Spring C-VILLE Kids: Family band: At home with Jen Fleisher, Jesse Fiske and their son, Theo

Photo: Meredith Coe Photo: Meredith Coe

Shadow Bats, Jen Fleisher and Jesse Fiske’s musical group with their 5-year-old son, Theo, have recorded one song so far, Jen said, a track entitled, naturally, “Shadow Bats.” But there’s likely more to come. Music is important in the Fleisher-Fiske household: Jen plays bass for Jim Waive & the Young Divorcees and Jesse plays guitar in Mister Baby and Matt Curreri’s band, and also runs Single Barrel Studio out of a structure on their property. And, “to really date him,” Jen said, Jesse was an original member of the Hackensaw Boys, for which he played bass. “When we moved in together, we may have been the only couple in town with two stand-up basses in their bedroom,” Jen said.

But that’s not all they’re passing on to Theo, who loves being active by taking yoga classes, something his mom also teaches around Charlottesville.

“I knew I wanted him to be exposed to yoga early—to cultivate patience and mindfulness. He was born in the middle of our second year running [Charlottesville Yoga School],” Jen said. “I used to bring him in the sling for our weekends together.”

Theo often helps Jesse, a mason, on projects around the house, too. Between all of his extracurriculars, he’s a very busy little boy. “I had him take tap/ballet, we played SOCA soccer, we’re signed up for skateboarding in the spring. The kid will be on the move,” Jen said. “But so far, yoga and music have been the consistent threads that we’ve woven into his life.”

Photo: Meredith Coe
Photo: Meredith Coe

In three words, describe another family member:

Theo on Momma: Works with Michaux

Theo on Poppa: Strong, works on a jobsite

Poppa on Momma: Big boss, big heart, big brain

Momma on Poppa: Only three? Golly! Patient, supportive, creative, gorgeous, diligent, solid, love of my life!

Poppa on Theo: Funny, smart, energetic

Momma on Theo: Bright, loving, happy

Photo: Meredith Coe
Photo: Meredith Coe

What are your careers?

Jen: Partner at Charmed Designworks, prenatal yoga teacher at ACAC, yoga sub in town, midwife in training, taking pre-reqs for nursing program, birth doula.

Jesse: Mason at Lithic Construction.

Photo: Meredith Coe
Photo: Meredith Coe

Theo, what would be your ultimate day in Charlottesville?

Smith Aquatic & Fitness Center, Belmont Park, Main Street Arena ice rink, Bend Yoga, stay up late and hang out with Momma and Poppa and watch “Octonauts.”

When and where do you spend family time around Charlottesville?

Smith Aquatic & Fitness Center on rainy days, Belmont Park on sunny days, Riverside Park on bike-riding days, Bend Yoga on Wednesdays! At home, we like to play music, have everyone over for dinner, hang in the backyard, garden, play with Legos, play Uno, throw parties, measure all visitors on the measuring wall, build forts and cook. We also love going to the library, especially Gordon Avenue. And we frequent Aqui Es Mexico (it’s tied with Blue Moon Diner for favorite restaurant).

Photo: Meredith Coe
Photo: Meredith Coe

Do you have any advice on how families can better enjoy our town?

Check out online resources, as they list a bunch of things that you would otherwise not know were happening. Parks and Rec has great offerings at all hours. Blue Ridge Music Together was an integral part of our extra curricular life from the time Theo was 18 months til 5 years old. Mostly, keep in touch with parents who have kids your kid’s age, and search the kid resources for calendars of fun things to do!

Photo: Meredith Coe
Photo: Meredith Coe

What are some of the more challenging aspects of parenthood?

Sleep deprivation is a torture device! Of course working and balancing that with downtime is a challenge for any working family. But, when I daydream about our life, it’s mostly about us traveling more—we have dear friends in Europe and family out of state. Having the time, funds and space to make that a reality is super challenging. Fortunately, we have great friends in the neighborhood who help support us on a daily basis, so the need for escape is lessened by their presence. Feeling like we’re part of a village versus out here on a deserted parenting island definitely makes the harder times easier to swallow.

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Cindy Tracy Wolanski

Jen is a remarkable and very talented woman. How she fits everything into her day is impressive… and with such a smile!