As a full-time, professional nanny since 2006 and a mom since 2013, I’ve made children’s physical, mental, emotional and social growth the focus of pretty much everything I do. Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago and spending over a decade in the city after college, I noticed several small play cafes popping up, providing much needed respite for caretakers stuck inside during the long, cold, grey winter months, or those avoiding the tedious daily application of sunscreen in summer to wriggling, slippery children who would inevitably complain about how hot it was outside, and how all the slides were too hot to go down. Possibly most important, these cafes served coffee, in all its glorious forms. Caffeine kept me going nearly every day when my daughter, Ophelia, was little. Through long, sleepless nights, days when the “Polar Vortex” kept us shut inside, my toddler climbing on everything (including me), and so. Much. Rain.
My husband and I moved to his home state of Wisconsin in March of 2016, and I found a position as a nanny caring for Leo, who at the time was 6 months old. Ophelia accompanied me to care for him and their nicknames, “Bug” (Leo), and “Goose” (shortened from “Silly Goose” for Ophelia) were a regular part of my vocabulary for a year and a half. When Leo’s parents moved cross-country, they offered to help fund my dream of bringing the community of caretakers together in a place to play, celebrate, and caffeinate; and so Bug & Goose Play Cafe was born! My intention for this space is that it may be a warm, welcoming, home-like cafe where moms, dads, nannies, grandparents, and other caretakers can find support, acceptance, a comfy place to sit, and some caffeine. It is a place for children to engage in imaginative play that will stimulate social, emotional, mental and physical growth in a safe environment. Lastly, this play cafe gives me a chance to reach as many children as I can to offer them love, safety, acceptance, and the occasional hot chocolate or cinnamon roll. It is my sincerest hope that everyone who enters will feel welcome to be their most authentic self and know that they, and their kiddos, are part of a community that supports them.