The Newborn Network

April 22, 2016

The Newborn Network

One mom’s journey to the J 

By Marnie Spector 

My path to the JCC began when I became a new mom four years ago. Once my daughter was born, I was thrown into a world of wonder and excitement as well as a multitude of questions about how to’s, when to’s and what to do’s. I was on the hunt for an entertaining and supportive environment to show me the ropes of motherhood while hopefully providing some direction, education and most importantly, FUN! 

Enter, Hello Baby. The moment I stepped into my first baby and me class, I was certainly anxious, as all new moms are, but I was so relieved that there was a room of moms just like me. Zoom in on a circle of mommies buzzing about their precious cargo, heads full of questions, arms full of baby paraphernalia and shirts covered in all sorts of stains and disarray. It was THRILLING! 

Our Hello Baby teacher, Cindy Neuman, was warm and understanding and took the time to reach out to each parent. The welcome to motherhood was so down to earth and inspiring. With that first class, I knew I would be back for more. I was ecstatic. I had met new people I genuinely liked and as an almost 40-year old new mom, I wasn’t sure I would meet anyone I could relate to or who would relate to me. I loved knowing I had go-to people to socialize with who wanted to share their experiences and have an adult play date all while jostling and engaging our infants. Call it the Newborn Network.  

Now four years into parenting, my daughter has brought me up to speed. I am an Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Noah’s Ark Camp mom, a group fitness fanatic, swim parent and a part time patron at Me Latte Cafe. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the JCC and my newborn network, I wouldn’t be as fulfilled emotionally, as fit physically and as in touch with such a fantastic group of people. Not just the parents, but the ECE teachers, the Noah’s Ark counselors, the fitness instructors, the parenting department planners and all the employees who make each visit so gratifying. 

It’s true, I’m drinking the JCC Koolaide and I love it! Because of Hello Baby and the many other Baby and Me classes I became devoted to, I navigated the amazing waters of infant to toddler-hood and picked up many new songs, dances, tips and tricks along the way. All the while, I learned the ropes from other parents who took me by the hand and showed me that the JCC offers so much more.

I learned how fantastic the ECE and Noah’s Ark programs are for my daughter, and the special relationships she and I have developed with the teachers, counselors and children have brought us back for three years now. In that time, I’ve become a wiz at daily drop off, heading up to the group fitness classes each day and stopping by the cafe after for coffee and a bagel — why not, right?!

Let’s face it, Baltimore is a tough town to navigate if you weren’t born here. As someone who has lived in several major cities across the Unites States, I feel more at home here because of my connection to the J.

I have amassed an amazing group of friends and educators, who motivate me, stimulate me and make me so incredibly happy. None of this would exist without my first step into the world of awesome opportunities the JCC provides to everyone, no matter what race, religion or background. It has become a powerhouse for me and I want to share my love for the J with all parents seeking that sense of community and a fulfilling niche right here in Charm City. 

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