Thanks to Dan for this guest blog entry & for sharing some insight as well as humor about how dads are not judgmental….
At the risk of sounding gender-insensitive, I feel as if women are better equipped than men in one key area: getting dressed. For example, I am quite certain that my wife would think, prior to an excursion to Gymboree, about the fact that shoes come off, and that everyone would see her socks. Alas, this thought did not cross my mind and I was shocked to find that the pair of socks I chose had a big hole in the right sock, exposing my right big toe to the world (or at least the NYC Dads Group). Fortunately, in the few events that I have attended, I have learned that we are not a very judgmental group of fellas. This is especially important in the context of a music class (I’ve now been to two with the group – last Wednesday at Gymboree and last month at the Music Together class in Battery Park) and here’s why:
If you haven’t attended a music class with your son or daughter, you might not have thought about this, but parents are generally “strongly encouraged” (read: required) to participate. Of course, it is easy to recognize that this makes for a more enjoyable class for our youngsters. However, it might be difficult (as was for me) for a lot of men to let loose and really enjoy dancing and singing in front of a group of people – that is, unless booze and karaoke are involved. That is why the dad’s group is essential! It provides an environment free from judgment, where dads can just let loose and have fun with their kids. At times, for example, when I’m drumming on a beach ball to the rhythm of “Come Together” by the Beatles, I think about how awkward it would be if it were just me with a group of moms and I’m glad that NYC Dads Group exists.
As for the class itself, it was quite enjoyable (though it felt a little more hurried and less organized than the Music Together class). The highlight for me at Gymboree Tribeca, however, was the playtime afterward in their padded indoor playroom. It was a pleasure letting my son roam around with a bunch of other kids and know that there weren’t too many opportunities for him to injure himself. I also enjoyed watching the look on the faces of the few moms who showed up with their kids to see a room full of dads with their kids when I’m sure they were not expecting it.