6 Questions with Dr. Nathan, Jenny & Nchare Chomilo

For about a year now, two-year old Nchare and his parents – Dr. Nathan and Jenny Chomilo – have been members of Minnesota Children’s Museum. We were excited to hear from this family of medical professionals about their experience as museum members and what play means to them. We recently asked them some questions and we love their answers.

First, A Bit About Them

  • Dr. Chomilo: A pediatrician and internist with Park Nicollet and an advocate for early childhood development. He serves as the medical director for a nonprofit Reach Out and Read MN and is a member of the Governor’s Early Learning Council. He is also an admitted comic book (& movie) nerd.
  • Jenny: A registered nurse by training. She is currently at home with Nchare and is planning to go back to school to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
  • Nchare: A toddler who loves to run around with his dogs, read books and play at the park!
  • They live in Northeast Minneapolis, love walking to the parks and local businesses and are lifelong Vikings fans and season ticket holders.

1. What does play mean to you and your family?

Jenny: Since Nchare was premature (eight weeks early), we have been trying to ensure he gets everything he needs to meet his developmental milestones. We do a lot of free play to help him explore his environment and his body. This has also given him more confidence and independence.

Dr. Chomilo: It is pure joy! A way to express your love and appreciate the bonds of family. It’s also a fun time to try and experiment and learn new ways to have fun with things we might use every day.

2. What do you value most about Minnesota Children’s Museum?

Jenny: The ability for Nchare to run around and play with whatever he likes with little fear that he will get hurt.

Dr. Chomilo: There is so much to explore in so many ways! It never gets old. And I see us taking our family there for years.

3. What is Nchare’s favorite things to do in the museum?

Both: Definitely the water tables in Sprouts!

4. Have you discovered anything new about Nchare when you’ve visited here?

Jenny: Nchare loves watching what the other kids do and tries to do what they are doing. This was especially fun to see in the beginning as he was home with me and not around as many children his age. He is now in daycare a couple days a week and I think the skills he learned at the museum have helped him relate with his classmates.

Dr. Chomilo: It seems like every time we go he shows us a new developmental skill whether it’s going down a slide by himself or climbing a rope ladder.

5. Do you have a favorite memory from the museum?

Jenny: My favorite memory was exploring the museum on our first visit, and both Nchare and my eyes were wide open taking in all of the different activities. Nathan had been there one time before so he was able to show us the ropes.

Dr. Chomilo: One of the first times we brought Nchare we put him on the area by the mirrors with mats on the floor in Sprouts. He had previously been timid but this time he was excited and interested in what the other kids were doing and tried to keep up with them by pulling himself up and scooting around. He hadn’t had many chances to be around other kids at that point and it was wonderful seeing his eyes light up like that.

6. Anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Chomilo: We really appreciate the ways the museum has embraced and welcomed Minnesotans from all different backgrounds. We are a multicultural, multiracial family and we value the opportunity to not only learn about others’ cultures but share a space where our son can play and connect with children from all over the twin cities and state.

We’re thrilled to have this wonderful family as part of our museum community!

Want to Share Your Story? Contact Courtney Finn at cfinn@mcm.org to be featured in one of our member profiles.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Chomilo is the medical director of the Minnesota Chapter of Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy by incorporating books into pediatric care and encourages families to read aloud together. Minnesota Children’s Museum is currently working with Reach Out and Read on a pilot program to promote the power of play in addition to literacy during pediatric well checks.

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