The moms: You may know us collectively as Wee Wander, but individually, we are Ashley Primis (mom to almost 4-year-old Sasha and 4-month-old Willa) and Christy Lejeune (mom to 2-and-a-half-year-old Luke) — professional journalists and best buds. (Or, as we like to think of it, the less funny, less famous and less rich version of Tina and Amy.) It recently occurred to us that we had never taken the time to actually fill out our own questionnaire, the one that we send to all of our Wee One-On-One interviewees, despite the fact that we are (overly) full of opinions about just about everything having to do with parenting in Philadelphia. We thought it time to remedy that, so without further ado, here’s our own one-on-one. (Two-on-two??)
Neighborhoods of residence:
A: Queen Village
C: We don’t have a lot of free weekdays, so our class schedule is a bit lacking. But we liked Soccer Shots on the days when my very wiggly two-year-old decided to play along; when he was little, I really liked the drop-ins for babies at Philly Art Center. Also, I am so psyched to check out the new Fairmount Baby Wordplay’s Little Theater.
A: Same as Christy. I feel very fortunate that my daughter’s daycare/preschool, The Giving Tree, has partnerships with so many local people, so there she does Soccer Shots, Zoom Dance, Philly Art Center and more.
C: I really liked Brittany McCollum’s Blossoming Bellies birthing class series, which I thought was very enlightening, very non-judgey when it came to delivery options, and quite helpful as a thorough overview of everything birth-related.
A: I loved doing the new mom’s group at Hall-Mercer. It has this sweet, old-school vibe and awesome facilitators, and I met so many new city moms who I still connect with today. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a rite of passage for city parents!
Special find in or near the city:
C: Our favorite, favorite thing in life right now is the Kroc Center — a gym and community center on Wissahickon Avenue with the most amazing kids’ pool, complete with a lazy river, giant slide, baby slide, and more. We’ve spent many happy hours there. They also have swim lessons!
A: We try to expose our kids (and ourselves) to nature as much as possible on the weekends. We all get some exercise and some tech-free bonding time, and the fresh air does us all good. We even bundle up and get out there during colder days. Our favorite spots are lunch in Chestnut Hill, then off to Morris Arboretum, Chanticleer, and “hiking” trails like Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon and the new Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Manayunk, which ends at an awesome playground. We also do Longwood at least twice a year.
Rainy day go-to:
C: We do the Please Touch Museum every time it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too snowy … so pretty much every other week. (Although I much prefer weekdays to weekends there.) Next time, though, we’re going to do the Fireman’s Hall Museum.
A: Ditto on PTM. We try to go as early as possible (or on member’s only days) to beat the crowds. We also love the Santore Library in Bella Vista which has a huge play space with puzzles, games and lots of space to hang. (Also: free.) And I’ll admit that when we are really desperate, we go to the play-places at Chick-fil-A, and we’ll even just walk around KOP or Cherry Hill Mall.
Favorite app for parents or kids:
C: I’m not a big app person, alas — though we recently downloaded the Curious George coloring app for Luke, and it was a huge hit. Personally — and this has nothing to do with parenting — I really like the Houzz app for inspiration and house-decor porn.
A: My almost four-year-old has gotten really into playing games on the iPad, and while it’s screen time, it’s a little more interactive than just regular old TV watching. She loves anything that’s baking or cooking (there’s a pizza- making app and Strawberry Shortcake baking app), she likes sorting games and counting games, she loves this iMommy game where she gets to take care of babies, and her Paw Patrol game, of course.
Favorite spa treatment:
C: Rescue Spa facial forever, forever, forever. It makes the lines on my forehead disappear … for a time. It’s a big treat.
A: Same. It’s almost not right to call it a “spa” treatment. While it’s completely indulgent and relaxing, it actually really changes your skin for the better.
C: Ashley is the more adventurous diner out, for sure. We mostly stick to our ’hood with Luke, and have developed deep affinity for Figs (a BYOB that does a kickass, affordable brunch), because it’s never overly crowded, and the owners couldn’t be nicer. We also hit Rembrandt’s once a week — again, because the people are so patient and chill, the kids’ menu is simple and easy, the beer selection is good. We have had really great experiences as a family at Vetri Pizzeria on Callowhill (but go early — it gets crowded), and Fette Sau in Fishtown, too.
A: We make eating out with the kids a part of every weekend. While it can be stressful, we love how trying new restaurants keeps us connected to the food scene (one of our favorite things about living in the city) and takes us to new neighborhoods. In fact, we build activities (trying new playgrounds and parks, etc.) around dining destinations. Also, there are so many top-notch quick-serve places to try. Now that we have a new baby who goes to bed at 6:30 p.m., we’ve been mostly eating out for brunch and lunch. Some of our new favorite places are South Philly Barbacoa for tacos, the Hungry Pigeon, and Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop. Our neighborhood favorites are Pizzeria Stella, Square Pie, Circles Thai, Brauhaus and Whetstone.
