I just wrapped up my fourth trip to Chicago for the WEAR Conference and Mommycon. What a wonderful time! I find it refreshing to be in the same space year after year. That may sound strange but honestly, I like knowing where things are and how to get around. Because of my teaching schedule this is a rare and nice feeling.
Over the last four years, I have attended many MommyCons and I find them a great way to connect with people making their way through the early years of raising a child. The attendees are engaged and interested and for me, as an educator, it is a dream to have such a captive audience.
This year between the Wear Conference and MommyCon running concurrently the audience had a good mix and balance. I felt like I got to exercise my own "educator bones." I also learned from others in sessions that were fun and functional, through stories panelists shared, and from those who attended my sessions. Of course I also learned tons from the folks I helped.
During my sessions on toddler-wearing I had an outstanding crew join me while I taught over 50 people (maybe 75 if you include the many toddlers). Six of our educators generously volunteered their time to assist in the session. They helped by demonstration but also by assisting those who wanted to try different options or tweak their carriers for comfort. It was a robust and fun session. (If only I had a picture!)
I had a lovely impromptu teaching encounter in the Babywearing lounge while I was grabbing some carriers for the Toddler session. A woman walked by several times (obviously wanting help but maybe not comfortable enough to ask). Eventually she saw me piling up the carriers, figuring that I was working in the lounge; she asked me if I would help her. Of course I didn't have the heart to say no and in the end she got her darling on her back and we were both fulfilled by our exchange.
I met many new people and had a chance to reconnect with so many friends (and still somehow managed to miss just as many as I saw). There's just never enough quality time to do everything and of course I didn't take enough pictures! (I never do.)
- We had a graduate reunion which spread out throughout the restaurant. There were over 50 graduates present at the reunion!
- There was a party hosted by Abby's Lane, it was loud but fun to connect to people.
- BabyTula's newest carrier, Free to Grow, was released at their launch party, which was also loud, but simply lovely.
- There was an awards luncheon.
- There were a few new carriers announced to arrive in April:
- the Babylonia Flex
- and Beachfront Baby's newest line of carriers as well.
- I must thank my friend and host, Beth Leistensnider of Catbird Baby, for giving me a place to rest my head and for shuttling me to and from the airport!
Though I didn't see everything or everyone I'd hoped to, I still left feeling really connected. Thanks to Xza, the MommyCon Team, and all the attendees for making this a wonderful weekend!
Off to Calgary!
Here are a few pictures - thank you to everyone who shared. If you click on the picture it will enlarge.