Free Friday At The Children’s Museum

The first Friday of every month The Portland Children’s Museum has a free evening for families to enjoy what the museum has to offer. We decided to get out of the house and take advantage of the free evening, even though Edith is a little young to appreciate the museum. We arrived and were greeted chaos. To say we were a little overwhelmed by the mass of families with busy little children running all around is an understatement.  We took a stroll around the museum, trying to orient ourselves, eventually searching out the baby room and making a beeline to it as soon as we found it.

PDXChildrens10

PDXChildrens12  PDXChildrens8

PDXChildrens2

Although there are many fun activities at the museum such as the water room, the play cafe/market and forest, among other things they were all a little too old and too packed for us.  The baby room on the other hand only had a few families in it and was much calmer. We played there for a bit with Edith and talked with a few other families.  Overall we had a wonderful time there as a family, however I’m not sure I would go to another free Friday night until Edith is a bit more mobile.

Not Exactly What I Had Expected

Cafe Au Play
Cafe Au Play

Cafe Au Play (Source)

There were plenty of great groups and resources for Lindsay as a mom and her and Edith as a mother-daughter pair back in Vermont.  Between the bi-weekly moms meet up group at the yoga studio, post partum yoga, and other mom’s groups there was plenty of avenues for her to get together with other moms outside of her own social circle (which proved quite handy since our social circle didn’t exactly contain a lot of other parents!).  One thing that you didn’t see so much (if at all) in Burlington were similar groups for dads and their children.  I mean obviously as she gets older, there would be plenty of opportunities to participate in her activities whether they be active, artistic or otherwise.  But, there wasn’t really any venue to meet and interact with other new dads.

I was pretty excited to find that there were a number of dad’s meet up groups in the area on meetup.com.  I found one group that seemed like a good fit. It was a group for new dads to get together and discuss how they were doing as new fathers.  The meetup was at a cafe that also serves as a childrens’ play area (it even has Play in the name).  As we prepared for the meetup, I started to worry that the group was more of a support group than a dad and children’s meet up group.  Lindsay and I both came to the conclusion that if the meet up was at a cafe that was meant to be a cafe for parents to take their children that it would at least be fun to introduce Edith to other children.  So, we got Edith ready and packed up and headed to the east side to grab something to eat and explore the area some before the meetup.

When I got there, Edith and I headed inside while Lindsay went off to try to get some work done. I ordered an Americano and panned the room while I waited, looking for the other members of the meet up group.  When I noticed them, I saw it was at this point, a couple of fathers quite a bit older than me, neither of which actually had their children with them.  I had also overheard them discussing postpartum depression, something I hadn’t experienced and couldn’t relate to. I started to get a little anxious and texted Lindsay asking for advice on what I should do.  I can get pretty anxious enough as it is when meeting new people, but realizing I’d be the only person at the dad’s meetup at the children’s cafe with a child and that, at least initially, I would struggle to find something to relate to these other dads with, I quickly changed my order from for here to “to go” and hurried out the door, back to the car with Edith in tow, hopefully without being noticed (I think the barista actually picked up on the situation as she asked me if I wanted to change my order to “to go” before I had a chance to ask her). While I think that it’s a great thing to have a support group like this for dads who are experiencing issues like postpartum depression and who generally are having a hard time with parenting, that just isn’t something I can relate to.

For now, I’ll continue trying to find a group of parents that I can relate to and make friends with for both myself and our family.