I don’t know about you mamas, but I’m over this winter! I’m ready to put the coats and hats and scarves away and take some long walks in the sunshine. I think Coraline is ready, too. Between the holidays and a revolving door of friends and family we have certainly had a busy winter, but I don’t think there’s quite enough going on inside our little house to satiate her growing curiosity. And I think the same goes for me: It’s taken about six months, but I finally feel like I’ve settled into my new life as a mom, the way one slowly settles into a new house, awaking one morning with the seamless recognition that “Ah, this is home.” So while I will always love my childless friends (and require their company for my sanity), I’ve been craving some mom-to-mom camaraderie. With these objectives in mind, Coraline and I have been hitting the town in search of new friends, fun, and a little skill building while we’re at it.
We started with swimming down at the Dutchess County Jewish Community Center. Though it took Coraline a few minutes to warm up to the new environment and people (we’ve begun having a wee bit o’ stranger anxiety), she was eventually her giggly, delighted self. Unfortunately, she was the youngest baby there by more than a year; but while swimming didn’t do much in the way of making new friends, it was still a nice departure from our regular routine. Next on our list was The Little Gym in Kingston. Their Bugs class is for babies four to ten months old, so it was guaranteed Coraline would get to hang out with others her age (and I’d meet a few moms on my level, if you know what I mean). We had an absolute blast — we sang songs, did fun exercises that help encourage motor development, and blew bubbles. It was a refreshing, positive, and playful environment, and certainly made a lasting impression on Coraline, who came home and finally started rolling over!
So while it’s easy to feel stuck and isolated here in the Valley during the winter months, especially if you’re home alone with baby all day, you can be sure that there are other moms feeling cabin feverish, too, and a number of activities to do about town until the warm weather returns. If you’re in need of a little friends and fun, here are a few helpful resources:
The Little Gym (Kingston, Wappingers Falls, Middletown)
Parent-child classes for kids ages four months to three years, plus gymnastics, karate, and birthday parties. You can sign up for a free intro class before committing to a membership.
Ulster County YMCA (Kingston) and Capital District YMCA (Albany, Greene, and Rensselaer Counties)
Both YMCAs offer swimming classes for infants as young as six months.
Hudson Valley Parent Magazine (Newburgh)
This free monthly periodical has all sorts of interesting articles and local info, and their website has a pretty extensive resource guide.
Dutchess County Jewish Community Center (Poughkeepsie)
They have swimming classes for kids three months and up, and Mommy & Me Music classes, too.
Hudson Valley Mommies (Ulster, Dutchess, and Orange Counties)
This networking site for the Mid-Hudson Valley has blogs, forums, and event calendars.
Child Avenue Playgroups Listings (Albany, Dutchess, Putnam, Rensselaer, Ulster, and Westchester Counties)
This page has a listing of playgroups and parenting networks organized by county.
Music Together (Poughkeepsie, Stone Ridge, and New Paltz)
This group offers parent-child music classes.