After we'd lived in Brooklyn a few months I was talking with some neighborhood moms about things to do with kids and one of them told me about Baby Loves Disco. It was white hot new at the time (2005) and right up my alley.
The concept: one Saturday afternoon each month a real nightclub turns into a disco for munchkins, complete with a live DJ spinning 70's and 80's classics, healthy snacks, diaper changing stations, and fun dance gear like scarves, egg shakers and hula hoops.
From the website: "Started by professional dancer (and professional mom) Heather Murphy in Philadelphia, the idea was to create an alternative to the pre-packaged world of entertainment for young kids. 'We’re parents, we’re always looking for something new and different to do with the kids,' says Murphy whose lifestyle (like most of the baby disco parents) was changed when she gave birth to her 4 year old son Max. Make no mistake, this is NOT the Mickey Mouse club, and Barney is banned." Brooklyn was the second location to get its groove on, and from there it has spread like wildfire to 28 U.S. cities as well as Israel, Japan, Holland, Sweden, Poland and the U.K.
So I looked up the dates and put it on the calendar every month for two years and Ed was either working or there was some other conflict every time. Then Ginger was born and I gave up the hope of ever being a cool mom who did stuff like taking my kids to a disco dance party. Survival became the name of my game, and soon BLD fell off my radar.
So how do you think I felt when Beth Blenz-Clucas of Sugar Mountain PR, after reading my blog, contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing Baby Loves Disco in DC? Control, our radar is back on. I was over the moon and told her, "Put us on the list!" Of course after I'd committed, I learned Ed would be out of town at a conference, but no matter. I called our trusty babysitter Alicia, and while I could tell from her voice she thought I was crazy when I explained to her where we were going, she agreed to come with us.
So last Saturday the girls donned their dance skirts and we loaded into the car, Google directions in hand, and headed into the city, to the chants of "Dance Party! Dance Party!" I don't know DC well enough to know how scared I should have been in the NE neighborhood where the club (Rock and Roll Hotel) was located, so I tried not to think about it as we walked the 3 blocks from our parking space. The garbage, pigeons, and potholes made it feel like we were right back in Brooklyn, actually.
The place was rockin'. Imagine, if you will, a typical night club. Black walls, full bar with shelves of hard liquor, a stage at one end, a DJ cage and lots of flashing lights. (Kind of like the places in Georgetown I used to sneak into in high school.) Now add to that scene a roped off stroller parking area outside, a spread of juice boxes, goldfish and muffins on the bar, ceiling mounted bubble machines on a 10-minute timer, baskets of egg shakers and dancing scarves, mini tents and hula hoops on the stage, balloon animals taped up on the walls, and of course the ultimate necessity: a king-sized disco ball, and you've got Baby Loves Disco.
There were parents and kids of all shapes and sizes, and in addition to the DJ spinning classics such as Night Fever and YMCA not-too-loud-but-just-loud-enough, an MC (didn't catch his name) announcing dance competitions and the winners of freeze-dance (we tried, we honestly tried.)He also mentioned the VIP room upstairs, so we went to check it out. What we found was another bar and even more food - a tablecloth had been draped over the pool table, and there were fresh fruits and veggies, hummus and pita chips, more muffins and brownies, chips and salsa, and more juice boxes. We found a "quiet room" full of stuffed animals, couches and changing stations. There was a nail-painting corner, Greta Gonzalez was offering free face painting (I didn't want to wait in the line or deal with the mess), and a balloon master from BalloonTopia was making free balloon animals (Hazel got a frog but he didn't last long.) It was also more quiet and cool upstairs, a nice break from the disco inferno the downstairs had become once the morning nap crowd started showing up.But we'd come to dance so dance we did. Hazel was all about it, especially when the bubble machines came on. She's really got more of a gallop than a boogie but it's her thing. Ginger was a little overwhelmed by things and wanted to be held most of the time but she did get down and shake her squeezy buns for a few songs. Overall it was an awesome success, well worth the calculated nap manipulations I'd orchestrated for two days in preparation. Alicia even loved it.
Jealous? You should be. It's a great time, and probably even more fun to do with friends (I'm still working on getting those here.) It's in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Seattle and Portland, Chicago and Boulder. It's even in six cities in the UK for you expats, so get your rears over there and let's see the pictures. But if your town doesn't have it yet, don't despair. You can bring it there yourself (or better yet, get a friend to do it) - email Erica to get the ball rolling. (Utah could especially use it, and can you say...Culpeper?)