At the start of every Mother Goose session is a question that each of the parents are supposed to share their answer to, after introducing themselves and their child. It serves several purposes: in the context of the group, which is about learning songs and stories to share with your kids, it's about being able to speak in front of a group and tell a story. There's also the idea that we all get to know each other a little bit. And, in the case of questions like, "What's your favourite rainy day activity to do with your child?", you might learn some good tips and tricks from other people's answers.
That is the precise question that was asked last week, at our first Mother Goose session (actually, it wasn't the first: I found out once we got there that it had started the week before, but I'd written it down wrong and so we missed the first session altogether. Which is completely unlike me, before or after becoming a mother.). Oh, and by the way, we got there late, so I was already flustered, because I am generally never late. I calmed down by reminding myself that it was a class for parents and toddlers, and that toddlers are notoriously difficult to rush out the door, and that people are pretty damn understanding about running a few minutes late to functions such as this. I was right, too: at least four parent-and-toddler pairs arrived even later than we did.
So, Gwen and I found ourselves a seat in the circle, and the leader asked this question, and then each parent was to introduce themselves and their child and answer the question in turn. I was the third person and I was struck immediately with a cold panic. Favourite rainy day activity? What the hell? I don't have a favourite rainy day activity. It's been raining for five months straight, one day is pretty much like another. Gwen does whatever she wants to do and that's her favourite activity. And I do housework, or schoolwork, or volunteer work, or if I'm lucky I just get to sit on the couch and read my book for a few minutes. What's the weather got to do with anything?
Well, naturally, this quandary made me feel all the more clearly the primary difference between myself and all the other parents in the group. See, it's Friday at 9:30 am. Most working parents are at work, therefore, most people in a Mother Goose class held at that time are not working parents. But I am, because I'm lucky enough to have 3 Fridays a month off and doubly-lucky enough to have found a spot in a Mother Goose class that fits that schedule. But now, here I am .... a working mother .... in a room full of women who are doubtless more dedicated, more self-sacrificing, more attached, more devoted, and more loving than I am. The kind of women who have just dozens of rainy day activities ready to go at the drop of a ... um ... well, a raindrop, naturally.
It wasn't like that, of course. There were a couple of kids there with their grandparents while, presumably, their parents were at work. One kid was there with both her parents, because her mom is a substitute teacher and her dad has Friday mornings off. It was, as usual, all in my head. And still, that question loomed.
I couldn't think of a single thing that had anything to do with rainy days, except for the activity Gwen and I had done the previous Friday, which was to put our rain boots on and go stomp in puddles at the playground. Okay, it was actually a sunny day when we did this, but we couldn't have done it without the several days of rain prior to that, so it counts, right? Right?
Omission of truth ruled the day, because I failed to mention in my answer that we had done our puddle-jumping on a sunny day, and that I was a working mom. So all was well. I was so busy congratulating myself for a near miss that I forgot to listen to all the other parents' (and grandparents'!) answers on how they spend rainy days, so I didn't learn a damn thing.
Footnote: While at the library today, I learned that Toddler Time, which was previously held on Tuesday mornings, has been moved to Saturday mornings. I could not be happier! There are tons of parent-and-kid-oriented activities in this city, but ALL OF THEM happen during the work week. It's like the City of Nanaimo has not noticed that this isn't actually 1952, and most parents have to work. So I am really glad to have something to take Gwen to on the weekends! Hooray!