Mom Confident With Decision to Have Only One Child

Difficult pregnancy, labor among the reasons this couple's son will be an only child


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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Four years ago, after a long and winding 14 combined years of dating and marriage, my husband and I finally decided that it was time to venture down the path of parenthood. Full disclosure here: I have never felt very maternal or had any great desire to have children. My college roommate and I used to joke that while she had always wanted to be a wife and a mother, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to stop at the wife part for me. I would babysit for local families as a teenager for gas and movie money, and literally watch the clock for when the parents were slated to arrive home. I had little patience for the children’s constant need for attention or for playing make-believe games. I distinctly remember feeling a bit sorry for the frazzled parents, and I cringed at the thought of one day joining their ranks.

One night, in our early 30s, my husband and I had the big discussion. Were we ready to start a family? We knew there was no perfect time in life to have a baby, but we felt that we were as close to that time as any. It was with much trepidation at the end of our talk that I announced that I thought we should go for it. Two short months later, the pregnancy test came back positive. Surely this wasn’t so! I thought I’d have more time to sort out how I felt before I saw those two unmistakable pink lines. I felt overwhelmed and so unsure of myself and my abilities as a mother. I prayed right then and there for three things: That there would only be one baby, that the baby would be healthy and that the baby would be a boy. My prayers were answered. My first question at the very first ultrasound was, “Is there only one?” When the doctor confirmed that there was indeed only one, I felt relief flood my body, and I excitedly squeezed my husband’s hand.

I went on to have a fairly rough pregnancy complete with all-day nausea, backaches, headaches and sharp pains all over. My weight ballooned from 140 to 220, which neither my husband or I could figure out because I seemed to be eating less than I usually did thanks to the nausea and the food aversions that I developed. The grand finale was a bad case of preeclampsia that left me extremely swollen and prematurely induced for labor. My nurses were actually amazed at the swelling and swore they had never seen a case that severe. I felt like the character Violet Beauregarde that turns into a giant blueberry in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” This all seemed to confirm to me that I was definitely not maternal. Not only had I never emotionally felt maternal, but now my own body couldn’t even seem to handle pregnancy correctly!

During my 20 hours of labor, I had a loop going in my head of a statement made by a friend of mine who had three children at the time and was intent on adding more. She said that while she was in labor with her first child, she was constantly thinking of how ready and willing to go through the process she was again. The words that kept resonating in my own head during labor were more like “never again.” I truly accepted in those hard, painful moments of labor that this would be the first and last time. I knew that, for me, this was not a case of forgetting the pain and continuing to get pregnant. This would be mine and my husband’s one and only child.

To say my subsequent hospital stay was unpleasant is an understatement. The combination of a lack of sleep from the complications of preeclampsia, the long labor, the uncertainty of first-time motherhood, the 3 a.m. trash collections in the hospital room (!) and my type A personality made me want to crawl my way out of the room to my safe and familiar home with my husband and my new baby boy on my back. I thought back to one of the many tips I had received while pregnant — stay in the hospital as long as you can since there are people there to help you take care of the baby and a level of service you won’t receive at home. Good grief! Was I different from expectant and new mothers in every single way?

I rejoiced when we finally left the hospital and made it to the safe harbor of our own home as a new family of three. Things were looking up until our notoriously unfriendly cat, Lyla, took one sniff of the new baby and promptly hissed. Although I usually rolled my eyes at her antisocial antics, I could see the irony of it — even as overwhelmed as I was. It felt like I had been hissing at the prospect of motherhood my whole life. I’m happy to report that Lyla came around and learned to tolerate our son.

I’m not happy to report that I spent that first year of motherhood in a desperate, exhausted and depressed state in which I did not seek professional help. Our son refused to sleep, had reflux issues, experienced a hernia and was coded as failure to thrive in his first weeks of life. I found breastfeeding to be difficult and extremely isolating. We all struggled through and things did get better, but I wish now that I had sought help.

All of these things led me to look at my husband incredulously when he asked, roughly two years later, if we were done having kids. We were still in the middle of the early childhood fog, and I reminded him of just how much denser said fog had been just a few short months prior. He is an only child himself and turned out to be pretty wonderful, I reminded him. I have a younger brother whom I love dearly, but we have very different personalities and fought like cats and dogs growing up. I informed my husband that I was actually thinking about saving up for him to have a vasectomy so we could be done with the whole baby-making process. It was his turn to look at me incredulously. For some unfathomable reason, he wasn’t ready to run right out and have that done. It’s the kindest snip, I joked. He didn’t find it nearly as humorous as I did.  

Fast forward to almost five years later, and we are happy with our only-child decision. I’m still pitching the vasectomy idea to my husband, and he is still not enthused. Day-to-day life has improved, but the fog is still far from dissipated. I am still, and probably always will be, haunted by the early days and my experiences. I’ve been able to deflect the “but everyone needs a sibling” line from well-meaning family and friends by reminding them how well my only-child husband turned out, and by reminding them that not all siblings get along. It helps that our son, who seems to have inherited my personality type, has asked me to state out loud that there will never be another baby and that "you and daddy will never be anyone else’s mommy and daddy." I laugh and say never say never son, but I am secretly glad that the lack of a sibling doesn’t seem to be a missing puzzle piece for him.

So, honey, your son and I are both on board with the “no sibling train of thought.” Time to schedule that vasectomy and seal our fate!


Kelly Bondurant is a freelance writer and North Carolina native. She lives in Youngsville with her husband and son. Check out her writer's website at kellybondurantwrites.com for updates, bio and other postings.

