The mom: Rachel Paolucci — Buffalo native, former New Yorker, current Collingswoodian, graphic designer and mom to seven-month-old Luca — has spent the last two-and-a-half years working at that bastion of kid fun (and parent savior), the Please Touch Museum. “I love being able to design ads geared toward mothers of young children, like myself,” she says. “There’s never a dull moment at PTM — and you never know who you’ll run into, from the Philly Phanatic to Clifford the Big Red Dog to Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba.” When she’s not hobnobbing with the big celebs, Rachel is designing promos for things like the upcoming Monster Mash party … which just so happens to be her favorite PTM event of the year. “Memorial Hall is decorated almost like a Halloween wonderland; it’s so adorable when children arrive their faces just light up with excitement. Also, seeing how creative all of the families’ and kiddos’ costumes are, it’s awesome to see an entire family get in on the dressing up fun together.” (Hey guys — you can still get tickets to check it out yourself) Here’s what else Rachel loves, and what she does when she’s not hanging out with Clifford.
Favorite local playground or park: We live directly across the street from Knight’s Park in Collingswood, New Jersey, which is amazing with a baby. There is a big playground in the center that we go to most days … I think Luca is going to grow up thinking it’s there just for him.
Special snack: Luca is just beginning to eat food, but he loves to be out with us on Friday nights for dinner in Philly. We usually hit up Birra (the best margarita pizza) in South Philly or Zavino in Center City, and then Franklin Fountain on our way home. All are very kid-friendly and have outdoor seating perfect for rolling up with a stroller.
Favorite gear: I love our Honest Company + Babyletto crib and dresser/changing table. Very sturdy, safe, environmentally conscious and manufactured in a socially responsible way.
Kids’ class: I was a teacher at The Philly Art Center, and now that I have a little one, I love taking him to classes there. We’ll go to the Queen Village location. They also just opened a location in Cherry Hill, which has open play times on Friday mornings. Great rainy day activity.
Date night spot: We like to try to go see live music at Union Transfer or Johnny Brenda’s.
Place for baby/kid clothes: I love Zara baby because they have outfits for boys that are stylish, which can be hard to find among all the girly outfits in most stores. And I’ve gotten some of my favorite gifts from Ali’s Wagon in Fairmount.
Kid-friendly restaurant: Pop Shop in Collingswood. They are also opening up a Sabrina’s any day now in Collingswood: We are counting down the days until we have their stuffed French toast around the corner.’
Family memberships you think are worth the cash: Please Touch Museum!
Preferred mode of city transport: Patco to go into Philly, or the car.
Good public bathroom that’s good for diaper-changing: The Starbucks on 18th and Spruce in Rittenhouse is our standby, and also the Banana Republic at Walnut and Broad streets.
Exercise class of choice: Spinning and Zumba. Also, dying to try the new spinning studio in Collingswood called Upcycle.
Favorite toy in your house right now: Anything Luca can get in his mouth … he’ s also digging the toys that suction onto his highchair table.
Best book you read about parenting: We read Happiest Baby on the Block, which helped in the beginning. And then Tracy Hogg’s book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, helped us to get Luca on the EASY schedule when I went back to work.
Favorite kids’ book in your house: DADA by Jimmy Fallon and Hand Hand Finger Thumb by Al Perkins
Best music for kids: Listening to music together is one of Mike (my husband) and Luca’s favorite activities. Luca LOVES to watch the records go around on the record player. Right now his favorites lean towards ’80s music like “Call Me Al” by Paul Simon, and also Hall and Oates.
Biggest parenting challenge you face right at this moment: Naps! Or lack thereof, ha.
Best part of living in the Philly area with your kid: I love that there are always new activities going on…pop-up gardens in the summer, Winterfest and Dilworth Plaza ice skating rink this winter…. We’re excited to do more and more as Luca grows.