Sitting at home day in and day out with my lovely little boy is not something I can do. I'd go cabin fever crazy! I NEED to interact with other people, especially those who can actually talk. During the first 2 months of Paxlet's life, I was content with making trips to the store, meeting a friend or co-worker for lunch downtown and on the rare occasion, hooking up with a friend to hang out, Paxlet always in tow. But I still needed a bit more than that.
Close to Paxlet's 2 month birthday, neuvola scheduled a group neuvola meeting where the moms who had approximately 2 month old babies got to meet up. I mentioned this event back when it happened and I'm still of the same opinion of it: not much will come out of it in terms of meeting other moms that might become friends to hang out with. As such, I've taken matters into my own hands.
Paxlet and I started testing out different mom & baby clubs/groups this last month. There are
many places and organizations that offer weekly events for
moms to attend with their babies, toddlers and young kids (under school age). Each of these places are slightly different from each other, but generally with the same idea. So far, we've tried out a few of these groups. We've been to some at
the Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliiton (MLL) (Mannerheim Children's Protective Services), the local Lutheran churches, from the city and an international group
(privately run, but open to anyone). If Paxlet and I want, there are enough groups happening during the week (Monday through Thursday) that we can go to a different group each day, sometimes more than one each day, if we want.
There are two MLL groups we have gone to so far and one more that I am thinking of checking out. The first MLL group is for moms and babies under 1 year old. It lasts for 2 hours, but you don't have to stay the entire time. I like this group quite a bit for the main fact that all the kids are under a year. It is also quite nice to be with other moms who are on their first kid; the same situation as me. The second group I tried out just this past week for the first time and I'm not too sold on it. It is closer to home, but it is for kids of all ages and not very organized. Also, there is no sort of program, so everyone just runs around as they wish. Not that that is bad, but it is a bit crazy.
We've been to two different church groups, one a 5 minute walk from our home and the other a 45 minute walk (although, we go there by bus). The church groups are more meant for slightly older kids, but everyone is welcome. These groups are quite organized with an opening prayer, a couple of songs/hymns, a biblical story and then one more prayer before the older kids run off to get some juice and cookies. Then the kids either have a craft to do, especially if there is a holiday or event coming up, or they can play. During snack and play time, the adults (mostly moms, a couple of dads, grandmas and nannies) get a snack of their own and a chance to talk. Then the last 15 minutes, of the hour and a half, is spent with everyone together again singing and acting out some songs. I like these groups decently well, even with the churchy stuff.
The international group is the only one where I speak English, as some of the mom's are from other countries (and might now speak Finnish) or their partner is from another country. I like this group, because I can speak English, but there is no program whatsoever and some of the kids are a bit unruly, not to mention LOUD.
Now that we've tried some of the groups, I thinking of which ones I would like us to go to regularly. I also hope that by attending some of these groups a bit more, I will find a couple of moms who would like to meet outside of the groups for some play dates. I just worry that many of the moms will shy away from me because of my less than native Finnish speaking skills, even if I do speak and understand the language quite well. In any case, these groups are definitely helping to get us out of the house, give me some adult conversation and beat loneliness.