 

 

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July 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Take part in Maple View's annual event that features live music by Back Porch Orchestra & The Mason Lovette Band. Enjoy delicious ice cream specials and award winning dairy products, the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maple View Farm Ice Cream
6900 Rocky Ridge Rd.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Maple View Farm Ice Cream
Telephone: 919.960.5535
Contact Name: Allison H. Nichols
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Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
Website »

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Discover clay through a safe and engaging activity. Dress for the weather and to get messy or wet. Register online. Choose course #220634.

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Monday, July 16; 10:30–11:00 a.m. Practice your shapes and develop your fine motor skills through games and hands-on activities. Then go on a nature hunt to find plants and animals of different...

Cost: $2/child

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
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The Art Therapy Institute has been working in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools with the Exceptional Children's Program for the past ten years. Enjoy a summer art therapy groups in June and...

Cost: $20 per session

Where:
Art Therapy Institute of NC
200 N Greensboro St. Suite D-6 (2nd Floor Carr Mill Mall)
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Telephone: 919-381-6068
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Book Harvest and Scholastic are hosting the ultimate summer reading road trip event to celebrate “A Magical Summer of Reading.” In an effort to get kids reading this summer, the 2018...

Cost: Free

Where:
Burton Magnet Elementary School
1500 Mathison St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Scholastic Inc.
Telephone: 212-343-6876
Contact Name: Josephine Djonovic
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Athlete and artist Ernie Barnes is known for his colorful, elongated figures and for his special way of making the figures look like they were in motion. Look at some of his paintings, strike a...

Cost: $5/child

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $7 ages 1 and older.

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Tuesday, July 17; 11:00 a.m. – Noon What's swimming underneath the surface of Crowder's Pond? Explore the animals that call this habitat home in a hands-on pond study. Learn the aquatic food...

Cost: $1/Person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Meet a favorite princess or superhero from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

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Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
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Durham, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
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760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Cost: $2/person

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2761
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Cost: $4/Child

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Join park staff to discover amphibians, birds, insects, spiders and more. Help collect data for the Natural Resource Inventory Database while increasing your own identification skills. Ages...

Cost: Free

Where:
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1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

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Cost: $4/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Website »

More information

Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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2400 N. Broad St
Suite 5
Durham, NC  27704
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Sponsor: Pathfinder Community School
Telephone: 191-990-86526
Contact Name: Hope Wilder
Website »

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Attend a Toddler Tour and Information Session, in which families explore a classroom and learn about half- or full-day toddler classes for ages 18 months-3 years. Classes develop...

Cost: Free

Where:
Montessori Children's House of Durham
2800 Pickett Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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Take part in a yoga session focusing on strength, flexibility, balance, breathing and relaxation. Ages 10 and older. Registration encouraged.  To register, call 919-245-2536...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic...

Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
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Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Meet a staff member at the information desk and follow your guide outside to the garden exhibit or into one of the museum galleries. Look around and listen to a history-related story. 

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Chatham Marketplace
480 Hillsboro St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Sponsor: Chatham Marketplace
Telephone: 919-542-2643
Contact Name: Craig Kolman
Website »

More information

Take part in hands-on outdoor discovery and the study of birds in their habitat. Ages 6-8. Register online.

Cost: $6

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson Nature Preserve staff
Website »

More information

Enjoy an easy-paced and stroller-friendly walk along the greenway. Suggested for ages 3 and younger with parent. Register online. Choose course #219871.

Cost: Free

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 7-12 enjoy fashion and design activities from 11 a.m.-noon.; ages 13-18 enjoy the same activities from 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
Website »

More information

Learn about sea turtle adaptations for success in the ocean and their incredible life cycle. Carolina Children's Museum is a proud sponsor of this free program provided by Dragonfly Nature...

Cost: Free; donations encouraged

Where:
Devils Ridge Golf Club (In the Players Club)
5107 Linksland Drive
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Children's Museum
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W. Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: $7 ages 1 and older.

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
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Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Campus YMCA 'Cage' Court
304 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Bridge II Sports
Telephone: 18668802742 x12
Contact Name: Katharine Doyle
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Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $5 ages 13 and older. Free for ages 12 and younger.

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Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Nature Park Amphitheatre
2600 Evans Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: $1/person

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Orange County Partnership for Young Children is partnering with Kidzu Children’s Museum to host Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Kick-Off. Visit us at the table set up outside of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Orange County Partnership for Young Children
Contact Name: Hannah Willcox
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Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson Nature Preserve
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More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids enjoy arts and crafts. No registration required. Parents/adults must accompany children.

Cost: Free

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Website »

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Saturday, July 21; 1:00–3:00 p.m. Stop by our FREE discovery table to learn about bees! Registration is not required. The display table is located by the Upper Playground.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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View the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history and aspects of its preservation. All ages. Registration encouraged online; tickets available inside...

Cost: $5/adult, $3/ ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Join the Dungeons & Dragons group for awesome fantasy storytelling and action-packed game play over refreshments. Fans and gamers 15 and older are welcome to join the game or watch and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough , NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919.245.2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
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arcBARKS, the maker of healthy dog treats operated by The ARC of Greensboro, will have free samples for all dogs at this dog- and human-friendly event. Co-sponsor Shoe Crazy Wines will have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Special Treats Chocolate Shop
Timberlyne Shopping Center
1129 Weaver Dairy Rd.,Unit R
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Special Treats
Telephone: 919-883-2151
Contact Name: Dan Friedman
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Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Scott Reintgen discusses his newest book, "Nyxia Unleashed."  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 19.0px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1...

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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This epic musical is about wishes, family and the consequences of the choices that we make. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods,...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.