To recap, when we were invited to join the co-op, I was beyond excited. It made me so happy that we lived in a place where there was an organized babysitting group and we, somehow, were let into the club! Then, I completely switched and I became freaked out that we were sending our toddler down the path to childhood obesity because at each co-op party, she would eat badly and watch television.
Now, I'm back to loving our co-op. Here's what's happened since I last blogged about co-op.
- We sent Star to her 2nd co-op party which was fabulous. The family has a trampoline in the backyard, and they have house rules where the big kids can only jump as fast as the littlest kid on the trampoline. So, Star was in complete control on the trampoline and she had a great time. The other great thing about this family is that one of their kids is a vegetarian, so they are completely supportive of how we eat. Woohoo! At this co-op party, the trampoline wore out our daughter, so when we picked her up at 9pm, she was asleep in the parents' bed while all the other kids were watching the movie of the night and eating dessert downstairs. I now have a note in my address book that Star should attend all the co-op parties that this family hosts.
- A weekend, later, there was a full co-op potluck brunch where we got to meet the other families and socialize. It was great to get to know the other families.
- Serendipitously, I listened to To The Best of Our Knowledge's podcast on the topic of The Other Money. On it, there was a segment about a babysitting co-op in Madison which has been in operation since 2005. (By comparison, the co-op that we're in has been around since the 1970s.) One of the Madison moms interviewed talked about the benefits of being in this co-op. Among the benefits, she said that she and her husband and the other parents have a better social life than other parents that they know; they are more connected to other neighbors in their community; and she said that her kids have become comfortable around various adults and kids of all ages because of the co-op. This is a huge selling point to me. Our daughter is an only child, and bringing her up with community that we create is a very important value for us.
- We have noticed increased connections in our community! I ran into a co-op mom at a Dailey Method Class; and, we ran into a different co-op mom and her 2 daughters (one of whom is Star's age) while getting new iPhones at Bay Street. It's made where we live feel more and more like a community.
- The biggest thing is that we hosted our first co-op party last night, and it was a success! We were over-prepared and had too much food, but the kids we hosted, including Star, were happy. We followed the basic co-op curriculum which was explained to me by email.
- 5:30-7 - kids arrive. Have a pad/pen near door for parents to write down cell phone numbers. Kids play with toys, explore and do art.
- 7ish - dinner.
- 7:15-7:45 - more free play / art.
- 7:45 - dessert. We offered fruit popsicles.
- 8ish - movie. We watched a documentary on bees which probably was not the best choice. My bad.
- After movie - lights out and quiet time. Our daughter wanted to stay in the living room and sleep on the couches with the other kids, but she was too hyped up and eventually we moved her to her room so she could actually sleep.
- I was told that most parents pick up by 10pm and this was true. Then, I collapsed into my own bed.