This is the list of Frequently Asked Questions for the arborparents
Arborparents is an e-mail list for parents who live in or near Ann Arbor,
Michigan. To join, send a blank message to
Please note that even if a topic is listed here, you are welcome to
bring it up on the list. It's likely that someone will have new insights
when the topic comes up again.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
- What are some cool features of this list?
- Where can I find a babysitter? How much should I pay?
- Where can I find good childcare?
- Got any local shopping tips?
- Where can I donate some used items?
- Who are some good doctors and dentists?
- What are some activities for babies or small children, especially on a snowy day?
- What are some good playgrounds?
- What are some gyms with good childcare?
- What are some good childbirth classes?
- Who are some good doulas?
- Where can you have a good birthday party?
- What are some other groups with related topics?
1. What are some cool features of this list?
To use any of these features you'll need a Yahoo ID. If you don't
already have a Yahoo ID, you can go to
groups.yahoo.com to create it. Sign
up using the same e-mail address that your list e-mail is sent to.
Then you can use the following features:
2. Where can I find a babysitter? How much should I pay?
- The best way to find a babysitter is word of mouth. Talk to other
parents. Sometimes you can spot a good sitter at the playground,
interacting wonderfully with somebody else's kids. Watching for youngsters
who are eager to babysit seems to be a good technique. Begging the
reluctant teenager next door does not seem to work so well.
- The Washtenaw County Red Cross
offers babysitting classes. In general, people on the list have found that
sitters who have taken this class generally seem to be babysitters who are
safety oriented and motivated. For privacy reasons, the Red Cross won't
give out contact information for their students but you can ask them
to give your name and phone number to their current students and have the
students contact you to set up babysitting arrangements. You can call the
Red Cross at 734-971-5300. Their
contact info page
has their e-mail address and other ways to contact them.
- Another idea for child care is to get the babysitter list from EMU
(ask at their career center - 487-0400) or from Concordia College (their
main number is 995-7300). People on the list report that they have friends
who have been very happy with Concordia College babysitters.
- Call the local church! They often have a list of babysitting potentials.
- If your child is in daycare or preschool, sometimes some of the teachers
are available to babysit after hours. They are often awesomely well-trained, too!
- Sometimes you can find other parents to "swap kids" with.
- Sometimes your grownup friends who love kids will babysit.
- $3-5/hour for a 13 year old sitter
- $5-8/hour for a college student
- $8-12/hour for sitters beyond college-age
- The more kids you have, the higher the rate.
- Those rates are for Ann Arbor. Sitters in Ypsi are reported to cost
- To tip, round up. For example, if you owe your sitter $18, pay $20.
3. Where can I find good childcare?
4. Got any local shopping tips?
- The Friends of the
Library booksale has children's books for 25 to 50 cents. They're
open every Saturday and Sunday from September through April. Twice a year
they clean out their inventory: half-price on Saturday, and then on Sunday
and Monday it costs $4 to fill a grocery bag with books.
- Value World, a thrift store located in the Maple Village shopping
center at Maple and Dexter, has amazingly low prices on kids' clothes,
toys, maternity clothes. (One mom reports finding nice maternity dresses
and pants for between $1.25 and $2.50 there.) For children's clothes,
be prepared to do some sorting through junk to find the good stuff.
- Garage sales!
Here are Aunt Debbie's Garage Sale Tips:
- I scan the papers only. I rarely go to sales that I see driving by.
I check for things in the paper such as "quality baby clothes" or "kids
clothes" and even things like "Gap, Oshkosh, etc. children's clothing."
If there are clothes, there are usually other baby things and toys, but
not always vice versa.
- I only go to three sales, maybe four, maybe just one. Otherwise, I'll
burn myself out.
- I go right at the time they open. For good quality clothes, it is
equivalent of one of those ads on TV that show people crowding around the
door waiting for it to be unlocked and then they all run in.
- I go to certain areas only. I NEVER go in my own neighborhood! The
best success I've had are in the west side/Eberwhite areas as well as the
Dicken, Pioneer High School areas. Go to "rich people houses" where they
are likely to
have lots of good quality clothes for their kids and their kids hardly
have a chance to wear them all. If you go into my neighborhood, you're
likely to get KMart stuff with holes in them.
- Buy ahead. I have several "Gap" clothes for my daughter to wear just about
now or next year that I bought two or three years ago. I store them in
boxes by sizes. Unfortunately, I'm having a tough time finding boys
clothes at this age....I think boys are just dressed in blue jeans and
t-shirts and put holes thru them while girls seem to have a larger
wardrobe in general. Don't worry too much about growth and seasons. You
can always give them away...especially since you know you only paid 50c.
- eBay has lots of baby and kids'
clothes and equipment. Note that shipping for big items (eg. furniture)
can be expensive. It's a great place to find very specific out of season
items, for example eBay may be the only place where you can find size 3T
footed pajamas in March. Here are Valerie's
- Check the Ann
Arbor News freebie ads for good deals on used baby equipment and
other household items. You can search the Freebies from right here.
Enter a keyword to search the Freebies for (example: stroller) and
click the Search button:
- The various dollar stores around town have cheap toys, and
sometimes clothes or baby equipment.
- Kiwanis has a rummage
sale that runs every Saturday morning. First St. at Washington - 665-0450.
- The Ann
Arbor Public Schools PTO thrift shop - 1621 S. State (inside
Bargain Books) - 996-9155 - Accepts and sells small household goods,
clothing and toys.
- Ann Arbor
reuse center has furniture, books, building materials, appliances,
electronics, and lots of other things. No toys or clothes.
2420 S. Industrial - 662-6288.
- The City of Ann Arbor has a handy page that lists
or Donation Centers that lists lots more places where you can donate
or buy items that are "used but not used up".
- Kensington Valley outlet mall is about 35 minutes away (Take 23 North
to 96 West, past Howell) and they have some kids' stores there. Carters,
The Kids Place, and Old Navy are all there. Hit the Old Navy at the right
time (and be willing to stock up for upcoming seasons) and you'll cackle
with glee at what you pay.
- Cloth Diapers:
- I would like to recommend the
Chinaberry book catalog
(available by mail or on-line). They do a great job of writing very
detailed descriptions of children's books and have been a source I use
frequently for buying books for my nieces and nephews. They provide a
lot of information about the books they carry and have had very reasonable
age ranges listed. They are also a small, family run business-a welcome
change from the Borders/Barnes and Noble mega stores.
- Garage Sale Gallery, out on Jackson Road.
- You might also try Craig's list. I see they finally have a
Detroit area list. I used it
a lot when I live in the SF bay area. Good classifieds, etc. I always had
good luck with it.
5. Where can I donate some used items?
- Here is arborweb's
Community Services -
Donations page. It lists about a dozen places where you can
donate used items.
- The City of Ann Arbor has a handy page that lists
or Donation Centers that lists lots more places where you can donate
or buy items that are "used but not used up". Washtenaw County has a page
specifically about places where you can
- SAFE House has a big
wish list, which
includes toys, for the shelter that they run for victims of domestic violence.
They may be one of the few places willing to take donations of used car seats.
- House By The Side Of The Road is a non- profit that acts as a
"store" of sorts to people who are residing in Safe House -
4133 Washtenaw (Washtenaw County Complex At Hogback Rd.) - 971-2550.
- The Salvation Army in Ann Arbor has a truck that accepts
donations all week, I think.
- The Scrap Box will
accept donations of baby food jars and lots of other odds and ends.
- If you belong to a church, they might accept donations.
- Catholic Social Services
houses the "Healthy Families" program for parents of children under 5 as well
as Families First for Jackson and Hillsdale Counties. At some point they were
taking almost any baby items that were donated. Since then, Fr. Pat's has
joined CSS which probably raises the demand for baby items. They often will
not accept adult clothing, but baby items are almost always welcome.
- Fairy Godparents
are very well organized and cover many bases. From what I understand, they accept
donations for items that have already been requested by consumers.
- Ronald McDonald House, or
a hospital children's ward are other ideas.
- There are a host of non-profits that might benefit from such a donation.
Check out Washtenaw
County Organizations. This is a list of some non-profits in
Washtenaw County who are online on Comnet.
- One word in general about donations, from someone who worked for
a non-profit for years. This time of year everyone wants to give. And
everyone is looking for somewhere to donate their items. While it is true
that one man's trash is another man's treasure, please try to look at your
items with an objective eye. Is the item clean? Is it useful? Is is fairly
current (if that is relevant)? How would you feel about receiving the item
that you are about to donate? People, no matter how poor, do not want to
receive junk. Even if you have no money, you still have dignity.
O.K., I will get off of my soapbox now.
- Many of the places listed above in the
shopping section of this page also accept
6. Who are some good doctors and dentists?
Here are some comments people on the list have posted about local doctors
and dentists. Note that a different person is speaking in each comment.
Jump to comments about:
Pediatricians and family practice:
- I would like to recommend our old pediatrician Dr. John Gall.
