Bouncing Baby Girl.

Twice last month we went to Dynamic Gymnastics Open Gym for little ones ages 0-5. If you are in the Northern Virginia area, definitely check it out. The first time we went, my two girls and I had the entire gym to ourselves. (The second time we invited some friends.)



The Teenager has been a gymnast for years, and she’s lobbying for me to put Babystar in gymnastic classes. I’m not ready for that kind of commitment, so Open Gym is a great compromise. Babystar gets to play on the cool equipment and bounce around at her own pace. Plus she loves watching her big sister do ‘cool tricks.’

The 0-5 Open Gym at Dynamic Gymnastics is every Monday and Wednesday from noon to 1pm, $10 per kid.

We also paid another $120 to continue our membership at Nook and bought a 3-visit pass to Busy Bees for $36 plus a $15 2-for-1 deal at Busy Bees with a friend.

There are millions of playgrounds in the area and Babystar really does adore the parks. But I think the indoor play spaces are a nice change for both of us. Not all playgrounds have fences. And all playgrounds have at least one tempting but highly dangerous for a not-quite-two-year-old feature. And that highly dangerous but superfine feature is always Babystar’s most favorite thing. Every. Single. Time. So playing indoors is much more relaxing for ME. And I’m the boss, applesauce.

Parents, where do you stand on free parks versus pricey indoor play spaces?


Winter is Numbing.

Winter means indoor play spaces.

Indoor play spaces mean germs.

Germs mean sick babies.

Sick babies mean sick mamas.

When sick babies and sick mamas FINALLY feel better, they want to play. So we go to an indoor play space and puke and repeat.

We were lucky enough to have a few surprise parkweather days this winter, but we have mostly been spending all that overflowing toddler energy at indoor play spaces. Or literally puking on my head. Extremes are so IN this season.

We usually go to Busy Bees. Mostly because Babystar loves it so much. As soon as we are close, she starts chanting ‘balloon, dog, balloon.’ But actually mostly becuase it’s next to a Chick-fil-A and they sell magic chicken sandwiches with the superpower to instantly brighten my day.

I buy 3-visit passes to Busy Bees for $36. But if we show up in the last hour, it’s only $10 so I pay that instead. I have already spent $56 this calendar year at Busy Bees but I still have one visit on the card. Sometimes the toddlermonster lets me sit by the wall and zone out for a few minutes. Worth it.

We  went to the recently opened Nook in north Arlington, which is basically the opposite of Busy Bees. It’s a ton of fun but full of neutral colors and imagination-based play stations. We loved it and will go back but it’s pricey at $20 (we went for $15 this visit with our MOMS group). Babystar made a painting (with really cool stamping markers so it’s basically pointillism right?), played in messy kinetic sand (that messy stuff they have near the front at every Brookstone in every mall), cooked some fake dinner, and tried to move in to this super cool tunnel with STARS in the ceiling (pinpricks of light but the babies were fooled). I didn’t snap pictures because I had other adults to talk to (AWESOME!) that day. Oh, plus they have free cookies. Hm. Now I want to go back.


We drove up to Maryland, to check out the College Park Aviation Museum. Babystar loves airplanes and she had a blast at this museum. It was completely deserted so she had all of the toys in the hands-on area to herself. She was actually free (under 2) but the Teenager and I were a combined $7. If we were closer, I would take her there all the time. (When we were leaving, the Secret Service rolled up and locked down the tiny airport next door. It was a few days before the inauguration and we totally wonder who was flying into College Park. And also, why? D.C. is kinda far away, especially in traffic.)

We checked out another soft play room close to home. The Chinquapin Park Recreation Center Soft Play Room is REALLY cool. It’s sort of small but with an extra bouncy floor and lots of tall things to climb on. Plus there is a giant ball pit. (And weird green lighting; I don’t know what that is about.) Babystar loved it and would want to go every day, but it’s $5/half hour. We spent $10 but she would have played another hour in there.


We space these out with free library story times (that always include lots of songs and wiggle time) and the free soft play room at the local community center. And parks, weather permitting. And if I’m being honest, sometimes I count running around Target as her outing for the day.

The other half of the days have been spent indoors on the couch. Sick. Sick. Sick. I got Babystar hooked on Super Wings (an airplane cartoon on Sprout — she LOVES airplanes) during a particularly bad stretch where the whole fam was sick, and now she is a Super Wings junkie. If the TV is off she just starts chanting, ‘airplanes, airplanes.’ Crap. Why didn’t I stick with the freaking penguin documentaries??


Toe Tax.

We forgot Babystar’s socks for our adventure at Busy Bees. Well, what really happened was that my rock star husband cleaned out the minivan and took all of her discarded socks inside. And I sort of depend on there being a layer of socks in the back seat so I never pack any socks and ANYWAY we had to buy a pair in order to play.

Babystar never keeps her socks on anyway.

In fact, I didn’t snap a single picture before she took them off.

But NBD because we go play at Busy Bees at least once a week and she is free until she turns one year old. Which she has not done. So we have not given them any money ever. The $2.12 was worth it. And now there are at least two new socks on the floor of the minivan somewhere.