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Danette Dooley
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Moms make the most of tykes' together time

She's yet to celebrate her second birthday, but Ava Sears has no problem picking her 11-month-old brother, Chase, out of a crowd of babies.

"He's my brother, Chasie," Ava says, walking up to a high chair and planting a kiss on the nine-month-old's chubby hand.

The gang's all here: (from left) Tyson Cullimore, Chase Sears, Ava Sears,Layla Chipman, Matthew Devereaux, Lucas King and Mia Keats.

She's yet to celebrate her second birthday, but Ava Sears has no problem picking her 11-month-old brother, Chase, out of a crowd of babies.

"He's my brother, Chasie," Ava says, walking up to a high chair and planting a kiss on the nine-month-old's chubby hand.

The Sears siblings and their mother, Terri-Lynn Sears, spent Monday afternoon at a play date in Mount Pearl.

These mother and child get-togethers have become increasingly popular over the last few years.

Caring for two children under two can be trying, Sears admits.

"Chase got eight teeth all at about the same time and that makes for some long nights," she says.

"Getting invited to a play date like this is great for me for me as a young mother. We talk about everything from our baby's sleep patterns to a good movie that we may have seen recently with our husbands."

Ava is the oldest of the seven babies in the group, and she seems to set an example for the younger tots.

When she passes her brother a purple Barney, another child picks up a plastic guitar and hands it to another baby.

Some of the mothers are first-time parents, while others have older children at home. All are eager to socialize.

Monday's play date had a Valentine's theme, with all the babies dressed in red. Most of them were content to sit on the floor with toys, except 16-week-old Mia Keats, who watched the fun from the safety of her mother's lap.

Mia's mom, Chantel Hussey, has a three-year-old son, Hunter Keats, but he wasn't at the play date.

"Getting out and talking to grown-ups helps me not go insane," Chantel jokes.

Kelly Devereaux says the outings are a great way for her only child, 11-month-old Matthew Devereaux, to learn from other children.

"Matthew doesn't normally get to see many babies," his mom said.

"But he learned how to stand one day after watching another baby. He comes here and he soaks it all in, which is good for him."

The play dates are also good for her.

"You get lots of advice here from other parents," Devereaux says. "Some of them have babies who are older than yours so they know about what to expect when a child is teething."

This is the third play date for Melissa Stevens and her daughter, six-month-old Layla Chipman.

"I plan my outings around Layla's schedule because she sleeps a lot, but it's excellent for the both of us to get out together, especially when I know there are going to be other babies and mothers around because it's great to have a chat and get some tips," Stevens says.

Cindy Cullimore has two sons, eight-month-old Tyson and six-year-old Tyler. She said the play dates give Tyson a chance to play with children his own age.

"It's good to get Tyson out with other babies because even though he has an older brother there's a big age difference between them. And because of that big age gap, Tyson is very close to me. Having him mix with other children takes that attention away from me," Cullimore said.

Play date host Kim Dooley, whose son Lucas King recently turned one, said there are many advantages of getting together.

"I've given Kelly a Pamper to try for Matthew that's a size bigger to see if she'd like to buy the next size. And we love watching our kids play with other babies' toys. That way we have a chance to see if they really like it before we go out and buy it for them."

Dooley says much of the adult conversation is about making the transition from maternity leave to work. She's the only one of these seven moms who has returned to work so far.

"You have so much anxiety about leaving your baby and you think it's only you. But then, when you talk with other moms, you see they're dreading the day when they have to do the same thing. Getting feedback like that is why we all love getting together so much," she said.

danette@nl.rogers.com

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    More than eight years ago, my daughter was part of such a group. There were seven or eight babies and first-time moms. Some of them are still connected as they live in the same neighbourhood. My grandson, Caleb, who will be eight years old soon, still contends that Jacob is his 'best bud'. We all know it goes deeper than that. It's that 'group thing'!!

  • Uncle Buck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Great article, my wife likes the idea. It should also be noted, that is is a great time for the Dad's to pry open the shed door which has probably not been accessed since the baby arrived

  • Jody
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    How do I find out more information about these play dates? I'd be interested in attending with my 15 month old :)

  • Bernadette
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    There are also other playgroups around the city...some of them are Daybreak Parent Child Center, Brighter Futures and YMCA.

  • marg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Beautiful article. I wish there was something like that around when I had my baby 26 years ago....

  • Melissa
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Excellent story! I hope all new moms get a chance to get out with their babies and socialize with others. We had a great time!

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    More than eight years ago, my daughter was part of such a group. There were seven or eight babies and first-time moms. Some of them are still connected as they live in the same neighbourhood. My grandson, Caleb, who will be eight years old soon, still contends that Jacob is his 'best bud'. We all know it goes deeper than that. It's that 'group thing'!!

  • Uncle Buck
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Great article, my wife likes the idea. It should also be noted, that is is a great time for the Dad's to pry open the shed door which has probably not been accessed since the baby arrived

  • Jody
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    How do I find out more information about these play dates? I'd be interested in attending with my 15 month old :)

  • Bernadette
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    There are also other playgroups around the city...some of them are Daybreak Parent Child Center, Brighter Futures and YMCA.

  • marg
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Beautiful article. I wish there was something like that around when I had my baby 26 years ago....

  • Melissa
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Excellent story! I hope all new moms get a chance to get out with their babies and socialize with others. We had a great time!