Yesterday during Katie's nap I was sitting on the couch, minding my own business, when I received an email from Blossom Birth. Blossom is a non-profit center dedicated to pregnancy, birth, and babies. They have natural childbirth prep classes, breastfeeding help, prenatal yoga, meditation, babywearing classes - in short, they're Crunchy Central for prospective and new parents. I even found my doula through them. Every so often, they send me emails with upcoming classes. One of them has been on my mind for a while. Here's the class description:
Blossom's Mom & Toddler Yoga class is perfect for you and your mobile baby! Join us for yoga postures which will include your child (and some just for you), a little meditation (yes, it's possible even with a toddler in tow!), some singing, games, and time to connect with other moms. As you know, toddlers are unpredictable- and so will be the flow of the class, following the needs of our children.
We have a mom's helper who assists with engaging the children, so that you may more fully enjoy the yoga practice. Treat yourself to this unique experience and add a bit of peace to your day with your busy toddler!
Intriguing, no? So yesterday's email had this added enticement: STARTS TODAY! It was 2:00. The class starts at 3:30. Katie was still asleep. Hmmm, should we try it? Why not? I packed all of the necessary snacks and waited for Katie to wake up. I skipped her wake-up bottle and just endured the screaming as I changed her and brought her downstairs for her snack. I fed her as quickly as I could, but before I knew it, the clock said 3:15. Blossom is 20 minutes away, without traffic. Ugh. But, I decided to go anyway. Hippies never start on time.
We got there late, of course, but I don't think we missed a whole lot. Katie was a little freaked out by the dim lights and all the mommies and babies on yoga mats, so she insisted on being held while I blundered around, trying not to interrupt the OMs while I got a yoga mat and found a place to sit. The instructor, a nice, smiling lady with white hair in a ponytail, told us that the yoga room was a safe place for the kids to explore, and not to worry about them while we did our poses.
After clinging to me with white knuckles for a few minutes, Katie gradually relaxed enough to explore a little. I noticed that the other little ones, who varied in age from 7 weeks to about 3, were sitting nicely on the mats with their moms. Katie wanted no part of that. Sit still? I don't think so! The instructor introduced the mom's helper, who turned out to be a 12-year-old girl. The girl did seem to love kids, but I don't think she really understood the concept of keeping multiple kids entertained at once. She thought she could just read a book aloud and that the kids would sit there, enthralled. Katie does love books, but she wasn't interested in hearing this girl read. She proceeded to take the book from the girl and bring it to me to read instead. :) Love my little cutie! (Don't worry, I made her give it back.)
Anyway, the class was really nice, in spite of the fact that having a so-called mom's helper was pretty worthless. I didn't mind interrupting my yoga poses to interact with Katie - that's what I do all day, every day, so I'm quite used to it. And I thought Katie did really well in this totally new, strange environment. It was the first time Katie had ever been around other kids without my involvement. I firmly believe in not being a helicopter mom, but I like to take advantage of opportunities to help her learn sharing and politeness. She's terrific about it, too, but she's little and needs gentle reminders. So it was weird not to say anything if she took another kid's toy. It was even weirder not to watch what she was up to. But sometimes you're upside down and other people are blocking your view...and I just let it go. Ahh.
Of course, about halfway through the class Katie discovered the sign-in table, complete with all sorts of goodies just waiting to be destroyed: pens, a clipboard, brochures, a plastic sign holder, etc. So I think I missed a good portion of yoga while extracting her from this newfound treasure. This could explain why I'm more sore today on one side than the other. So much for the room being a "safe place." And thanks a lot, mom's helper. Katie also found the cords to the mini-blinds, hooray! Basically, they haven't made a baby-proofed room that can stump Katie.
I do think the best part was the end, when the instructor and the mom's helper gathered up all the kids and gave them stamps and stickers and cookies, while the mommies laid on the floor for a few minutes of meditation. Come to think of it, lying on the floor doing nothing is ALWAYS the best part of yoga, toddlers or no. Oh, that and feeling so good afterwards. You'd think I'd do yoga every day, it feels that good, but...well, here I sit on the couch instead, surfing the web and blogging. Oh well. :)
All in all, it was a pretty good time! Nap times permitting, maybe we'll make it a regular thing. Namaste!