The gear we can’t live without:
C: Our biggies are the Citi Mini GT stroller, the ThinkBaby straw cup (it NEVER leaks!) and Lunchbots bento box, which is dishwasher-safe and easy to pack in a bag or lunch box. Though when Luke was a baby, it was definitely the Ergo, and the Fisher Price Rock N Play (he took almost every nap in that thing for 6 months).
A: Ditto on Citi Mini GT and Ergo. The iPad (obvious, but true) and our daughter’s bikes (balance bike and trike), which make even a walk around the block fun for her.
The professional we can’t live without:
C: Our daycare teachers. There are no words to express how much I love those women for loving my kid so much, and teaching him, and caring for him. Oh, also my awesome pediatricians at Fairmount Pediatrics, Doctors Lieberman and Weiss, who actually answer questions over email … even on weekends!
A: I also love our doctors at Society Hill Pediatrics (especially their daily walk-in sick hours), but on a more personal note, I absolutely love my personal trainer Paul at Sweat Fitness in Queen Village. He’s worked me out during and after two pregnancies. He pushes me, I enjoy his company and mostly, he holds me accountable for getting to the gym for at least one hour a week. And my reasons have nothing to do with vanity (not like I look like Gisele, or anything); it’s because he helps build up the strength that gives me the energy to keep up with two kids, a full-time job and a very busy schedule.
The indulgence we can’t live without:
C: Caviar, the food delivery service. (As I write this, I’m eating noodles from WokWorks via Caviar.)
A: FreshDirect. I honestly don’t know how I would ever have food in my fridge if they didn’t make delivering such high-quality ingredients so simple. (So, maybe that’s less of an indulgence, and more of a practicality, but I say a little prayer for FD every time they ring my doorbell. Read about my love affair here.) And UberX, which I sorta take everywhere.
Most genius parent hack:
C: Sleep-in days. My husband and I trade off sleep-in days on weekends. I get Saturdays, he gets Sundays.
A: We do the same, and those few hours one morning a week are everything. My husband and I also try to do one thing for ourselves each weekend, whether that be watching a soccer game in peace or going for a run or getting a quick massage. (Our favorite spot is Massage Bella Vista.)
Place for baby/children’s gifts:
C: I like ordering LuvBug blankets or gift sets online (they’re locally made!). I also hit up Fairmount’s Ali’s Wagon pretty regularly — my go-to gift there is the adorable baby legwarmers by BabyLegs. I’m a big book-giver, too: I have to say that I really love the selection, the vibe and the employees in the children’s section at the Barnes and Noble on Rittenhouse.
A: They have a small but adorable selection of goods at Open House in Midtown Village. I also like the baby gifts at Lolli Lolli, and the books and activities at HeadHouse Books.
Favorite children’s book:
C: List is too long to put down here (Madeline! Maisy! Boynton!), but at the moment, we’re both really digging the old classic There’s a Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, as well as King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently. We are also reading a ton of potty books these days to support training; I love Potty by Leslie Patricelli, and Luke really, really loves Elmo’s Potty Book, which is a search-and-find.
A: The Crayon books (like The Day the Crayons Quit) and Dragons Love Tacos are current favorites. My daughter is also really into rhyming these days, so Dr. Seuss is heavy in the rotation. Plus, any book about being a big sis that confirms how important her new “job” is. It’s simple, but we also enjoy Big Sis, Lil Miss.
Fun kids’ party spot:
C: We threw our last extremely low-key birthday party with balloons and a homemade cake in a grassy field near the playground by Eastern State Penitentiary. (I’m lazy!) But I was extremely impressed with the fun, organized party I went to at Sandy Hill Farm in Plymouth Meeting. (Which you can read about here.)
A: We’ve done park parties also at Franklin Square, which is great because there’s the mini golf, carousel and playground, plus burgers and shakes from SquareBurger. Last year we had a great time at Philly Art Center and this year we are booking at InMovement. We’ve been to fun parties at Bounce U and SkyZone, too. (And we had Sasha’s first birthday party at Frankford Hall, because we thought we deserved a damn beer along with that smash cake.)
Best piece of advice we’ve gotten about parenting:
C: Take as many of those hospital undies as they’ll give you after you deliver.
A: It’s only a phase.
Best parenting book we’ve read:
C: For sleep stuff, a mix of Baby Whisperer and Baby Wise, and then 1,2,3 Magic for toddler discipline. For laughs, Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan.
A: Baby Wise is my bible. I also loved Bringing up Bebe for some perspective.
Favorite toy in the house right now:
C: A decade-old keyboard, my kitchen measuring cups and punch balloons.
A: Art supplies, board games (Bingo and Candyland). But our favorite thing to do right now is bake and cook together.
One thing we wish Philly had that it doesn’t:
C: A few more drop-in indoor playgrounds and play spaces with some run-around room; maybe also a bounce house or Skyzone.
A: Agree on more indoor play spaces! Everything else on my wish list seems to be actually (maybe?) happening? A Target in walking distance and metrocards are big ones.