Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Nutmeg and I went to baby sign language class today at a place called Day One Center, a place for new parents. Just like the other place we have gone for classes, it is full of well heeled stay-at-home moms pushing expensive strollers. I was looking through the shop's educational toys and gear after class, feeling a little jealous of these moms who could afford this fancy stuff, when one of the moms came up to me and asked how old Nutmeg is. When I told her 6 and a half months, she exclaimed, "She can do so much!" Her baby was 5 and a half months, and, yep, she was kind of jealous of my baby. You know why? Cause my baby ROCKS! Really, she has the best little personality. And today was a great day. One of those days when she woke me up with smiles and chatter, grabbing my nose. We busted our butts getting to a cross-town bus, hauling the stroller and car seat on, and then walking quite a ways to the center after disembarking, all in an hour, and we got there on time. During the class Nutmeg was so bubbly as to be disruptive, but as you can imagine, a room full of moms with babies is never exactly an atmosphere of quiet concentration so it was OK. She would look right into the teacher's face, listen to her talk for awhile, then bust out with a few loud comments herself. Then she stood up with her hands on my shoulders (we were sitting on the floor) and reached some toys on a bench behind me, which the teacher said she could play with. Then she pushed the toys out of reach on the floor and wiggled forward to get them. We were sitting right next to the teacher, so she was pretty much putting on a show. Also, there was a 5-month-old girl on the other side of us, and she and Nutmeg had some really cute interactions. They smiled at each other, talked, and grabbed at each other's hands and faces. Nutmeg sucked on the other girl's hand, and her mom didn't mind. But then the other baby grabbed at Nutmeg's mouth and Nutmeg cried! I was surprised since she was the bigger baby.
Needless to say, I didn't catch all the signs the teacher was demonstrating in the rather chaotic room, but I learned a few important ones, and you're only supposed to use about 5 to start off with. After a couple months of you doing the signs all the time, the babies are supposed to starting using one or two by 8 or 9 months.
So going to this fancy place today, I realized that there are no services really targeted at us in this city. There are plenty of services for poor people here in our neighborhood -- family centers, drop-in tutoring for school kids, etc. And over on the west side there are these places with classes like baby sign language and the one Daddy's now taking Nutmeg to each Tuesday -- "Boogie to the Bitty Beat." (she loves that one) Those places cater to people who are well off, judging from the prices and the clothes and strollers on the people who turn up there. Are we the only middle income people in San Francisco?
Daddy and I talked about it tonight and decided that maybe it's because only rich people and poor people stay in the city when they have kids. Everyone else does the "sensible" thing and moves out to the suburbs.
After work tonight Daddy bought a jogging stroller that was listed on the Berkeley Parents Network e-mail list. The people selling it lived in a pretty bad area of Oakland, which we totally didn't expect. In the past all the people I've bought baby stuff from have lived in really nice places. In fact, getting to check out other people's houses is one of the pluses to buying second hand. Anyway, brave Daddy made it past the crowd of punks hanging out on the corner and the seller's many alarm systems and dogs, (really!) and brought home a $50 jogging stroller. Nothing motivates my husband like a new toy ;)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

consider teaching your baby American Sign Language instead of Baby Signs