Enrichment: to make rich or richer especially by the addition or increase of some desirable quality, attribute, or ingredient.*
Bean is enrolled in exactly one formal enrichment activity: swimming. Really it’s more aptly called, “water awareness”. Her first class was this weekend. Three days later, I am still recovering.
As an organized mama, I was sure to put her bathing suit, swim diapers (one to wear, one extra), regular diapers, towels (one for Bean’s post-swim but pre-shower, one for Bean’s post-shower, and two for us adults), camera and change of clothes for us all into no less than three tote bags.
Arriving four minutes late, it was a rush into the shallow water where we barely received a hello from the instructor before being told to put her chin in the water. Not so fast, Teach: we needed to adjust to this whole scenario, which included 11 other babies and their 22 parents in the water with token grandparents on the side snapping photos, in addition to the general public using the pool.
We never did get her chin into the water, because at each try she was more intent on drinking copious amounts of chlorinated water that we thought she should avoid. We also focused on keeping her little ears from getting filled with water. But she actually did quite well: at one point we got a huge series of laughs out of her.
At exactly 24 minutes in the water she let the screams rip. Time to go! It was off to the shower where the water was too hot, then a quick change into clothes because it was time for her bottle – now.
To recover from it all, I went for the first time to BJ’s shopping club. Yes, I was so overstimulated that going to a mega-warehouse of goods was actually relaxing (they have a great value for Bean’s formula).
Too often I read about over-scheduled kids and starting kids out early on enriching experiences. The swim class reinforced to me that I want Bean to be a little scheduled, but more available for the impromptu fun. Some of that fun may be programs offered at the local library, like a “Mother Goose” story and music class we went to on Monday. But even more than that I want to be creative, and use paint brushes to doodle pretend creations on Bean’s face; stock pile interesting scrap paper for our future art projects; and make things like caramel and chocolate covered apples (well, more for hubby and me!)
I will keep asking myself whether what I’m doing for Bean is making her life richer, or just making us both crazy. What do you do to enrich your life or the life of those around you?