He is located on Liberty and can be reached at 994-5858. He is a wonderful
grandfatherly type man. He has a very gentle, caring way of working with
children. I also appreciated that I didn't have to push a million buttons to
finally talk to a human when I called the office. We also didn't have to see
a half a dozen assistants during our visits. Dr. Gall is the one to come to
the waiting room to get his patients, he is the one you see the whole visit,
and he walks you back to the waiting room when you are done. At our previous
pediatrician my son would cry hysterically almost the whole visit. Dr Gall
was able to make our visits a very pleasant experience!
Note: Dr. Gall has retired.
- We started with Dr. Dumont but had many problems with his nurse
practitioners because we have chosen not to vaccinate and we want to avoid
antibiotics. Switched to Dr. Chernin who we had heard good things
about but I thought he lacked good bedside manner and for some reason my son
was terrified of him. I tried to switch to Dr. Scheer but he was not
taking any new patients at the time so we went back to Dr. Dumont for
a while. Had yet another heated discussion with one of the nurse
practitioners and finally found Dr. Jacobowitz. She is partners with
Dr. Breakey. We love Dr. Jacobowitz. She is a little more medically
inclined than I would like but she totally respects my decisions as an
informed consumer. Additionally, her partner, Dr. Breakey is into more
natural medicine and homeopathy. I also like having a woman pediatrician.
She is really great with the children and they like her. She is a board
certified internist and pediatrician so our whole family sees her. I have
heard good things about Dr. Scheer...
- As an MCare member, I've found that their Briarwood Family Practice
Center has been very helpful in treating our 3 children. Our 3 year old
son has a tendency to ear infections, but they don't prescribe antibiotics
unless they're sure that it is bacterial and not viral. Most of them are
viral. They accept other than MCare members as far as I know.
- We take our child to the Adult Medicine and Pediatrics group at East
Ann Arbor Health Center. It is located on Plymouth Road just east of
US-23. This group is wonderful. Also, they are great about not over-treating
children's ailments. Our son has never had any prescriptions for antibiotics.
I've brought him in a number of times just to be checked because something
was bothering him and we didn't know what. They were really good about
checking him out thoroughly but not feeling obligated to send us home with
a prescription. I think a lot of doctors prescribe medications only because
they think patients expect it. Another thing I like about the group is that
as far as I can tell, they are very supportive of breastfeeding and extended
breastfeeding, topics which have become important to me.
We've seen quite a few of the doctors in the practice
and have been impressed with the quality of care we've received from every
last one of them. Every one of them has been kind and gentle and patient
with our child, treated us parental types like intelligent people who know
a lot about our children, and they always seem knowledgeable about their
medical information. One of the doctors from that practice is on this list,
but I'd say the same nice things about their practice even if he wasn't
- We go to family practice at East Ann Arbor, and Dr. Fetters
seems to have the same attitude. We have been happy with them.
- We love Dr. Baker!!! [At East Ann Arbor Health Center]
- I met a couple of pediatricians who have recently taken over retired
Dr. Gall's practice, Liberty Pediatrics: Beth Barclay, M.D. and
Andy Seiler, M.D. †I was favorably impressed with them, particularly with
their support for parents who question conventional medical attitudes or
who make pretty alternative choices (e.g., extended breastfeeding,
co-sleeping, selective immunization). †They are definitely mainstream
physicians, well-trained by the U-M medical establishment, but they seem
very open to working with families wherever they are on these kinds of
parenting issues. †Also, they make housecalls.
- My daughter's pediatrician actually made a housecall - for
conjunctivitis!! Last Friday when I picked my daughter up at daycare there
was some discharge from her eyes and there was a sign up saying that the
kids had been exposed to conjunctivitis (pink eye). Her eyes were stuck
shut and swollen when she woke up Saturday morning. So I decided to call the
pediatrician to ask if we could do anything to relieve the problem until I
got her to see him on Monday. His response was "Where do you live?.. Oh I
live close by. Why don't I drop by and take a look. You can never be too
careful about eyes". And then he did come over - little black bag and all,
did a thorough exam while attending my daughter's imaginary tea party, and
wrote us a prescription. This was really amazing. The pediatrician is
Dr. Andrew Seiler, who with Dr, Barclay recently bought Dr. Gall's
- East Ann Arbor Health Center, [located at] Plymouth and Earhart.
The best! Their pediatrics are fabulous, and the internal medicine and
ob/gyn are wonderful too.
- We also go to a family doctor, I like that the staff knows us all. It
cuts back on all the questions we got at the big pediatric clinic on
Eisenhower about my 3 year old's diet every time we went in (she is tall
and thin, so if a Doc treats all of us it is apparent why and not food
related). We go to Dr. Jacobowitz on Hogback road, just north of
Washtenaw. She is great. When we all went in to meet her the first thing
my 3 year old said is "I like her". My daughter is wary of new people, so
this was quite an announcement. I would heartily recommend her too.
- We second that...we love Dr. Jacobowitz. I moved to Manchester
and switched doctors since the drive to Dr. Jocobowitz's office was so far
but we have since switched back because we are unsatisfied with the doctor
here in town. The 45 minute drive is worth it.
- I'm also a great fan of Liberty Pediatrics. I've been going
there since my daughter was born (2-1/4 yrs.). I was sad when Dr. Gall
left but have been very happy that the attitudes have remained the same:
personal and knowledgeable care, rarely having to wait in the waiting room
more than 10 minutes, paced visits, lots of listening from both Judy the NP
and Dr. Seiler.
- We have been taking our daughter to West Ann Arbor Health Center
since her birth. I have found that Dr. Sandvig is rushed sometimes,
though I have noticed it more recently than in the past. (This seems true
of the office in general.) When we first brought our daughter to her in
1998, she spent a lot of time with us. I think part of that is she does
have too much to do -- teaching, three kids of her own, and not enough
office hours. That has been real frustrating. I have also found her
responsive to feedback, though. I also think she is very sharp and
sensible. I have also seen the other pediatricians in the office,
Dr. Blackman (probably not as sharp as Dr. Sandvig, but he's really
great with our daughter). There is another doctor who we saw for a sick
call who was very nice. I like the fact that we have never had to wait
more than a day for a sick call--- they will stay after hours if your child
needs to see them. (That happened only a few months ago, on a Friday
afternoon as well.) There has also been good communication between the ER
and the doctor office on the occasions when this has been needed, and we
have had very good service at the UM hospital ER, especially when the
pediatric ER has been open. My internist and gynecologist are both at West
Ann Arbor too so they know who I am, and I think that helps.
It's also true that our daughter, after her first year of life, has been
very healthy and since her second birthday, we have only had to take her
for sick visits infrequently. We also really don't depend on our physicians
for well-baby advice. We are members of a support group run by an
experienced pediatric nurse who goes to our Temple, and that's where I go
with questions I can't answer for myself.
In general, you have to remember that the University of Michigan is a
teaching hospital and I guess I have stopped a long time ago expecting them
to have relaxed service as their strong point. I am very reassured by their
expertise, and that's why I go there. If you ask for time, you will tend
to get it, but they don't go there first.
- We've been going to West A2 Health Center for a couple of years
now, and I think the three physicians we see (internist, pediatrician, and
OB/Gyn) are excellent. I always feel very well taken care of in so
many ways: they take me seriously, for one thing (my last physician
didn't); they've proven to be excellent diagnosticians, and when I've
needed time to talk, they've always given it to me.
Dr. Blackman (the pediatrician) saw my daughter the day after we came
home with her from China, and we've seen him several times since. Dr.
Blackman seems very knowledgeable about adoption health and emotional
issues, and I really appreciate his calm demeanor and good common
sense. My daughter loves him. And when I've needed quick appointments,
I've received them.
Since UM is a teaching hospital, I've thought to kind of expect a
rushed environment, but I have to say that we've received excellent
care. I only wish we'd been getting that in the past from another
- I don't know that they are Liberty-Pediatrics calibre, but I've been
quite happy with the four doctors I've seen at Briarwood Family Practice.
They are often so booked that it is hard to schedule a regular appointment,
but I have never failed to get in the same day when I or my child have been
unexpectedly sick. I like all the doctors that I've seen there and am also
happy with the Family Nurse Practitioners. I don't see the Physician Assistant
there anymore (if I can help it) but she's the only one I avoid. I've seen
Drs. Ruffin, Malouin, Gallagher, and Bartelme, the latter being my
regular doctor. There is ample parking and it's right by the mall so it's
easy to get to. Not sure what insurance they take, but they say they
participate in "many plans." It's a 14-doctor practice but it doesn't feel that
big to me. I sometimes get put on hold waiting for an appointment, but I
always eventually get to talk to a human.
- Dr. LeDesai is my personal doctor and my childrens
pediatrician. A more gentle, kind, informed doctor I have not known. She
does work part time as she has small children but also on your list and
at her practice is Kristen Krieger, my husband's doctor and up there as a
great doctor. We adore the staff there, all of them! They are out past
Domino Farms on Plymouth Rd.
- Sorry for the length, but I really like my doctor and I feel that in this
day and age of specialist, family practice doesn't get its due.
