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A Birthday Celebration LLL Style: How one LLL Group in Greece celebrated!

Kathy Dounoulis
Athens, Greece
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2008, p. 10

It was a nice June day and the threat of rain was gone. The Athens, Greece South Evening Group decided to celebrate the birthday of La Leche League with a potluck picnic and a toddler meeting. The event took place at a home with a large child-friendly garden. The individual biographies of all seven Founders were on display for all to read and get acquainted with these remarkable women. The purpose was to let members know that these women were just like them, mothers with families and a common philosophy who found strength and support with each other at first and then wanted to share it with all who were looking for that same support. A poster with topics concerning parents of toddlers was also displayed so parents could start thinking of discussion questions or comments along with information on the benefits of nursing toddlers.

Mothers, fathers, babies, toddlers, and children started to arrive for the picnic. Everyone brought a cheery disposition along with healthy meals to share for lunch. Children from infants to school age were free to roam, explore, play, and, of course, breastfeed. Mothers with babies and toddlers sat outdoors and nursed freely while enjoying a relaxed conversation with fellow members. For many fathers, the picnic was their first La Leche League event. Slowly all were getting acquainted with each other. Because the event had a relaxed atmosphere, members got a chance to meet and learn about each other and their families more personally. The picnic helped bloom new friendships.

The children also seemed to be getting into the social scene. Toddlers were running and chasing each other, while older children got hands-on experience practicing their social skills, not to mention observing so many nursing babies and toddlers. Babies seemed so happy looking on from their mother's or father's arms or left free to crawl and explore.

Soon the Toddler Meeting began. A stimulating discussion arose amongst all. Many topics were brought up, which included "nursing toddlers," "discipline or not," and "toilet training." It was wonderful to see an accepting atmosphere among all.

Lunch was next, and what a feast! Everyone was eager to taste the savory dishes each member brought. Delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals were on display for all to taste. The meals that had been prepared carried an international flavor. My daughter, who is nine, said to me, "Mommy, this [the table] looks like my book about the children from other countries." My daughter was getting an international cuisine lesson in my own kitchen. A wonderful Mediterranean dish was even contributed by a member's husband who is a chef. Children ate and emptied favorite dishes. Compliments and recipes were exchanged.

The day ended with big smiles and happy feelings. It was a day of sharing stories and listening. It was a day of sharing toys and games. It was a day of sharing cultures. It was a day where older children helped out willingly. It was a day of cooperation. It was a day of mutual support and philosophy, just like over 50 years ago in the birthing room of La Leche League.

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