But then what do you do at home all day??? And is that ok for you?
I have heard this sentence so often this year during my maternity leave and most of the time it just made me laugh so much!
Not only am I amused by the image that the people asking have of the “stay-at-home” mom, but also I have never seen it as a burden!
I have absolutely loved my year of maternity leave and have not stayed at home much with Baby Lifestylette.
So what did we do then apart from housekeeping, sipping coffee with friends on the phone and doing nappies? I suppose that belongs to the cliché that people have when asking…
We have been really lucky with the weather this year so we have actually done LOTS of cool stuff – trying to group this in our favorite outdoors activities, I came up with our top 7.
As these really are the faves, there is no ranking of preference or so - apart maybe the first which is her absolute favorite!
First top activity really goes to the zoo. Baby Lifestylette has been "receptive" to animals ever since the summer and I often go to the zoo with her.
She loves staring at the animals - and I will do my best to make their noises so she can recognize later in her little books at home.
Granted, some I really can't do - what does a camel do?
We are very lucky in Frankfurt as we have a zoo which is easy to reach with the local metro (U-Bahn) and we actually got a yearly card so I can go anytime I wish PLUS don't have to queue - pure luxury!
And for those wondering, I actually even went before she was receptive to animals – lots of other babies & kids go to the zoo and at the time she enjoyed discovering that she was not the only baby in this world :)
2. Park walks & games
We often go to parks and have a look at ponds, ducks in the ponds. With autumn and all the leaves changing color and falling, she was amazed by all these funny looking yellow blobs on the ground that she had learned to recognize.
She is too small yet to walk so we only look, I carry her so she can touch the "unknown".
Given that we have been so lucky with the weather, I often could just lay a rug and she could crawl and play and sometimes would even dare crawl outside the rug aka comfort zone and touch leaves or so. So exciting!
If you are in Frankfurt, we quite like to go to Rebstockpark which is a little outside of the city but really big, has space for all (and for pick-nicks) and a pond that even has at least a couple of beavers which obviously fascinates her!
3. Discover a nearby quaint town
This one is a good mix for "old" & young - we used the fact that we rarely stay in Frankfurt to discover some quaint towns in the surroundings on the week-ends.
There are lots on our list - think Rhine Valley - but this fall we opted to discover the closest to Frankfurt. After having seen the new old town of Frankfurt (see my previous post), we visited Königstein.
Königstein was practical for us given the fact that we could walk through the old town and have lunch in a typical German restaurant – and enjoy fresh chanterelle mushrooms - before walking up to the castle ruins and through the forest.
So lots of fun stuff for Baby Lifestylette to look at and get a good breath of fresh air!
Then we went back to the old town for a traditional cake and coffee before heading to a nearby playground and off home.
We like those day trips as all get something out of it and it is not the typical baby-only entertainment.
4. Wildlife Parks
We are very lucky in Frankfurt to be close to a beautiful wildlife park: Alte Fasanerie Hanau.
We love going there - I was a bit sceptical at first but then remembered as a child, we used to go all the time to such parks in the UK and loved it. And I must admit it did bring back some childhood memories.
You walk through kilometres of forest with lots of reserves for different animals: wild boar, deer...even wolves! For parents there is lots of coffee - #coffeeaddict ;) - at the entrances: yay!
The park is so huge, that even on sundays, it doesn't seem that full and you get to see and show the little ones all the animals.
For the day-shy animals, there are feeding times so you can really get a good view - for wolves in particular, this was great!
5. Riverside walk
If you are lucky enough to be in a city with a river, then you will know what I am talking about!
Water, shimmering, moving, making a constant, calm but intriguing ‘floc, floc’ noise attracts all ages.
Baby Lifestylette loves to go for a walk along the riverside - she is fascinated by water, can see boats which are also "new", but most of all there are ducks, geese and seagulls - and lots of other feathered friends. To be honest, we just really stick to "the ducks that say quack quack", I just cant think of other noises for the other ones ;)
When I manage to actually remember, I have dry bread to feed the ducks: simple pleasures bound to make her laugh! Most of the time though I forget and we just run after them.
Also riversides are great for dog spotting - and, as you may recall from my recent post, dogs are pointed at and shrieked at in joy with "Wawa".
6. Botanical Garden
A lot of cities also have a botanical garden. I went to ours - the Palmengarten - the first time, a bit by accident, because the other mother I was meeting had a yearly card and it was a convenient meeting point.
I was a bit unconvinced if this would be interesting at all for Baby Lifestylette. Well, I am so very glad that we tried this out. She surprised me by her interest for particular things.
She most enjoyed looking at apple trees, bending under the weight of apples – I think I had never seen that many.
Also, she was interested in seeing bamboo and touching it. It is so funny how you open your eyes to new things with little ones, I never would have thought that of all things in the botanical garden she would set her loving eyes on bamboo!
Since then we have often been for a walk, the botanical garden also has ponds of all sorts as well as playgrounds which brings me to our last point of our top 7...
7. Playgrounds, playgrounds, playgrounds!
What to say more to this point actually?
Other than: children love those – but that is common knowledge ;)
We started going pretty early on as Baby Lifestylette would just stare with huge eyes at this paradise world with babies and children running around and climbing on strange new toys and sitting in this funny yellowy powder they call sand!
Over the course of the summer we started putting her in baby swings where she could just sit in for ages!
Now we try and check wherever there is a playground of any size on our way – especially helpful when I had all these interviews! – to have a little surprise for her.
And something tells me we will not stop anytime soon from going to those playgrounds, playgrounds and playgrounds :)