You asked about Briarwood Family Practice--that's where my entire family
goes. I got my obstetric care and continuing gynecological care there,
and it's where we go for my son's pediatric care. It's a true family
I'm quite happy with them. They have two nurse practitioners on staff
whom I am happy to see for anything routine and that helps with
scheduling. There is a Physician's Assistant there whom I did not like,
but she is the only one I try to avoid. My doctor is Ricardo Bartelme.
My only complaint is that he's busy and often overbooked, not helped by
the fact that he has a few weeks each semester where he is at the
hospital delivering babies or teaching med students. He tends to
take more time with his patients than the appointments really allow, so by
9 a.m. he's running late! However, I can't be upset about a doctor who
cares about answering all his patient's questions, so I just try for early
appointments and bring a book. When we have to get in for something
sudden, I usually go with whomever they can squeeze us in with.
It's a pretty conventional practice, but they seem open to alternative
therapies if you ask. They also are cautious about new medicines--they
never gave rotovirus (later pulled off the market!), and they were
cautious about giving varicella, too. I like that. I recently wanted to
try a new birth control method and although I was the first patient to
ask, Dr. Bartleme had already read a ton of information about it.
- Re: Briarwood family practice, I used to go there years ago.. OK,
many years ago.. and was perfectly satisfied, except for two drs who I
thought were just idiots. One of them misdiagnosed an allergic dermatitis
type reaction as scabies... and stuck to his guns even though when he
looked at a scraping in the microscope, could find no evidence or
fragments of scabies. When I returned a week later with the condition
worsening, he admitted that the treatment lotion would have resolved it
if it were scabies, so I did NOT have scabies.
I went home and used over the counter meds, Caladryl topically and Benedryl
internally, and it cleared up. The other idiot wanted to put me on some
type of antidepressant when I admitted to a lot of work stress at the time.
It was a severe stressful situation, enough that I was getting a lot of
different viral infections, but drugs and I do not go together and I prefer
to find nonchemical ways to handle stress. So on my last appointment
with him, he keeps me waiting for an hour, then grills me as to why I
wouldn't take the antidepressant. Then he said that I seemed "agitated."
Well, I've been waiting an HOUR, who wouldn't be? I threw the pills in
the trash can right in front of him then walked out of there never to return.
- I use Briarwood Family Practice and basically like all the docs I've seen
there. My own doctor, Ricardo Bartelme, works only part-time so I never
see him except for something I schedule months in advance like a pap and
pelvic. For something that just comes up, like a sinus infection, I've
seen Drs. Bohn, Stefanelli, Green, Rogers,and a few others whose names
I've forgotten, and liked them all. They have evening hours which is
handy, and the nurses are pretty good when you call w/ a question.
- My husband and I go to the Briarwood facility. He very much likes one of
the nurse practitioners there -- Judy Brady. I see Dr. Shehab -- who is
really wonderful-- for general stuff and routine gynecological exams. It is a
relatively large practice, so they are busy. It is sometimes hard to get a
routine appointment if you don't (or can't) schedule in advance. They are
very good, however, about working you in for 'emergency' situations like
strep throat, ear infections, etc. Of course, in such situations is very
rare to see your primary care-giver. In all, we are satisfied with the care
we have received.
- I see Caren Stahlburg [at Briarwood Family Practice] and I like
her very much. My internist is in the same office -- Arvin Gill.
I like him as well.
- I take my 3 kids to UofM Briarwood...
I've seen Dr. Kirkpatrick twice and liked him, however we almost
always see Dr. Kileny and LOVE her! Just last Friday we saw Dr.
Hammer, she was also wonderful.
- I thought I should share with you my
health care provider - Community Family Health. (734) 998-6117
The Community Family Health Center (CFHC) is a community-based primary
health center where my family receives complete individualized holistic
primary health care in a relaxed professional setting. Care is provided by
nurse practitioners working collaboratively with physicians and other health
care providers. It is very small - only 3 exam rooms. Everyone knows your
name - great individual attention. There's always someone on call to answer
your questions like "My daughter put an M & M up her nose and it won't come
out. What should I do?" "I accidentally took 6 of my husband's Zantac
instead of 6 of my asthma steroid pills, what should I do?" (yes, I have
made these calls) And the person actually knows you personally! They don't
have tons of babies - my son was the first baby born in their practice, but
since then, there have been more. They always asked me the right questions
about breastfeeding and checked to make sure I was doing it right. I needed
help, they would have given me good help. They also function as a low
income clinic and they have HARC meetings there, so the waiting room always
has an eclectic mix of people in it. I like that. Plus, they really
respect my opinions and that is great for me!
- I really like Dr. Michelle Rabideau at the U-M Dexter Family Practice.
It is a hike for me, but they usually have same or next day appointments
available and Dr. Rabideau is wonderful. She provides OB/GYN care, as
well as other care. She is a great listener. I know others who have
seen others in this practice and have been favorably impressed.
- My son goes to Child Health Associates - Dr. Carmen Green-Lee,
Obstetricians, Gynecologists, and Midwives:
- I recommend Dr. Charles Leland at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. 712-6700.
I used him twice and have had an excellent experience. His practice
includes one other young woman OB and two nurse-midwives. He is extremely
compassionate and skilled.
- I used Dr. Margaret Punch when I delivered my baby at UofM via
MCare. I was 41 and it was my first child. Except for my age which put me
in a high risk category automatically, nothing else was complicated about
my pregnancy. She was great at answering questions and giving me as much
time as I needed. I will say that she was only there for about 25 minutes
of my 21 hour labor and that I've heard great things about nurse midwives,
mostly that they are there for hours with you.
- I used Dr. Punch for both of my children. I would recommend Margaret
to anyone. She is the best. She was always kind, attentive and has a great
sense of humor. Both of my babies were delivered by c-section, and I am so
glad that she delivered my second. I had lots of scar tissue, and she said
that it was a much more difficult surgery than she expected. All went well,
and the visual scar this time is even nicer.... It is not a small practice,
but I never felt lost in the shuffle. Also you have the support of the knowledge
and expertise of the U of M behind her. I liked that a lot!
- In response to the recommendation of Dr. Menon -- I am sure many people had
good experience with her but mine was so bad that I feel obliged to warn
anyone who is considering switching to her practice.
My water broke few days before my due date. I rushed to the hospital only
to be dismissed --it was three o'clock in the morning, the doctors from Dr.
Menon's practice were 'too busy' to see me, and the resident physician
wasn't sure whether it was 'just a leak' and they sent me home. I finally
got to see doctor Menon two days after that, and she still showed no
concern for the leak. As a result the amniotic fluid got so infected that
my son had to be rushed to the intensive care right after he was born (four
days after the water broke) and stayed there for five days (and then another
five in a 'regular' room). Not only did Menon show no remorse, she even put
in the official documents that she did not know about the leak.
I wish you all bettter luck in finding a good doctor than I had.
- I really like my OB/GYN - I use Associates In Gynecology and Obstetrics.
They're in Ypsi by St. Joseph Mercy. Their number is 734-434-6200.
My primary doctor there is Gayle Moyer, who I really really like.
I've met all the other doctors, except for Dr. Beemer, and I like them all.
Especially Dr. Rajiv Deenadayalu. A friend of a friend who delivered
with him said he was a wonderful labor coach, able to guide her through the
pushing process without tearing at all.
- In terms of an OB/GYN, I cannot recommend Dr. Mangledevi Menon strongly
enough. She is in practice with Dr. Mary Johnson on Clark Road in
Ypsilanti (313-572-9600), right near St. Joes Hospital. I have gone to
her for over 15 years and have been nothing but pleased with the care I
have received from her and the other staff in the office. It is a small
practice so people actually know you. Very refreshing. We also had
many fertility problems and pregnancy losses and Dr. Menon provided very
compassionate care. I am not sure what all insurance she takes but I do
know that she delivers at St. Joe's Hospital. I don't think she
delivers at U of M anymore. Ypsilanti may not be super convenient but I
find that it is worth the drive to see someone you feel comfortable
with. I have never had trouble getting in for an appointment when I was
having a problem.
- Dr. Beemer is my OB/GYN! He's awesome. I really like all the docs
at Assoc.in Gynecology and Obstetrics. I'd recommend any of them.
- I can sure recommend Dr. Shadigian and anyone in that office.
Dr. Nicholson practices out of there and she delivered both of my
C section babies. (First time emergency second time was not). She's really awesome.
For routine care, maybe some have an issue with not seeing a doctor, but
I never have a problem seeing the nurse practicioner. Her name is Diana
and is also excellent. She's very professional, warm and supportive, knowledgable.
- I will second the recommendation for the ob/gyns group at
East Ann Arbor Health Center (located at Plymouth and US-23).
Dr. Nicholson is currently my OB/GYN who has delivered both of my
children (naturally). I have also had Dr. Shadigian, who I must say
is a VERY compassionate people type person. There is a great deal of
experience among the doctors in this clinic. The nurse practitioner, Diana,
is awesome. She might as well be the physician!
