Thursday, September 14, 2006

What I Learned at Baby School

So far, no news on the results of Julia's test on Monday. Thank you all for your well wishes and I will let you know what we find out as soon as we hear! She was a real trooper and though it was painful and she cried, afterward she got a Big Bird doll and ate lunch with Daddy in the hospital cafeteria, and was in a fairly cheerful mood. But since Monday she's been saying, "Julia don't yike dat test!" Indeed.

Yesterday was the first day of Julia's fall ECFE class. For non-Minnesotans, ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) is a birth-through-pre-K educational program through the public schools, consisting of weekly classes that include parent/child play as well as parent education. It's kind of a "mommy-and-me" type class--great for babies as well as for mamas who want to connect with other parents. It's wildly popular, affordable (fees are on a sliding scale), supportive, and fun, and naturally, our Republican governor has drastically cut the state-wide program during his time in office because he apparently doesn't think that pro-social services that help families are important. But that's another post.

Anyway, I trundled off with both babies yesterday morning. The class is for two-year-olds, but you can bring infant siblings along to hang out in their carseats if they're little enough. Class was in a new building we hadn't been to before, so I wasn't exactly sure where to park or which door to go into. Here is what I learned yesterday:

At four weeks post-C-section, when you haven't done anything physical since a week before the baby was born and your body is still pretty weak, carrying your hefty newborn in her infant carseat while also corralling your two-year-old through a big parking lot with your purse and a diaper bag over your shoulder is a total workout. Especially when you accidentally park by the wrong door and have to walk down a long sidewalk to the correct one. You are pretty sure all of this violates the "no lifting anything heavier than your baby for six weeks" rule. When you get in the building and find the classroom, you are completely sweaty and you are happy to see your fellow postpartum friend with her toddler and her five-week-old, looking equally damp and dishevelled and saying, "I'm completely exhausted now!" After nursing your newborn through class while simultaneously monitoring your toddler during the joint parent-child playtime and doing action songs during circle time, when it is time to go you will discover that reversing the above scenario while now also carrying a wet painting to bring home for the refrigerator door and battling a lunchtime blood sugar crash and a sudden attack of nursing-related dehydration is even more of a workout. The rest of the day, you will crave water, sugar, fast calories and slow breathing. You will be proud that you all made it to the first day of "baby school," and you will assume that this will get easier with time.

(Oh, by the way: Julia did great, had a blast with the huge sand table, the two-level playhouse, the dried pasta station where the kids could dig in mounds of uncooked penne and rotini with shovels and buckets, the play kitchen area, the paints....Two of her playgroup buddies are in her class, and she even managed the mama-separation time just fine, saying afterward "Julia played with teacher when mamas went to other room!" Since this was the first "separating" ECFE class she's been in, it was quite a milestone for her. Tonight she goes to a special daddy-and-toddler ECFE class after supper. Pretty exciting!)

No comments: