Tag Archives: playdates

Happy Halloween, Mr President…

To mark another of my daughter’s rare childhood halloweens, we celebrated with two days of parties and two different costumes.

Yesterday, we went to a big indoor kid’s play area/gym that was throwing a big (and free!) party. The noise and motion was overwhelming. But my toddler had a blast when she wasn’t being knocked over by bigger kids. I dressed her up like a sock monkey, mostly because I already had the hat and a pair of knit pj’s that matched pretty well. I wanted a costume in which she could move easily.

Today, we went to a different party at a play cafe with some friends. I dressed up like Marilyn Monroe and my 14 month old dressed up like Jackie Kennedy. Her dad was supposed to be JFK, but he was lamesauce and went to work instead.

For her costume I only made the hat, which I made twice because I was unhappy with the size (too small) the first time. My second was too big, but more wearable. You know, in case my daughter needs a pink pillbox had this winter…

I learned some things today, about Halloween, playing in costumes, and parenting.

I learned that in some of our city neighborhoods, there are actually designated trick-or-treating hours. I will keep this in mind for next year, when my kid will be just about old enough for this. I learned that as cute as many costumes and costume accessories are, they are going to get disassembled during the act of merely LEAVING THE HOUSE. If you want something to stay on, it better be surgically stapled to your kid. Also, if you are going to dress your kid up as anything but the most simple, recognizable halloween childrens’ basics (ie. Cinderella, a ghost, a butterfly, a vegetable) you better accept that almost no one will be able to guess what they are. I learned that parents really do want to dress up and go party but by the time they get their kids out of the way, they just want to lay down and drink wine.

I also learned a little something about being Marilyn Monroe. A night ago, I watched “The Seven Year Itch” (for inspiration) while aggressively tweezing my eyebrows. For realz. It’s a little disarming how sexy Marilyn really was. Even if you’re not into blondes or glamour, she definitely exudes something. There’s no way I can incorporate that into a costume, but I attempted to at least the hair and makeup and dress right. I also identified some novel problems with someone like me playing someone like her.

Issues that did not concern Marilyn Monroe during her brief but troubled life:

baby carriers are not compatible with gowns
neither are nursing bras
playdates in heels
stray cheerios in handbag
I’m pretty sure this all makes me look fat

Issues we might have had in common:

creeping underwear
people staring
finding yourself short on cash
lipstick needing refreshed
husband completely not noticing that you look super glamorous
wanting a drink before 2pm

Happy Halloween, everyone!

The Never-ending Playdate

While I was visiting my mom’s house, one of her neighbors came over for a playdate. She’s a young mom and there aren’t many people in the neighborhood with young kids or in her age group with kids. So I have made a point to hang out with her a bit when I’m around. And she lives just at the corner of the block, so it’s convenient.

But this was such a strange day.

First, she came over in the morning, as usual. The kids played. Her daughter is a bit older and VERY active and did her usual tornado through the toys, leaving a scatter of clutter in her wake. It’s cool, my OCD for toy-putting-away is supress-able for times like these.

We decide to take the kids out for a swim in the kiddie pool. We get them ready, get them covered in sunscreen, get their pool toys… the works. They have a lot of fun in and out of the water. Both kids are starting to get tired (oh glorious summer water-play and your magic ability to inspire long naps!). I grab the baby and go get some towels. I ask the mom if she needs anything before I go lay down with my daughter for her nap and she says no. My daughter and I go upstairs to start her nap. I’m pretty tired too, so we both doze off for about 40 minutes or so. Then, I suddenly spring awake because the other mom is in my bedroom doorway. She says, “hey, I just wanted to let you know that my daughter is awake.” She turns and goes back downstairs.

In my stupor, I think “why did she come back over, and come upstairs, no less, to tell me her kid’s nap is over?”

Well it turns out, she had put the girl down for a nap on our sofa downstairs. In her damp swimsuit. In our house. When she lives just 3 houses down. Huh.

Well when my daughter is up and the girls are both playing again, I mention that it’s just about lunch time and she says “yeah, my daughter is getting pretty hungry.” So I tell her if she needs to go get lunch ready, then to leave the toy clean up to me and I’ll see her later.

What does she say?

“Do you have any apples?”

“Well, yes, do you want one?”

“Sure, she can have apple or whatever for lunch.”

Okay…. So I go cut up some apples and get out some peanut butter and pita and hummus. I figure if I’m feeding her kid, I am not just going to let her eat nothing but apple for lunch.

Lunch is over, there is peanut butter in various places, there are half-eaten apples all over the floor. But hey, no big deal. I can clean up in just a minute when they leave.

The playing continues. And continues. It’s pushing my daughter’s second nap time. I don’t want to ASK her to leave, that seems rude to me, but I start hinting at how I need to get ready for tonight because we are taking the baby to a dinner and concert. Hint not taken, to say the least.

Her daughter is pretty energetic. She’s “energetic” all over the toy basket, the bookshelf, the various knicknacks in my mom’s living room. I’m starting to want a second nap myself from trying to keep up with the efforts to contain her “energy.” Her mom is somewhat helpful but also sends a lot of texts. Huh.

Finally at 5pm, she suddenly looks up to see that one of her family members has arrived home, down the street. She packs up and leaves. I’m just slightly amazed. On one hand, I feel bad that she was apparently lonely and on the other, I kind of want to tell her that in future playdates will not exceed 3 hours. I think this one was about 7hrs.

And anyone who has little kids knows how long 7 hours is. It’s like a decade off your life.

Dating for mommy friends

I moved right after I had my baby, like RIGHT after (a story for another time) and didn’t know anyone in my new city. I joined some online groups, I joined meetup.com, I went to various activities hoping to meet interesting new mommy friends. I sort of resented the practice of putting people together in groups like this; “do you have kids? well then we have something in common!” But let’s face it, it’s probably just as good an icebreaker/common interest as any. “Do you collect pre-1980 rock on vinyl? Join our club!” “Do you love knitting last minute gifts*? Come to our circle!” “Do you think there should be more transparency in government? Come join our organization and make thousands of phone calls. Bring your phone!”

But I digress…

I starting noticing that meeting new mom-friends is a bit like dating. You go to an event. You chat with other moms. You hit it off with someone. You maybe exchange emails or something. They tell you they’ll message you. Nothing. The end.

Is it me? Did I talk to much? Say the wrong thing? Have especially heinous boob-stain? Was I boring? Not their type? Are they too busy with their lives/real friends/finding much cooler mommies to hang out with?

Maybe it’s WORSE than dating because it’s OTHER WOMEN. So you want to look nice, but not TOO nice. I know how to dress for guys (boobs). But women know when you’ve gone too far to look “nice” and you don’t want to overdress them and make them feel like you are desperate or trying to outdo them. So it’s a delicate balance of what to wear that looks nice, is comfortable (hello? you still have a kid to wrangle!), but doesn’t look like you spent as much time in your head deciding what to wear as you really did. After all, you want to be easy-going, effortlessly cool mommy! No one wants to be friends with neurotic, “is this brown too red-brown for these olive-brown pants?” mommy.

And it’s all for the kids, really. You want your kids to hit it off and play and have fun and learn things from each other. You really do. You just would like to have an adult conversation once in awhile. Is that so much to ask? But kids add ANOTHER handicap to this mommy-dating, because you can control what you wear, what you say (mostly, maybe if you’re not me), and how you act. You cannot control how your kid decides to act. Maybe they missed a nap. Maybe they are starving. Maybe they are teething. The same goes for the other mommy, who might be trying to keep her kid from beating yours over the head with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and is worried you now think she’s raising a psychopath. There is also a whole range of embarrassing things your kid could do, and a variety of embarrassing ways you could react/overreact to those things. For those of you with older kids, embarrassing things your kid could SAY also are on that list! Horror…

To be sure, there are a lot of nuanced interactions going on. And everyone is always nice. SO NICE. It’s hard not to believe you won’t be BFFs because everyone, in my experience, has always been so gracious, accommodating. It’s important to always be yourself, they say… but what if it’s totally like you to blurt out “I think you are amazeballs and I want you to be my FB friend and take long afternoon walks with you.” No one says that! You can’t “be yourself.” Don’t be ridiculous!

I keep meeting people. Lovely people. And it’s fun while it lasts. I just haven’t found that one (or two, I’m willing to go there) person. I haven’t gone so far as so offer free childcare services for them (is that like putting out on a first date?) but boy, could I use some free childcare-swap buddies.

But I think we gotta get to know each other first…

*I seriously once saw a book called “Last-Minute Knit Gifts.” I can think of a lot of things to give last minute but NONE of them involve KNITTING. Who knits this fast? (Well I can think of ONE person…)