Oh the joys of new mommy-hood! Waking up at an ungodly hour, feeding, praying the baby goes back to sleep long enough to pour yourself a cup of coffee and then after, perhaps, another round of feeding, then a little playtime - maybe you have one of those mat things where stuffed animals dangle in your baby's face, which they attempt to swat away because, yeah, get that freaking monkey out of my grill - and then what?
It's only 9 a.m. and you have eight more hours until it's socially acceptable to have a glass of wine, maybe seven hours. You have ten more hours until you can put the baby back to bed! What are you going to do all day?
I feel you, new moms and dads. And as a new mom of two tykes, I'm not only frantic to find ways to entertain the bros, I also have no interest in double-spending on said entertainment. I've made it my summer mission to take advantage of every free (or really cheap) baby thing possible and I will now share these with you.
Gymboree There are multiple Gymborees all over town, as well as outside the loop, all of which offer a free trial class. "Gymboree for babies?" you may be scratching your head at what goes on. Gymboree with your infant is like watching an episode of Barney except there is no purple dinosaur but rather a teacher who is called "Miss" Somethingorother and she is the nicest person you've ever met in your life. And while your baby screams at the top of his or her lungs, Miss Amazing Personality just smiles and shakes bells in his or her face. It's lovely. Bring a blanket and your humility. The Motherhood Center
The Motherhood Center is an oasis of mommylove located in the River Oaks area on West Alabama. Not only do they have a store filled with anything new-mom you can think of, but they are 100 percent Houston, which is always nice to support. On Tuesday and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. they have a mommy and baby yoga class that consists of mostly mom-centric poses in which you interact with your baby who's hanging out on the mat watching. It's a nice balance between getting back into some sort of shape and having a place where your baby can poop loudly and no one thinks anything of it. To drop in to the class is $16, but the first time you go they give you a lovely little bag filled with flyers and there is a free class coupon. Take advantage of it the next time.
Crescendo Family Music Located out of the Nia Moves studio in the Heights, Crescendo Family Music uses the Music Together curriculum to engage your baby in musical exploration. The interesting thing about their classes is that they are mixed-age, meaning your four month old may be in a class with a four year old. They have a whole philosophy behind this practice. Who cares? Take a free demo class that takes place either on Wednesdays at 4:30 or Saturday mornings. Make sure to get there early and don't bring your stroller because there's no ramp, which I learned the hard way.
Currently, on Thursdays at 2 p.m. the Heights Library has free baby yoga, and this yoga is really for your baby. It's pretty frickin' adorable too. Babies are stretched and flipped and flown in the air on their guardian's bent legs; it's exactly as you picture baby yoga complete with a lovely, older woman who looks like she probably has the most amazing recipe for tabbouleh salad. The schedule may change around a bit, and they also offer the class at the Kendall Library, Fridays at 2:30 p.m. so check out the website for the most up to date times. You might as well take out some board books while you are there.
The Little Gym, which is also a chain with multiple locations, offers a free trial class in which your little "bug" can learn all about his or her "three-dimensional learning." What does that mean? I have no idea, but I'm looking forward to finding out at my free class. I fully expect my babies to be doing headstands after their first visit.
Kindermusik Don't let the "kinder" in Kindermusik throw you into thinking your non-mobile baby isn't welcome; he/she is totally allowed to come and bop to some jams. There are quite a few locations outside the loop and one in Bellaire that offer up a try out class for nada moolah. And according to this amazing video about the classes, your child is still welcome whether he/she is a musical prodigy or not. Of course, some other parents might not want to associate with your child then, but screw 'em.
My Gym If you live in the loop and taking a drive with your kiddo is almost better than taking a free class because it will put them to sleep, trek out to The Woodlands or Katy to a My Gym. Both offer free trials for "Little Bundles" (six weeks to six months) and "Tiny Tykes" (six months to 13 months). The classes include movement, singing, dancing, and chatting it up with other moms; it almost sounds like a bunch of drunk chicks at a ladies night, if it wasn't during the day with your baby and there is no alcohol involved.
The Galleria My older sister spends many hours a week going to her local galleria with her children and I always found this particularly odd, as I avoid the Houston Galleria like it was filled with zombies out for brains. But the other day, I had an errand to run at the Memorial City Mall and the babies had an amazing time people watching. We walked around the mall for a long while, taking in the sights and sounds and free samples of tea at Teavana. If you ignore all of the other people there, it's a nice day outing with your kiddos in tow. And walking around the mall is completely free, unless you are a compulsive shopper.
On Thursdays at 10 a.m. you can go bond and bitch with other new moms at The Woman's Hospital's Birth, Baby and Beyond Support Group. If "support group" sounds a little too huggy for you, think about the fact that it's a free thing that you can take your baby to where he/she can barf to his/her hearts content and no one will say boo. Everyone there will be covered in barf too.