They are very attentive to what the patient's desires and needs are...not
pushy as far as meds or having to give birth via a certain way. There are
midwives in this clinic as well.
- I know you mentioned that you like a smaller practice but I can't
recommend enough the group that Dr. Deenadayalu is with. My OB is
one of his colleagues, Dr. Beemer. As is usual with their practice,
we met all of the doctors in the group during my pregnancy. Dr. Deenadayalu
was a particular favorite of the docs we met.
- I also highly recommend the UM midwifery practice. They delivered
my twins, as well as my youngest! I also use them for my routine care as well.
- I know Cheryl Bachman personally and she is a wonderful person
and a wonderful nurse midwife. I personally used New Moon for my homebirth,
but if I had to deliver somewhere other than home, I would definately choose
Cheryl and Jennifer.
- I'm just seconding the recommendations for Cheryl Bachman/Jennifer
Cartwright as CNMs. I had them last year throughout my pregnancy and
birth and loved them! They're both kind, thoughtful, positive...all those
things you want in a midwife. Plus, they also do exams and everything, so
I don't have a separate Ob/gyn. They are affiliated with the IHA group of
ob/gyns (in the same office, as well), so if you wanted/needed to go to an
ob/gyn instead of them, you easily could. However, I appreciate their
"bedside" (tableside? :) ) manner *so* much that I've only seen them.
I know they take BCBC/Community Blue. We saw both of them throughout the
pregnancy and always commented on how different they were, but how much we
liked both of them and how we'd be happy and totally comfortable with either
one at the birth (we had Cheryl).
- I know a new doctor in town, Dr. Lorna Cvetkovich, personally.
She has only one partner, and she is very knowledgable and compassionate,
especially about natural birth.
- An excellent massage therapist for pregnancy is Audrey
Simon, she does pretty exclusively pregnant women. I went to her during
my last four months of pregnancy, when my back doctor recommended her.
Audrey Simon's phone is 663-2783. She also has a fun infant massage
class I also went to.
- I agree that Audrey is wonderful; we also took her infant massage class.
She is an interesting person and has a real interest in babies. So I second
the recommendation (although I didn't have her do any massage on me; just
- While pregnant I went to Head to Toe Therapies up on
Plymouth Road -- don't remember who I saw, but it was
very pleasant and good. More recently I've been going
to In-Touch Massage which is just now moving from
State near the Produce Station to Eisenhower Pkwy.
The last therapist I saw was Pat and she told me she
also gives pregnancy massages and that most therapists
have been trained for pregnancy massages, as well.
She has the pillows, etc. to make it comfortable.
ENJOY!! Its one of the best things to do for yourself
Alternative Medicine (acupuncture, osteopathy, etc.):
- We've used Dr. J. Sherrer (sp?) who is in the Parkway Center
(where Castle Remedies is). A really neat guy, we agreed philosophically,
but he was never in on the days my first child got sick. So we moved to...
Dr. Dumont, who has a great reputation and is even open on Saturday
mornings, but is not nearly as flexible about things these days as he
probably used to be. In fact he *basically* said he'd stop treating our
children if I didn't vaccinate my kids (because he was in the middle of a
lawsuit, and because I think he was bringing someone new into the practice
- so this was somewhat understandable). They did prescribe cold medicine
and antibiotics instead of remedies so we moved again to the offices of...
Dr. Molly McMullen-Laird and Dr. Quentin McMullen and we are SO happy!
They have a patient organization call CSAM (Community Supported
Anthroposohpical Medicine - that's what you'll find in the phone book).
They've successfully treated all our childhood illnesses with remedies.
Anthrosphosophical medicine is one of Rudolf Steiner's ideas. You can
probably learn more about it on the net - I'm still not good at explaining
it! (They are located right next to the Parkway Center). One caution
though - their speciality is not pediatrics, so they'll warn you about this
- My osteopath/acupuncturist, Jay Sandweiss, is excellent, but I don't think
his practice is accepting new patients. However, he's had a couple of
doctors intern with him over the years, and I know his office refers patients
to them. You could try giving Jay's office a call for info at 995-1880.
- Dr. Kathleen Dvorak at Complete Chiropratic and Massage Therapy,
off Hogback, near Washtenaw Ave. She really is wonderful! (and she was my
second Chrioprator--the first only used the activator, and it just never
really worked. Dr. Dvorak used a combination method that I was very happy
with, and she also does some holistic medicine, and other energy techniques..)
I also use Kirsten Mowry for Massage Therapy there.
- I would happily recommend Dr. Dennis Chernin. He is a MD and
a homeopath. He only has office hours M, W, and Fr, but has been very
responsive in off-hours emergencies or pseudo emergencies (long story).
He is in the purple house on S. Huron Parkway, shares the space with many
natural-type docs and Castle Remedies, as well as a St. Joe's lab.
- I have been taking my son to
Community Supported Anthroposophical
Medicine. Their office is in the building just next to the purple houses
Doctors for Adults -
Note that there are also some family doctors listed in the
Pediatricians section of this page.
- I really like Peter Paul. He is in a practice called Partners in
Internal Medicine on Plymouth Rd, near Plymouth and Green Rd in Ann
Arbor. I have followed him to several practices. The practice is
reasonably small, about 5-6 physicians, and I have rarely had trouble
getting an appointment quickly when I have been sick and usually end up
seeing Dr. Paul. The wait is longer for regular physicals, but that
makes sense. Since we don't go to Liberty Pediatrics, I don't have
anything to compare it to, but we have been pleased with Dr. Paul for
- I really like Eliza Ostafin who practises at the U-M West
Ann Arbor health center. It's a relatively small practise (3 docs--2
women and one man) and while I like them all, I have found that Dr.
Ostafin is the best of the three--she remembers her patients and has
always given me as much time as I needed. That being said, it is a busy
practise, but she isn't one to cut corners if her schedule is packed.
I'm not sure about your insurance plan because I have M-Care.
- I agree with the previous poster regarding the doctors at U of M
(west side). It is a small practice and the doctors there are very
nice and patient. I never got the feeling I am rushed and the wait has
been very reasonable (max 20 min).
- I've been seeing Drs. Gill and Stalberg at West Ann Arbor,
and Dr. Sandvig is my daughter's pediatrician. They are knowledgeable and
friendly, although I can feel the press of time they are under
sometimes, particularly with Dr. Sandvig. But I am satisfied and happy
not to have to go to Taubman Center for a simple doctor's appointment.
- Iíve been quite happy with the four doctors Iíve seen at
Briarwood Family Practice. They are often so booked that it is
hard to schedule a regular appointment, but I have never failed to get
in the same day when I or my child have been unexpectedly sick. I like
all the doctors that Iíve seen there and am also happy with the Family
Nurse Practitioners. I donít see the Physician Assistant there anymore
(if I can help it) but sheís the only one I avoid. Iíve seen Drs. Ruffin,
Malouin, Gallagher, and Bartelme, the latter being my regular doctor.
There is ample parking and itís right by the mall so itís easy to get to.
Not sure what insurance they take, but they say they participate in
"many plans." Itís a 14-doctor practice but it doesnít feel that big to me.
I sometimes get put on hold waiting for an appointment, but I always
eventually get to talk to a human.
- I go to Dr. Rockwell at East Ann Arbor Health Associates.
Although I go to the UM midwives for my gyn needs, Dr. Rockwell is great.
I have been pleased with her services, and she is a D.O.
- David Alvarez DO -- he's in the U of M system and quite good,
as is his wife, Pamela Rockwell who I think may also be a DO.
Both are GREAT docs.
Dentists: - first appointments are recommended some time between
1 year and 3 years, depending on who you ask.
- We see Dr. Marilyn Dahms on Carpenter and she is very good with
children. Both my children are more at ease with women than men. My son
had a good first appointment. No cavities and no problems.
- I have a friend whose 4 year old had to have two cavities filled. She
used Dr. Kay Wilson and really liked her.
- My son is 3 1/2, we haven't started going yet, but I would recommend
Dr. Dennis Donoho at Washtenaw Dental Associates on Washtenaw near
Hewitt, across from Murray's auto. He is great! Very gentle & reassuring.
I've seen him work with kids. Good luck!
- We use Dr. Ray Maturo, on the corner of Scio Church and Main and
we love him. He really worked with us on learning how to brush our little
boy's teeth and they seem really on top of when and how to get kids to take
care of their own teeth. We have heard from several parents that they love
him and his office. (Note: One parent on the
list had a terrible experience with her child at Dr. Maturo's office.)
- I see Dr. Carol Haggerty for myself. I really love her. I don't
know if she works with children, but if she does, I am sure she will be
great. She is soooo gentle with adults. Her office is near Lampost Plaza in
- Go to my dentist! He is used by the U of M for dentist-phobic patients
and neither of my kids, who have gone to him for YEARS (about fifteen?), are
the slightest bit afraid or unhappy about dental visits, and this with a mom
who is so severely phobic that I go into panic attacks and have been known
to faint at the sight of the needle. Dr. Krasnoff is *wonderful* and
his hygienists and the rest of his office are more than willing to do
whatever it takes to make a patient comfortable, particularly a little one.
