My daughter is 2.5 years old and somehow I have been lured by the seductive call of ACTIVITIES.
In the past couple of weeks, I have signed Gwen up for three separate activities, totalling just over $200. She will be so damn enriched I won't know what to do with her. I should note, not all these activities happen at the same time, but you have to register and pay for them upfront or else you will lose your spot. Thus the giant outpouring of money, which I'm sure parents of older kids are very used to at this time of year.
I moan and groan, but actually I am pretty excited about all these activities. My only bugbear is that it's incredibly hard to find activities for kids that take place outside of working hours - which has the two-fold effect of making working parents feel both marginalized and guilty, and also ensures that any weekend/evening classes fill up within 12 hours of the Leisure Guide being published. More on that in another post.
So, here's what our well-rounded Gwen will be doing in the next few months:
Starting in October, she'll be attending a Saturday morning session of Music for Young Children. This is the most expensive program she's taking and also the one I am most excited about, as she adores music and will no doubt really enjoy this. I have to give a shoutout to my friend Robin T., who works for the City and thus must have some connections. When she saw that there were no MYC classes offered outside of working hours, she contacted the teacher to find out what the class minimums were, and then emailed a bunch of us working moms with a proposal: if we could get 6+ students together, the teacher would book a weekend class at our convenience. Voila! Saturday morning session of MYC. I AM STOKED.
In November, Gwen will be starting Tumble Bumble classes at one of the local rec centres. I'm pretty excited about this class, too: we've attended a drop-in session previously, and it was fantastic. Picture a giant gymnasium filled with all kinds of stuff that kids might want to play with: play tunnels, basketballs (with accompanying child-sized hoops), hockey sticks and nets, beanbags and traffic cones, wagons, hula hoops, those gigantic blue mats for bouncing on ... just everything. It's all set out for them to enjoy and there is very little structure to the program: it's just a 60-minute "have at 'er" for the kids' enjoyment. I had to work a little creatively to make this happen, as well: it IS scheduled during my work hours, but at least it's at the end of the day (3:30pm rather than 10:15am) so I just have to leave work a bit early, get Gwen from daycare, and head to the class. My new job often requires extra working hours, which they are only too happy to give back at my convenience, so I've worked this out without losing pay.
Then in January Gwen starts swimming lessons. This is not so much exciting as just a necessity. Nevertheless, this her third round of swimming lessons will be a "transitional level where preschooler is transferred from the care of the parent to the instructor" which kind of makes me tear up a bit. Soon - too soon, probably - she will be ready to attend the "unparented" class. I have no words to express how profound these transitions feel.
Speaking of enrichment, September's fresh start and the emphasis on the school/activity season really emphasizes to me that April is just around the corner. In April Gwen will be turning three and ready to start preschool. I have mixed feelings about this milestone. While I am so excited for her to be growing up, I also feel blindsided by how quickly time is going. Which is why I think it's that much more important for me to make time to attend classes with her while I'm still welcome to do so.