Italian winter is coming...(12 Posts)
It is approaching winter again, the park is soon going to get chilly and I am at home with a toddler all day in Italy. There is no soft play, no kids library, no baby pool at the local swimming pool, no local museum, no toddler groups, Nido is every day or nothing etc. Can anyone in Italy who has been or is going through this give me any tips? We are central Italy if that factors in. We are currently doing a twice daily bakery run and chain watching in the night garden!
Hi Penhacked we are also in Italy. It's so hard if you have limited family here. I went through it with my first child. Here are some tips....
Try to find 'Spazio per mama e bambino' Normally they are normally run by midwives in private practices. Normally it is free for and hour or two a week. I know some women who go to loads of different organisations. Also the private midwife places also do courses on movement and development. Just like toddler gym. Psicomotricita??? I think is the name. From what I have experienced you need to pay. Also not too sure on this but do you have a local pediatrician who can point you in the right direction of groups of women in the same position? If you speak Italian why not make some flyers and arrange a meet at someone's house once or twice a week. I'm near Venice. If we were closer I would love some company. Currently have a 3 month old at home and on mat leave and craving the adult conversation.
Or even advertise your conversational English with someone who wants to learn in enchange for some company.
I avoided ex-pat things like the plague when I lived there, but once I'd had DD, trekked into Milan a couple of times a week for the English speaking baby and toddler group in St Ambrogio. I think it saved my sanity! Plenty of Italians there - I don't think that they really organise things for parents/other women to socialise. I found that however good my Italian, there was much suspicion of other women, not much 'cameraderie' and that friends were people they'd known since primary school, or cousins. Seem to recall a baby massage course, once I'd paid the obligatory feed and medical certificate - ditto swimming!
I spent a lot of time walking around with the pram, going for coffee and reading the paper. Went back to work after 12 months. By the time I left, there was a soft play type place a few towns away, but couldn't get there very easily. My home had never been so clean and sparkling, not my laundry so well ironed.
I've never lived in Italy as a parent (only as a student) but I hugely sympathise. I have an Italian friend here in the UK who's constantly incredulous at the number of toddler groups and activities going on in our small town. Have you looked for local FB groups for parents? Are you within day-trip distance of Rome?
Signora sounds exactly like me! Yes it is a little different here! I know what you mean about the suspicion and cameraderie! It does feel like they tend to stick to their cliques - family/ childhood friends as you have said. You lasted longer than me I had to get back to work when my little one was 6 months as I was losing my sanity.
I didnt live in Italy with my little one but we had a holiday flat and spent a lot of time there over 10 years. I was in the North and the weather was not always great. I cant tell you how happy I was one day to find a Macdonalds small play area near one of the supermarkets (in a commercial centre). It was worth the 20 min drive. It is a very different culture and very difficult to break into as an outsider. I have a couple of good friends there but dont regret selling.
This is why I am resisting at all costs moving back to Italy. My son is very social and does loads of after school clubs, as well as play dates. My MIl told me that the toddler groups wouldn't work in Italy as the women have to be home preparing the mid day meal!
The summers we spend in Italy just bores him and me to tears. No clubs, no activities, no special events. My nieces go the whole summer long without seeing any of their friends. They just hang out with family and grandparents. My SIL won't invite any of DN friends over as she doesn't want the responsibility of looking after another child. Totally different to our situation in the U.K.
If we do have to move back, I'd insist on Milan or similar where there's an expat or international setting.
I am actually very lucky in that I have against the odds established a fantastic friendship group here and we live in each others pockets at the weekend. However during the week they work and even the couple that don't I could really just do with a change of scene from my own four walls! I actually think there is massive gap in the market for paid baby groups!
When I had DD in Milan 10+ years ago there were loads of things to do and places to go, right up to toddler age. I ended up going back to work but my mum friends who didn't were always at some activity, albeit they were more structured than UK style toddler groups.
Are you in a small town OP? If so I sympathise as when we moved out of Milan the activities on offer dwindled but then we were at scuola materna age so it mattered less.
Are you not in easy reach of Rome or Florence or another decent sized city?
Yes, my group of friends was fantastic and we did pick up swaps for nursery during the week while others were working. At our end of Italy most mums do work so we try to help each other out.
I remember discussing with another mum about organising a toddler group, but she said she did try it a few years earlier but no one turned up as all at work. Some do exist, there are some council run initiatives (or there were!) called Tempo per le Famiglie where you could just pop in any time 3 days a week.
Here in lakes area there is very little. Signorastronza you are so right.
We are moving back to the uk because of lack of things to do...even after 12 years Italian women just aren't welcoming like Brita would be. No play dates ...no after school clubs.. it's dire
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