There aren't that many toys in his waiting room, and it's a small office,
but I don't think there's a better dentist for easing fears and doing a good
job in the whole of Ann Arbor.
- Dr. Farah and Associates are WAY wonderful with young children. They
are located on the west side of town. I recommend them highly.
- We went to a pediatric dentist, Dr. Kay Wilson and were thrilled
with the experience.
- I know some people have had a good experience with Kay Wilson, but I had
such a bad one that I felt I should speak up. I'll spare you the details, but
feel free to call me for the details. I go to a family dentist, Regina Dailey,
by the way, and she is top notch!!! She is a dentist with an MD. Her phone is
734-996-0055. I have heard of others that haven't had a positive experience
with Dr. Wilson, either. I much prefer Dr. Dailey - she is very competent
and patient, and her staff and she have terrific chairside manner. She is
also very tolerant of more natural approaches, if that is what you are
interested in. I can't say enough good things about her.
- We really like Wilson.
- We have not had the experience of having cavities filled at the dentist
for my son, however, I have been continually impressed by how my son's
dentist explains everything they do each step of the way for general
cleanings. My son is very sensitive to new experiences and people and
yet, has loved going to the dentist and happily describes all the cute
names they give to the different pieces of equipment. This last time we
were there we made an appointment for my 22 month old also and my 4 year
old spent the ride home explaining to his brother the fun he was going
to have at the dentist. Again, however, we have not had to deal with
the cavity experience. We have been going to Dr. Kay Wilson, pediatric
dentist, and highly recommend her.
- I thought Dr. Ray Maturo did a horrible job--not preparing either my son or me
for what he was going to do, and treated my son like he was an uncooperative animal.
- Our family dentist is Dr. Jeanne Lesch in Saline. We have
been very happy with her. She treats my husband, myself, and our five
year old son. My toddler has had some dental problems, so he was
referred to a pediatric dentist. In my experience, Dr. Lesch is very gentle.
- A few months ago, I went to Regina Dailey, at the recommendation of one
or more people on this list. I needed a regular cleaning, and I was told
to bring Charlie (age three) with me, so he could see what it's like.
Next time we'll both have a cleaning. It was a very positive experience.
The hygienist was very chatty with my son -- a relief to me to not have
to answer her questions with her hands in my mouth, something I've
always disliked about getting a cleaning. She even let my son help her
with taking my X-rays (he got to to push the button). When I was done,
she asked him if she could look in his mouth, and she was very
gentle and showed him the mirror tool before she put it in his mouth. By
the time the dentist came in to see me, we had been there a very long
time, so my son was getting pretty antsy. The dentist asked him if he
like to dance, and when he said yes, she told him that she just needed a
few minutes with mommy and then she would dance with him. True to her
word, when she was done with me, she turned on a radio on the room and
the two of them danced around for a couple of minutes!
Another thing I liked about the practice: There were washcloths in the
bathroom for drying hands -- an indication of environmental consciousness.
996-0055 - 221 N. Ingalls
- We went to Dr. Wilson, and had a very good experience. However,
she did recommend a treatment that seems to be overkill, so we are getting
a second opinion from Arnold Morawa - 3100 E Eisenhower Pkwy - 971-3368.
He was very highly recommended to my by another mother who has taken her
son there for a long time. He is not listed as a pediatric dentist in the
phone book, but his office does indicate that he is one.
- I took my 2 1/2 year old for his first visit to the dentist yesterday,
and to my surprise, it was a great success! The hygienist knew exactly how
to make everything interesting and fun. She directed all of her instruction
and conversation right at him. First she had him sit in the chair, and
explained to him how it worked. Then she gave him a large model of a set of
teeth and showed him how to brush them with an enormous tooth brush. Then she
showed and demonstrated some cool tools - the water squirter and the little
water vacuum. That was a huge hit, and we had to squirt water and vacuum it
out several times. Then came a demonstration of the "tooth tickler" (tooth
polisher), and, if you can believe it, he allowed her to polish all his teeth.
Then she let him pick out his own toothbrush, instructed him in the proper
method of brushing his teeth, and sent him home with a sticker and a ring.
The amazing thing about all of this is that we have been trying unsuccessfully
to brush his teeth for over a year now. He is very stubborn, and we are lucky
to get more than about 5 seconds of brushing in. We have tried all the tricks,
with poor results. For some reason he was entranced by the hygienist and
extremely cooperative. Normally he is very wiggly and talkative, but during
the whole, fairly long visit, he sat quietly and listened. He clearly absorbed
a lot, and the visit has changed his attitude, because last night and tonight
both he demonstrated to daddy how he brushes his teeth (with my help).
The hygienist's name is Margo Perry. She works for Kevin Schmidt and
Newell Miller in NE Ann Arbor. Schmidt is my dentist, and I like him, but I
cannot attest to how the dentists in that practice are with children. There
is another hygienist in the office I do not recommend, especially for children.
I personally find her very rough and a friend of mine is terrified of her.
If you want her name I can provide it in a separate email.
- Though not specifically a pediatric dentist we take our son (almost 3)
to our family dentist Dr. Wennersten on Ann Arbor Saline Road. They are
very very child friendly--our son has been going with us for our visits since he
was born and recently had his first check-up.
- We have been going to Rosalind Sarver, who is nice to kids. She does
whole-family dentistry and as far as I can tell (based on my own teeth) is
a fine dentist. W/ my 3 y.o.'s first visit, dr Sarver "counted her teeth",
mentioned that it was time to lose the pacifier, and my daughter got a
treat. Second visit, daughter got her teeth cleaned and a fluoride
treatment. No frightened howling.
- We went to Dr. Kay Wilson, who is a pediatric dentist. The office
is all about kids, with a train track on the ceiling, toys and models (of teeth)
to play with while getting your cleaning, a photo of your first cleaning with
your hygienist, very friendly staff! I recommend them highly.
- I would suggest trying to call Dr. Kay Wilson. She is a pediatric
dentist in Ann Arbor. We went to see her with our 3 year old a few weeks ago
and the office was very child friendly and they were very willing to answer questions.
- My son and I go to the Comfort Dental Center (located in the
Colonnade Shopping Center off of Eisenhower). Our Dentist, Dr. Paresh, is a very
gentle man. The hygienist, Britton, is a wonderful woman. She is truly one of
the best hygienists I have ever been to see.
At my son's first appointment (just a few months ago) he only saw Britton.
She was very kind. She let my son sit in my lap and dictate exactly which
teeth he wanted cleaned. Afterwards, he got to pick out a new toothbrush and a
toy. All in all, it seemed like a positive experience for him. He talked
for several days about how he liked the dentist.
I am hugely phobic about the dentist, so it is a big deal for me to be
recommending anyone at all. The Comfort Dental Care Center is very low-key. The
office is not the most glamorous looking dental office I have ever been in, but
the people more than make up for that.
7. What are some activities for babies or small children, especially on a snowy day?
Time - in the winter, play equipment is available to use
Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the winter at the county building at
the corner of Platt and Washtenaw. The cost is $2 per child, no charge for adults.
- The Kids' Room at the public library
is great for kids of all ages, including babies and toddlers. There are
wooden puzzles, a dollhouse, a fishtank, huge collections of both
regular books and board books, and computers with kid-appropriate
programs. They have several regular storytimes, some in series'
that you sign up for, and others that you can drop in to, and even some
for babies. The librarians are really nice too! Located downtown at
Fifth and William. Free!
- Fantasy Forest has an
indoor playground (great in bad weather!), a play kitchen area for kids,
and a real snack bar (with lots of healthy kid-friendly choices!).
Admission prices range from $1.50 for babies to $6.50 for kids age 3 and
over. Located on Washtenaw near US-23. Owned by an ArborParent!
- The Hands On Museum has dozens of
things for kids to do, from blowing a huge bubble around yourself to
seeing yourself on TV to playing a harp made of beams of light to
seeing bees in their beehive or feeling fossils. There's
also a preschool room with lots of activities, such as a water table
and a fire engine that the kids can "drive", and a baby area with soft
blocks. Located on Ann St. between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Admission
is $7 per adult and $5 per child (ages 2-17). Kids under 2 are free.
A year's membership is $70 per family and gets you free admission for a
year, plus free admission to 240 other science centers around the world.
- Turn the kids loose to run around at
- Here's a page with
ideas for things to do with a toddler. The activities aren't
specific to Ann Arbor, but they were written by an Ann Arbor resident.
- The department of Rec & Ed
has some classes for people of all ages, including babies, toddlers,
- Arborweb's listing of
this week's family and kid stuff -- this is a good way to
find out about story time at the local bookstores, science events at the
Leslie Science Center, museum events, and more.
- Send e-mail to the list to set up a playdate.
- Go to a La Leche League
meeting. They have weekly get-togethers of breastfeeding moms and
pregnant mothers-to-be. Free. Babies and toddlers are welcome.
- See the dinosaurs at the
History Museum, located at North University and East University.
