Craig F. provided this narrative – a guest blog entry detailing a unique experience (a drop-in class venue) for parents & their kids in NYC…
Wednesday afternoon, around 2:00. I am sprinting down 14th street with my son Henry strapped to my chest, hoping I am not late for our 2nd meetup with the NYC DADS GROUP.
Ends up my wife had given me the wrong time (thank god), and I had a half hour to spare before the event began. As I get there, I am still nervous; this is our 2nd time with the group, and although our first time was an absolute blast (visiting the kids section at the New York Public Library) I still worry, “What if my son Henry is the odd man out? What if he is not accepted?”
Well, that fear was squashed about 3 seconds after I rang the bell, when a very friendly Andrew (the guitarist and co-host of KIDS AT WORK) opened the door and welcomed us in. Not more then a few seconds after we get in the door, the other five dads waiting were already talking to Henry, urging him to come over and say hello to their children. I felt my fear of Henry’s rejection evaporate, and my enjoyment of the day grew steadily after that.
I have to say that the greatest thing about the NYC DADS GROUP is the comradeship between fathers, the humorous support, and understanding. The patience and good natured spirit of all those I have meet at these meetings is terrific. Easy going, with a lot of laughter. Lots of empathetic nods in responses to outrageous stories of exploding vomit, diaper calamities and other adventures. It helps to know that you are not the only stay at home/part time dad that at times has been a complete idiot when it comes to baby dilemmas.
So when the whole group arrived, we got started at around 2:30. Giant tubs of what looked like rainbow cheetos/packing peanuts were placed on the floor for the little guys. Ends up these multi-colored foam pieces are made from corn starch, so if your son or daughter happen to try to ingest a few ( which Henry certainly did) no big deal. The older tykes got a chance to try there hand at painting and drawing. The also had a great station of giant air bubble rap for the kids to stomp and pop.
Henry was thrilled with the foam pieces he was trying to eat, but again the best part was seeing him interact with the other little ones.
After the sensory stations were put away, the staff at KIDS AT WORK brought out some instruments and had the dads sit in a circle with their children, and sing songs. Poor Henry was getting a little tired at this point so although I’m sure he enjoyed the singing, he became much more fascinated with the lined up strollers and other peoples shoes. The only complaint I can think of is that the class seemed a bit long, but again, that may have been because Henry was ready for a nap shortly after the “sensory stations” were put away. Most of the other kids seemed to be really digging the music. The staff was terrific, and again, the dads were great. Can’t wait to do it all over again, and neither can Henry…