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By Coushatta Dahomey
Yes, Soccer Moms, the babies have grown beyond diapers and kiddie pools to fill their lives with school activities plus computer clubs, team sports and dance classes. For too many, this whirlwind has engulfed lives, dulling their focus. You easily lose sight of civic and environmental responsibilities. The Pampered Baby Ladies' Spa is one method we found last summer to resharpen that focus, and raise discretionary funds.
First, we chose a large, private yard with gentle sloping, and mapped out the various stations we'd need. Next, we used phone trees and email lists to solicit materials from caregivers like tents, kilims, and leftover babycare items. Then we processed and distributed our tri-fold announcements for the month-long event using our many outreach trees. They naturally included advertisements from our local businesses in exchange for specific goods and services such as portable oxygen tanks, a vat of used grease, and a floor model of the Slip and Slide.
It took a mere 72 hours for one carpooling team to collect all the solicited items. Meanwhile, another team rehearsed what we learned surfing the Internet for massage basics, exfoliating recipes, embrocation oils and creams, and the correct strokes for polishing toenails.
The week before our debut, we sorted out the best from these rehearsals to star at the various stations. The rest of us became mother's aides or au pairs, as the French say, in rhumba panties.
The morning of our premiere, we were blessed with sunshine. The carpool mavens chauffeured in our first guests. We serenaded them with children's ditties as we ushered them into the first tent. It was outfitted with a couple of low-slung changing tables, pyramids of rolled towels and sheets, and campaign trunks to store their street clothes and possessions. Swaddled in sheets and towel turbans, the guests were shuttled by twos to the next stop in shallow grocery carts we had padded and tricked out to resemble English perambulators. Canned children's music jangled on the trek.
In the exfoliation station, guests sat in little plastic wading pools as huge globs of the grease/sea salt/fond mix were trowelled on. After vigorous massaging, the guests were wiped off with clean cloth diapers. Some participated in the diaper pail dance while others were led by fives to slither into a couple of hot tubs. We'd prepared tea in drawstring laundry bags composed of soccer field clippings, clover and wild mint to steep with the guests. After a suitable period, they emerged radiating with good health to prance through cooling lawn sprinklers to the next station. The more adventurous got there by leaping onto a Slip and Slide that sloped downhill to the entrance.
It was this embrocation and massage station where we encountered slight mishaps when guests slid in bowling over a couple of workers damp-drying other guests. We adjusted to a longer runway for subsequent events and more landing lights, aromatic candles, that is. After landing, guests were dried, rolled onto massage mats then spritzed or slathered with emollients of their choice before their sessions.
Swedish and Reiki massage proved most popular. They were the easiest to download to p.d.a.'s and keep nearby as cheat sheets. This was hot, rigorous work so some workers began wearing the large, liquid-filled teething rings as headbands straight from the coolers. Upon completion here, the guests were reswaddled in sheets, loaded into the prams and rolled to the penultimate stop.
This recreation station was an indoor/outdoor space. The guests were dressed in lobster bibs and adult diapers donated to us by caregivers for seniors. Inside the tent, they freely lolled about on silky, soft kilims and cushions, sucking on pacifiers with chocolate shells, licking giant lollipops, nibbling bon bons, drinking wine coolers from lidded sipping cups as they sang or gossiped. Just outside were another series of wading pools for guests to sit and splash in while others soared on swings.
When the carpool mavens decided they had amassed enough for a couple of minivan loads, they signalled the group by moving through ringing jingle bells and shaking rattles, blowing kazoos, and bubbles. They all moved in a conga line to the changing tent to return to their worldly facades, and wave goodbye to the daisy-chain of pampering stations on the lawn.
This success meant we and you can never return to anything so stale and unimaginative as a carwash or clubhouse dinner-dance.
© 2004 Coushatta Dahomey
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coushatta Dahomey is a freelance
writer, womanist organizer, and motivational speaker
in New Orleans, Louisiana. The myth that this is where
social movements come to die is countered by the marvelous
patchwork quilts of lives sewn together in meandering
lines so evil never finds a direct path in to steal our
laughter and good times.