Admission is free.
- The YMCA runs a variety
of classes for babies and toddlers (swim classes, tumbling
classes, etc.) that run in 4 to 8 week cycles throughout the year.
Their pool is reputed to be particularly good on safety issues.
- The Ann Arbor Art Center, downtown, offers classes for children.
Just be sure the class is really and truly geared for your children's ages.
I once took my son, then about 14 months, to a class the Center said was
geared for kids ages 1-3. It was a disaster! The room was filled with delicate
handblown glass vases, and the children were expected to paint a picture with a
paintbrush on a piece of paper. The older kids did fine, but I ended up chasing
my paint-smeared son all over the room while he tried to paint the other KIDS.
I asked for--and received--my money back!
- My son took an art class he enjoyed very much through the Ann Arbor Public
Schools Community Recreation and Education last summer. It met at the Eberbach
Cultural Arts Building in Burns Park, Ann Arbor. There was one for 3 - 5 year olds,
and one for K-1. He took the one for younger kids and enjoyed it a lot, but
I think a 5 year old could also have taken the older one. It would be obvious
from the catalog which one it was. They discussed famous artists and then did art
projects based on the artist's style. Of course, Picasso was included, and some others.
They worked with a variety of materials and he had a great time! And he came home
with some fairly impressive projects. I thought the teacher did a good job of supporting him.
- Go to the Ann Arbor Airport. One mom reports that her son LOVES
this, and they've even had a pilot notice his enthusiasm and offer to
give him a "tour" of his plane!
- Go to Michigan
Stadium, which is sometimes open to the public.
- Join the Kids Go Blue Club
for free admission to lots of U of M sporting games.
- Visit the Domino's Petting Farms
to see lots of real live animals. Open year-round. $3.50 per adult,
$3 per child (ages 2-12), children under 2 are free. One mom writes:
I second the Domino Farms idea. My two year old loves the place and it
is also a big hit with his grandparents. It would be a good idea if the
weather is good. Last time we were there we took pictures of the
different animals and put them into an inexpensive photo album. It is
one of my son's favorite books. He loves to "read" it and discuss all
the different animals we saw. Another mom writes: They have pony rides.
We bought a family membership last year and went almost every weekend.
They've got lots of friendly farm animals and a ton of ducks and geese
you can feed. They also have hay rides that are part of the cost of
admission. Two-year olds get a huge kick out of the place, and it's not
too boring for parents, either.
- The Little Farm at
Metropark (no admission for the Farm itself, just per-car for the
Park with cheap annual passes; they also have a hay ride at the farm
that you can buy tickets for). In the spring there are many baby
animals in the barn. One family reports that they saw two litters of
baby pigs, two pairs of twin goats, a lamb that was only 1 hour old and
wobbling around on its shaky legs, and plenty of baby chicks. And
there are also lots of nice spots to picnic near the lake or take a walk.
- Visit the large Cabela's
showroom by Dundee. (Take 23 South to the Dundee exit--you can't miss it).
One mom writes: It ended up being a great place for our 2 1/2 year old,
plus my 9-year-old
niece loved it too. They sell clothes and gear for hunters and
fishermen. The showroom has an amazing aquarium featuring freshwater
gamefish. It rivals some I've seen at educational aquariums. It also
has a brook running through the sales floor, with salmon racing up the
stream, and several displays of taxidermy, including a mountain scene
with a waterfall, and an African savannah with elephant (really!) and
other African animals. Not everyone is keen on looking at dead animals
who have been shot for sport, but on a boring
winter afternoon it was fine entertainment. It is a store, of course (a
huge one) but you don't have to buy anything. Loads of people go just
to look at the displays. It takes about 25 minutes to get there.
- Visit the Toledo Zoo
(approx. 45 minutes from Ann Arbor) or the
- The Toledo Art Museum
has a children's room. It's like a big playroom with tons of activities.
It's a fantastic place to take your kid to unwind after being in the
museum. It's very family-friendly. Parents have to stay with the kids
(it's not a daycare center).
- Visit The Scrap Box to buy
some recycled odds and ends for crafts projects. Some things you can find
here: wallpaper scraps, cardboard tubes, foam cylinders, and thread spools.
- Visit the
Support Group from New
Moon Midwifery and the
Center for the Childbearing Year
on Brooks St. on Thursdays from 11am-1pm. One mom writes: My son (20 mos.)
and I were faithful participants for many months. I was so grateful to have
a large group of like-minded mothers, where homebirths were common and there
were discussions of all the touchy topics I didn't dare to open my mouth
about in other groups (co-sleeping, vaccines, alternative medicine, etc.).
I find it very generous of Mickey and Merilynne of New Moon Midwifery to host
this group and to open it up to anyone in the community, not just their clients.
My son and I only stopped going this year when I noticed that it was a group
really more suitable for young babies and for older children who would not
accidentally step on the young babies! The only other downside was that
the space was not childproofed enough for us - some other children my son's
age were fine, but my son tended to get into mischief.
I hope we can go back when my son is a little older. Mickey and Merilynne
and their apprentices were so welcoming, and I found many of the short
presentations that were given regularly very helpful.
- There's a fantastic room for the younger
set at the COSI
in Toledo. Many hands-on activities
and much larger than our own little Hands-On here in
Ann Arbor. The good news for those of us who are Hands-On Museum members
-- your admission is free through their reciprocal
admission program! Worth the hour drive.
- The Humane Society might be a
bit crowded and noisy, but could be an interesting place to visit.
- One mom writes: I have heard there are some dairy farms open for
kids to visit (complete with ice cream cone at the end). Does anyone know
- Tiny Tots at
Science Center is on the second Friday of each month from
9:30 - 11:00 am. It costs $6 per child.
- Go to Generations or White Rabbit toys or Toys R Us, where your child can
play with the trains and such.
- Getting out ourselves, even to a non-kid focused activity,
helped a lot (either when he as asleep or quietly playing). Some
places, like the Asian bakery, or Zingermans, or some coffee shops,
seemed like easy places to have a baby playing in a carrier and have an
interesting new surroundings. I kind of liked being around other
friends with and without children-- baby care didn't seem like work,
just like part of the fun. All alone with my baby, I felt like I needed
to "entertain" all the time...even with my husband at home.
County Recreation Center runs a variety of programs for babies and
toddlers (swim classes, tumbling classes, etc.) that run in 4 to 8 week cycles
throughout the year.
- Visit Matthaei Botanical
Gardens -- outside gardens and walking trails are free, fees for
- Visit Silver Lake -- good for toddlers, small beach, changing
tables in bathrooms, concessions.
Hills Water Park -- better for older children (must be 36 inches to
ride slides), also a wading pool for babies, changing tables in bathrooms,
- Elbell Field -- The Michigan Marching Band practices there at
night during football season. The public can watch and listen for free.
- Visit the
offers various local classes for babies from birth to 5 years. They have play gym
classes, music classes, art classes, and they do birthday parties. In Ann Arbor
they are located near the airport. 214-3770.
- You can hang out by the fountains and ramps at the mall once your
child is mobile. Also-- you can go to OTHER malls, elsewhere. Some have play
areas and lots of people and small children around. You can use them as indoor
playground a 40 minute drive away. (Recommendations, anybody? Please e-mail
- You can take a baby to various free events around town (the public library
story time for babies, the story times at the bookstores).
- Gari Stein is
reported to offer excellent music classes.
- First Steps Washtenaw
offers playgroups and classes for all children, and extra support for low-income
families. They have big playrooms and a variety of classes for kids age 0-5. There
are even some classes intended for dads to bring their kids to. The people in the
classes there tend to be from a very diverse variety of ethnic backgrounds.
If you have concerns about your child's development, they have trained people
who you can request to do a special assessment of your child, optionally in your home.
- The Jewish Community Center has a
which is very nice on Friday mornings, open to the public. Other churches/temples/etc
surely have such things too. Even if you're not religious, your child may truly
enjoy the music.
- Star Southfield Theater offers a
(If you follow the link, note that it lists movies in many cites, not just
Southfield.) Moms can expect a dimmer theater with just enough light to care for the baby,
lowered sound that won't disturb children, healthy snacks along with the
traditional popcorn and candy, play areas, changing tables, a stroller check
and other baby-friendly bonuses. The mom-centered program also gives women a
chance to socialize with other moms before the movie, hear guest speakers who
will give expert advice and participate in mom and baby contests and giveaways.
Films are shown every Tuesday. Adult tickets are $6. Babies get in free.
- Go berry picking! A favorite is Makielski Berry Farm -
7130 Platt Road, (734) 572-0060. Raspberries from early August through October.
Children welcome. Raspberry honey also available. Berry patch is insecticide free.
- A mom writes: The JayCees run an
in the Pioneer High School parking lot, corner of
Main and Stadium. Ample parking. You really want to take the little ones and go.
I prefer to go either early or late, because of the heat, but everyone has their own
tolerances. Bring your own water bottles though.
