crying the rest of the class. However, the colicky period doesn’t last forever, so after a while she began observing the classes with a smile. A session is 90 minutes long and costs 1700 HUF (~4,8 €), but buying a pass can spare some money.
From the age of two months we could start going to mom and baby yoga classes. These are mostly about the moms, but of course in a baby-friendly way. As soon as the babies start to fret, we continue the class with some round dancing or baby exercises. My daughter enjoys these classes too, since she meets calm, well-balanced babies among calm, well-balanced mothers. Yoga sessions last 75 minutes, cost 1500 HUF (4,3 €) and there’s a discount pass available here as well.
Along with exercise, we started to frequent clubs as the postpartum period ended. First we went to a cloth diaper club. Here, besides the possibility of exchanging experience, there’s an active „baby life”, and you can borrow, try and touch cloth diapers of various types and brands. A few moms visit both the club and the yoga classes, so we managed to make some friends quite soon. Beside the cloth diaper club we also found a baby carrier club, which is quite similar, but here, moms can touch, try and borrow different carriers. Meanwhile, babies get to know each other and play together.
We go to mom and baby clubs too, where, aside from sharing experiences, mothers and professionals hold various lectures. I was recently asked to give a short talk about the logopedic aspects of introducing solid foods. It was great because after a few months I was finally able to „be a professional”, all this while having my baby daughter around. All clubs in the area are free of charge. Borrowing stuff usually has a minimal fee, but you can visit clubs without borrowing anything, so moms do not need to spend any money.
Unfortunately there are no ditty or baby dance clubs close by, but we managed to visit such events in other towns. I highly recommend them; I like these the most so far. Singing and dancing together with the toddlers is really uplifting. I even decided to take a course myself so mothers in my area also can also have a chance to come together.
We could start swimming at three months of age. My daughter has been enjoying it since the very first occasion. She likes evening baths at home, so I thought she’d enjoy swimming too. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. We’ve been going swimming every week ever since whenever we get the chance. Swimming classes are 40 minutes long and cost 2500 HUF (~7,1 €), but this includes the entry fee and attendants can join completely free of charge.
Since we live in a village, to join such events we always have to travel by car or adapt to the (not too frequent) bus services. Fortunately, I like to drive and I have no problem with public transport either, so this isn’t an issue for us. Going swimming would be very hard without a driver’s license because the place is more than a kilometer away from the bus stop between two villages, so it’s only reachable by foot along the main road. The other activities we could manage without the car, however. In the beginning, driving wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Often, since we usually travel only a few tens of kilometers, my daughter was either just about to fall asleep when we arrived, or she was fully awake and protested all along the way. We continued going by car regardless (I’m a crappy mom) and she got used to it, since then we didn’t have problems at all.
Thanks to the variety of activities, not only am I calm and well-balanced but also my baby daughter. She integrates seamlessly into new communities without getting freaked out by adults or toddlers. I think that due to my busy „past” life with parallel jobs, I couldn’t have stayed true to myself otherwise after having a baby. I need to leave the house, get to know people and „practice” my profession. But now I don’t want to do all this myself, I want to do it together with my daughter. Knowing homebird mothers and babies, I can tell you that we really live a happy, well-balanced life.
Thanks to all the getting around I have a very strong immune system (last time I needed antibiotics I was 8 years old), and now I see that being exposed to other babies is doing good to my daughter as well. She didn’t catch any disease so far, despite cases of flu, scarlet fever, hand-foot-and-mouth disease and „good stuff” like that among babies nearby.
We’ve been in the capital together several times as well, during these occasions we take the bus, the metro or travel by train, and our baby daughter, smiling and squealing, always winds her way into people’s hearts everywhere.
“Separation anxiety is a normal stage in an infant’s development, as it helps children understand relationships and master their environment. It usually ends around 2 years old, when toddlers begin to understand that a parent may be out of sight right now but will return later. The key feature of separation anxiety disorder, however, is when the anxiety exceeds what might be expected given a person’s developmental level.” psychologytoday.com
So I suggest that if you have a chance, you should try out as many activities with your baby/toddler/child as you can as they will have positive effects in the future, not to mention how much they can energize you. I’m not saying that everyone has the chance, but I’m sure there are more who do than those who actually try these activities. There are many, of course, who find it too expensive. I, for one, never been to a nail salon or a beautician (OK, I did, but only for eyebrow plucking), and I only get a haircut twice a year at max, so I can easily afford all the activities with all the money I spare. Since I use cloth diapers, I spare a lot of money on diapers too, money I rather spend on sports and experiences. I think nowadays everyone can find activities they find interesting, and if you exercise a bit of financial awareness, you’ll find them affordable. If not, you can still choose clubs that are free of charge as they are also great if you want to relax.
I’m quite curious about the separation anxiety period, but I think we’ll manage it just as smoothly.
Source of featured image: flickr.com
Translation by Ádám Hittaller