Volunteer Work

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 23-05-2010

I remember when our twin sons were born… my husband and I had been doing volunteer work with refugees and immigrants at Toronto’s Detention Ctre.  It all had to stop once we became parents, as they didn’t allow babies/children in the Centre.  As our babies grew into toddlers, we began searching for volunteer endeavors to do as a family; we really wanted to set the tone in our family about the value of giving back, and we wanted our children to learn about this while they were still young.  Alas, it seemed that any opportunity that might be open to having kids tag along somehow didn’t fit into our nap or bedtime schedule!  (Yes, we were still ruled  by the need to sleep at 3 years old!)

The boys are 6 now, and I recently decided to revisit the volunteering dilemma.  Typically my work in this area had involved interacting with people, but in an attempt to try something new, I did a little research on volunteer opportunities elsewhere in the city.  It wasn’t long until I discovered that one of our local greenspaces, the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, accepted volunteers every Wed evening from 6-8 p.m.  On the agenda: weeding, planting and just general outdoor labour.  The timing was ideal, just after dinner and before bedtime (well, we’d have to leave at 7:20 or so, but I figured if I brought extra labour, I shouldn’t feel bad about cutting out early!)

Twin B and I went to check it out last week.  Six year old Simon was perfect for the job of pulling mustard garlic from under some important shrubs that were being choked out.  Small and nimble, he easily crawled into tight places to pull the highly invasive weed!  He also enjoyed being outdoors and learning more about plants — his constant stream of chatter and questions were most entertaining to everyone there, and showed me a side of my son I don’t usually see in public.  Not sure if I would bring both boys next time, but in any case, it was a great opportunity for each boy to have some special time apart with one parent.

If you’re gazing in sleep-deprived stupour at your multiple newborns wondering how long the traumatic stage will last, and if you’ll ever get back to your “real life”, I can promise you this: As your babies grow from toddlers to children, these little people will make your real life richer than you can ever imagine!  If you really want to bond as they get older, consider doing some volunteer work with one or more of your multiples.  It’s a great way to expose them to something new, while teaching them strong community values and just getting to know them in a whole new way.

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