I've been going to this carnival every year for 30 years or so... and over time it has
really evolved to the point where you see more and more families with small children,
even well into the night. It impresses me no end that the carnival has retained its
small-town feel but provides endless enjoyment. My son did like Disneyland, but it
did not compare to the enjoyment he got from the carnival. tip: buy your child the
armband for $14, it will pay for itself very quickly.
- A mom writes: If you like the Pi-Hi Carnival you will probably LOVE the Chelsea Fair...
in August some time. It has a small midway and lots of kiddie rides plus
the kinds I will never go on. Also tractor pulls, bunnies, and you can
even get a spaghetti supper. It's set up on grass so it doesn't seem as
sweltering as the Pioneer fair, but all in all the 2 are pretty similar.
It's a summer highlight for us; I highly recommend it!
- And of course there's Henry Ford
Museum and Greenfield Village. Henry Ford Museum is a collection of all
things automotive. Greenfield Village is Henry Ford's collection of
famous buildings -- Thomas Edison's lab, the Wright Brothers' bicycle
shop, and so on, all moved there piece by piece from their original
locations. Plus a farm. Plus craftspeople demonstrating crafts such
as glass blowing.
- A mom writes: If you have kids
age 5 and above, I can't say enough good things about the guys at the
Arbor Music Center. They teach guitar, bass and drums, as well as lap steel
guitar and mandolin and ukulele, too. I have taken guitar lessons there for
over a year, and they are terrific. I've tried guitar on and off all my
life and never found a good teaching experience, and this has been totally
different. In fact, for the older kids (8 years and older) they have a
Rock Band School where the kids take a private lesson 1X per week, and then
they meet up for a group lesson and learn what it is like to play in a band.
They focus on all different genres of music cover tunes - classic rock,
funk, blues, etc. Last time I was there, they were working on "Back in the
USSR". These kids totally love it! They are located on Main Street in
downtown Ann Arbor. If you are interested, you
can reach the owner Alex Johnson at 734-665-0375 or
check out their web page. Tell him Cindy sent ya!
- Cobblestone Farm
has a nice annual Halloween party with crafts, costume prizes, and tours of
the Cobblestone Farm house.
- The Summit
at the Park in Canton: The indoor pool area would be a great indoor activity
for the winter. It has a large kiddie pool, that starts at zero depth and is about
3 feet at the deepest end, with sprinklers, fountains etc. They also have a lazy river
and water slide. My kids are too young for the slide but they enjoyed the
pool and the lazy river. The pool area is quite big and is surrounded by
wall-to-wall windows letting in a lot of natural light. They also have
family locker rooms, with changing rooms with doors. There was a banner on
the wall showing that they had won a lot of safety awards. I noticed that
there were a lot of lifeguards.
It is $12/adult for non-residents (of Canton) and $4 for kids over four. So
it is pricy but worth beating the winter blues.
- There is an indoor water park in Wayne too.
- Spend time at Nicholson's Bike Shop on Jackson Rd. and sit on all the
four wheelers! (the most favorite activity for my son!!)
- The McDonald's on Zeeb Road is great for toddlers and littler
kids due to the low climbing structure.
- Shop at Ruelig's on Island Drive Road through Dexter... huge
old farm market with tractors.
- Jungle Java in Canton has
amazing indoor climbing structures.
- The Compass Cafe in Plymouth is an indoor playground similar to Jungle Java. 734-455-5100
- Mack Pool
has family swim times.
- Riding the UM bus in a very large circle up to north campus
and back, to the exhibit museum bus stop... we have done that twice,
and it was very well received (yet a little long.)
- The Depot Museum in Saline is worth
a visit for young train lovers. It is very small and obscure - but it has a
real caboose that is outfitted as an old-timey caboose really would have been -
with the conductor's desk and bunk and stuff... and there are some exhibits inside
the building. Not spectacular or slick or flashy - just some interesting old
train stuff. My older son really enjoyed climbing on the caboose and imagining
what it was like to be on one.
- "The Link" makes for a
nice cheap bus ride. It's the relatively new AATA
bus system that runs around downtown, kerrytown, and key campus areas.
Only $.25 and kids under 5 are free. We did that the other night after my
son's martial arts lesson and he loved it. Plus I liked upping their
ridership because I think it's a really good addition to the AATA system.
- The Activities for
Children page on arborweb has some more ideas.
8. What are some good playgrounds?
- Allmendinger Park (on Pauline) has two kinds of baby swings,
and lots of sand.
- A longer drive away is
Mill Pond Park in
Saline. It's got a fabulous "castle" playground for all ages, mostly gated in,
as well as a nice stream with a bridge for playing pooh-sticks.
- Our daycare provider lives across the street from a small park, but it's
got a nice sandbox (bring your own toys) and some good baby swings. It's
Meadowbrook Park, which you can to via North Brook or via Seventh
Street (take it south until it ends). It always has kids in it, and the
other parents are generally friendly. In fact, I often wish we lived in
- While not a playground per se, we've spent many many hours on U-M
campus with our child. On the weekends it's pretty tame, and you can
enjoy huge expanses of space without worrying about cars. There are
flowers, grass, squirrels, fountains, etc. Our son always liked to walk
along the wide raised concrete borders of the flower beds.
- Eberwhite School has an amazing playground that is open to the
public in the evenings and on weekends. The playground has a huge wooden
"castle" for kids to climb on. It seems much more toddler-safe than many of
the local public playgrounds.
- When our son wasn't too sure on his feet, we tried to go to
playgrounds with good sandboxes. We brought some sandbox
toys and didn't worry too much if he fell. Burns Park has a good
sandbox (and some pretty good jungle gyms for small folks).
- Also the park on Stadium in front of Woodbury Gardens apts
(next to Kroger - can't remember the name) is entirely in a
sandbox (but the jungle gym (except for the ramp) is a bit too
tough for small folks).
- Another really, really good playground that is quite a drive away
is in downtown Brighton - they have the most fantastic jungle
gyms - easy steps for kids and absolutely huge - good for
climbers. It's about a half an hour drive from Ann Arbor though.
- We like the park on the west side of town, off of Argyle Crescent (take
Miller to Saunders and go north to second left). It has a great toddler
structure, grassy areas, sandbox, toddler swings, plenty of kids there.
- I like Delhi Park. Right by the river, so you can feed the
ducks and such, and has a big ship thing in the playground
area that most kids can start to navigate.
- My favorite park to take my kids is the one on the intersection of
of Plymouth & Broadway on the northeast side of town. I find it very
calming and so do my girls, a bit surprising because it is right next to
Plymouth road. There is a little brook that trickles by that we like to
sit and toss pebbles in. The play structure is easily navigated by even a
barely walking toddler. There are plenty of old trees to provide shade,
and a couple of pizza places & a Chinese restaurant nearby from where we
often get our picnic lunch - usually have it delivered to the park. It
is a very small park so I can stay in one place and still keep an eye on
both kids. It has a very simple structure and swings so it is probably
the least fancy of all that have been recommended.
9. What are some gyms with good childcare?
- One mom writes: I used to belong to the
YMCA, but dropped my
membership when I discovered how
limited their childcare facility is. They only offer care for a limited
number of afternoon hours per day. In addition, you have to pay extra for
aerobics, spinning, yoga classes. Also, if you don't live or work close
enough to bike/walk, parking can be another added expense.
I now have a membership at One-on-One. The monthly membership is
very reasonable, all classes & childcare included. The only drawback is
that they don't have a pool.
- Another mom writes: In the many years that I've been a member of the Ann Arbor YMCA
(www.annarborymca.org), I've often thought of switching to another
facility for various reasons: the building is not shiny new (although I
find it's being kept up very well these days), the pool is too small, the
membership costs are too high for what I do (primarily swimming), and,
most recently, the hours the drop-in childcare facility is open do not
coincide well with the hours the pool is open for lap swimming. (During
the week, that's only from 6:20-8pm, not a very convenient time for me.)
HOWEVER, I've stayed because the Y has some things going for it that no
other place does: location, location, location! It's the only place with
a pool that is easy to get to without a car, since it is located right
next to the AATA terminal downtown. The hours are also excellent -
something like 6am-10pm. They never skimp on safety, something I haven't
necessarily found to be true at other, much more expensive facilities. The
Y is a very family-oriented place, although since my toddler is only 15 mos., I
haven't had the opportunity to use anything except the drop-in childcare
and the "Shrimps & Kippers" beginning swimming class, which is delightful!
All classes (I've taken yoga, chi-gung, water aerobics) are very
inexpensive to members. I like that the Y provides permanent, lockable
baskets - it's even possible to hang a wet swimsuit from one. This made
all the difference to me when I was swimming in the middle of a busy day
away from home, not always at predictable times; it's a nuisance to carry
all your workout gear with you as you go from place to place on your bike!
A lot of people - especially swimmers - like the Washtenaw County
Recreation facility, on Washtenaw. They have a beautiful pool and the
membership is quite reasonable. I may reconsider a membership here when
the Y moves to its new location at Huron and 3rd St. in a few years, but
even so, it will be a tough decision. County Rec doesn't have childcare,
as far as I know. There is now a bike path along Washtenaw and the #4 bus
goes past, but I still prefer having a reason to go downtown to the Y -
which also guarantees that I return my library books across the street!
