For as long as I can remember, I have always been a night person - happiest to stay up into the wee hours puttering away with my many projects, and then sleep in, then lose the day again until I suddenly realise by 4 pm or so that I'm still in my pyjamas. My partner Charles is like me too, and in many ways Adelaide seems to have inherited our love of the night as well.
In the night routine department we are lousy parents: Adelaide has never really had a bedtime and often it will suddenly become very late and I'll realise that we're all still up - Addie included. But I figure as long as she's happy, content, and there is no real pressure to wake up early then it's ok.. For now!
But then several months ago I began to notice that Adelaide and I have the best days together when we get out of the house. I realised because I am mostly happy inside all day without even getting dressed, that I needed to come up with a way to give me a small push to get up and out.
And so several months ago I became inspired to try and start a community parent and tot playgroup. To gauge interest, I first talked with as many neigbourhood moms and dads as I could, and seemed to get a positive response to the idea. I went ahead and booked the community room for two days a week. I am grateful for that - our community room is a perfect spot - bright and cheerful and basic kitchen facilities, tables and chairs, and lots of toys and books. I kept it simple, bringing some tea and snacks such as crackers and grapes, and also a few craft items like playdoh, crayons and paper. I also made up some mixed cd's of (grown-ups) music to play as well. And I asked other parents to consider bringing some snacks, dish towels, hand soap or the like as well.
The hardest part of this all, besides getting motivated, was putting myself out there and the fear that no one would ever show up! The day of the first group I arrived early, made a pot of tea, put on some music, and waited. I decided that worst off, Adelaide and I would have some nice one on one time together. But then, people began to arrive one by one and soon it was a full house.
And then something I never even expected happened - organising this group has became one of the most fulfilling things I have ever experienced. I have met so many amazing and wonderful children, mamas, papas, and grandparents. I have gone from having just a few mama friends to having dozens. I have met neighbours who live on our block, but I had never seen before in my life! People seem to (I hope!) enjoy coming to the group. It is amazing to me, how doing little things such as this can seem to spread happiness. And now when Adelaide and I walk around our neighbourhood, we know almost everyone by name.
It has now been four months, and about 50 little ones and their parents have attended our playgroup - On any given day anywhere between 5 and 15 children and their parents might come by. Some people are regulars, others have only come by a couple of times. In spreading the word, I have found that word of mouth and inviting people face to face has worked great, rather than relying on more anonymous methods. But I have now decided it is time to finally make up some posters and little flyers to put out around the neighbourhood, too.
For the longest time I couldn't come up with an idea, but one morning I was inspired by some of Addie's little wooden people toys that I bought at Daiso ages ago. Sarah Neuburger also makes the most wonderful little wooden people too, which I couldn't help but think of while making this. I began drawing little people, one by one, in Illustrator, but soon I ran out of ideas and so Charles drew up dozens and dozens for me - he's great like that! Once I had made up a big group of characters I arranged them all and added the text information (The typeface I used is Clarendon). Once everything was arranged, I printed them out onto cardstock, some full page 8.5 x 11", and then reduced by 50% and doubled up per page to make flyers as well. Once all printed, I trimmed them down and corner rounded them all. Done!