10. What are some good childbirth classes?
Each entry below is the words of a different person:
- Birthworks - Melissa Schuster was an excellent facilitator for
my husband and me. She focused on empowerment and knowing the hospital
system as well as giving us lots of information on the huge variety of
options for our birth plan. The birth plan we made while in the class
was key to my positive experience. The doctor at one point in my
delivery firmly told the nurse "Read the birth plan" when the nurse was
bugging me about something.
Melissa is a social worker and certified Birthworks teacher. She's very
supportive and used a variety of teaching styles to help us: videos on
natural birthing and breastfeeding from around the world, guided imagery
exercises, music, humor, children's books. I highly recommend the
course. We met in one of the participants' homes which was very comfy.
- I had my baby at home and we took a childbirth education class based
on the book Birthing From Within that others have mentioned. I really
liked it, and got a lot out of it. The class focuses more on the laboring
mothers' experience of birth, and coping mechanisms, than on the
step-by-step of what's happening. It also utilized a good amount of art
-- drawing, etc. -- to work through any "stuff" you may have regarding
the upcoming birth. I am NO artist, but I found it to be extremely
valuable! Having said all that, as far as coping with the pain, I'm not
so sure I really used any "techniques" while in the midst of labor....
just kind of hung on for the ride! I agree that a doula would be key if
you are giving birth in a hospital or birthing center.
The woman who taught our BFW class is Sierra Hillebrandt. I can
give you her number if you'd like. She's also a doula I believe....
- My $.02: I took a birthing hypnosis class outside Lansing when
I was pregnant (we moved back here about
3 weeks before my baby was born). We got involved in the
classes late in the game (my husband and I both took
them), so I never was successful at using hypnosis to
"turn off the pain" the way the instructor taught.
However, even though I felt every single contraction
(!!!) during my labor, the hypnosis training kept me
very calm, so much so that the labor nurses didn't
think I was very far along (based on my outward
appearance), and then checked my dilation and had to
call the midwife in from her office, to use their
term, "stat"! I was able to keep my body relaxed
(forced it to, so I wouldn't tense up and be in even
more pain) and my husband kept coaching me to relax my
body muscle by muscle, which was so helpful. My
"mantra" was to stay out my body's way and let my
uterus do it's job ... and I had a great birth
Birthing hypnosis was the only class we took, except
the standard tour and "training" from the hospital,
which claimed to teach Lamaze breathing (that portion
consisted of about 15-20 min max - bleh!). I read a
ton of books on labor and delivery like I was studying
for comps ... ha ha ha.
Do I wish I would have taken more classes in real
Lamaze, Bradley, etc? Don't know. But I have and
continue to highly recommend birthing hypnosis.
- Sandra Brown is a mom on the Arborparents list.
She says, "I offer refresher classes for childbirth preparation as
well. I'd be happy to send along my brochure if you like. I do not
teach a method other than facilitating identifying your values, making
informed decisions, and getting your needs met, having the birth you want."
11. Who are some good doulas? - A doula is a support person who stays
with a mother during labor and attends to her needs.
Each entry below is the words of a different person:
- I also highly recommend doula support. My husband and I are so thankful
that we discovered this option. I had a frighteningly quick labor for a
first child and being over 40. If we hadn't had Lee Roosevelt and
Sierra Hildebrandt (who were working together at the time), I probably
would have delivered in the car on the way to the hospital. I felt very
safe and empowered knowing Lee was with me. We also had doula support
when we went home which was also a godsend as our parents were in their
70s, 80s when our baby was born so couldn't help as much. We always
recommend this option to anyone we know who's expecting.
12. Where can you have a good birthday party?
Each entry below is the words of a different person:
- You can reserve a room at the Hands-On Museum for birthdays.
- The back room at White Rabbit toystore can be set up for a birthday party. 665-1555
- We love the Planetarium at
the Exhibit Museum! Once we had my son's birthday party there and the woman
hosting it was a docent for the planetarium, she gave us a personalized show.
We have been going there for years.
hosts arts-and-crafts birthday parties.
- The Scrap Box hosts birthday parties, where
the kids make projects out of recycled scraps of various materials.
- Summit at the Park in Canton
has indoor pools that start at zero depth, a lazy river, and water slides.
- Jungle Java hosts birthday parties
where kids can climb on a big indoor playground.
- The Compass Cafe is similar to Jungle Java. It's located in Plymouth, and it hosts
birthday parties too. 734-455-5100
- Several people report good birthday party experiences at
Domino Farms petting farm. They include a
hayride and other activities.
My kids went to a party there one year in December. It was frigid cold out that
day, but they loaded everybody into a truck with lots of hay in the back,
plus parents had brought along blankets to put on our laps, so they drove
us around the farm and talked to us about the various animals there. Then
they brought us back to a barn, and a lady who knew a lot about animals
showed the kids several animals and talked about what the animals are
like. The kids got to pet a few of them. Then we went back to this one
house where the parents of the birthday kids had set up cake and ice
cream. We did the usual party stuff there -- eating food, opening
presents. Despite the cold temperature it wasn't too bad to be outside for
the hayride and other events. For whatever that's worth.
- I dislike
Chuck E. Cheese
but they do a good job with parties - very organized and the service is excellent. (Warning: Their
website makes noises when you look at it.)
- I'm looking forward to a 3rd consecutive birthday party at
Lazer Tag for my almost 9 year old. (Warning: This
website plays loud music.)
- We did a bowling party for the boys at Belmark Lanes (994-8433).
They have a special couple of lanes that do not allow the balls to "gutter". Both boys and girls thought
that was the greatest thing in the universe and it has been re-requested many, many, many times.
- My kids have really enjoyed parties at The Scrap Box and
Liberty Athletic Club.
Both of those were really well-run -- I was
very impressed. At a Scrap Box birthday party, the kids do several craft
projects and then they get to choose some "scraps" to take home to do more
projects. At the athletic club the kids got to go climbing in a neat
indoor climbing structure with a ball pit at the bottom, and they played
some basketball. The lady from Liberty Athletic who was organizing the
party was amazing -- very connected to the kids, encouraging, clear, and
just all-around wonderful. Note that Liberty will only do birthday parties for kids five and over.
- My kids also went to a nice party at
of Sports -- the kids played soccer on a huge indoor field, on a snowy day
in the middle of winter. I don't remember an organizer for that party --
the kids just ran around doing soccerlike things and seemed happy with it.
- First Steps Washtenaw
offers birthday parties, and those seem like
they could be particularly well-suited to the three-year-old set. They
have lots of indoor climbers and riding toys and things like that. I'm not
sure which things would be available to use during birthday parties, but it
might be worth calling them up to ask more questions.
- We've always done parties at home. With 3 and 4 year olds, they are
still mostly excited about playing with what's available in your house
and maybe doing a few organized games. The funnest home parties we've
been invited to have involved a scavenger hunt and a costume party; the
scavenger hunt is best for older children (i learned when trying it at a
3yo party! although i suppose it could have been simplified to work
better) but costumes work good with 3s. There are a couple of web sites
that have ideas for parties of various ages and themes (that is, reports
by the parents who hosted them).
is a great resource for party ideas.
- Q: I once heard of a child's birthday party where a woman came to your
house dressed as a princess and had a tea party for the kids. Anyone
know where I could find someone like this?
A: My neighbor does these sorts of parties (Ballerinas, Fairies, Princesses etc
amazing ideas that are beyond expectations.). Her business is Le Petite
Celebration 913-5814 Nicole Bishop.
13. What are some other groups with related topics
- There is an Ann Arbor
cloth diapering e-mail list.
- The Arbordads
group is for dads who are located in or near the Ann Arbor area. (Dads are
also, as always, a core part of the Arborparents list. You don't need to
choose between Arbordads and Arborparents -- you are always welcome on both!)
- There is an e-mail list called
Ann Arbor Garage Sale, where you can
buy or sell garage-sale type things, all year 'round.
- There is an e-mail list called
Ann Arbor eCycle
where you can give away things for free, or request what you're looking for.
- ICAN- International Cesarean Awareness Network
Their goals are:
preventing unnecessary cesareans through education,
providing support for cesarean recovery,
promoting VBAC. The Michigan group meets in the Ann Arbor area.
You can check out the international organization at
www.ican-online.org or the
local chapter at www.michican.org
(this website is very new and has very
little info, so start with the international organization.)
- The Michigan Electronic
Library's Children's Resources section has everything from craft project ideas to
- Ann Arbor Food is a place to
talk about food, cooking, restaurants, and anything else related to food in Ann Arbor.
- Ann Arbor Diaper
Free Baby is an elimination communication (EC) support group in Ann
is for exchanging kids' toys, books, and clothes in the Ann Arbor area, either
sold or at no charge.
is an e-mail list for Ann Arbor area parents of kids with allergies to food or
- Michigan Adoptive Parents is an e-mail list for adoptive parents in Michigan.