Photo: My friend reminded me that fiber in hand and project in mind makes all troubles go away. We decided to take a special trip to the city to our favorite fiber store, Gather Here. I went in there un-inspired and came out with a little fabric and this amazing bag. I saw it and had to have it because oh my God. It’s limited edition, hand printed, super crafty craft. I love it so much. I know many of you Dear Readers are crafters. Geeeet this bag.
We’ve become friends with one of the other in-town families who happens to have a son who is Major’s age. The boys were in the same kindergarten class together and are now in the same class in 1st grade. We convinced them to join Scouts, too, so the boys have become pretty good friends. When their after-school routine was suddenly upended by a caregiver injury, I offered to help with a few pick-ups along the way. I was called to duty yesterday and was delighted to help.
This was our first time doing this sort of thing. Playdates until now have been more Mom-centric gatherings with children are thrown together to figure it out. Or, as it was when they were much younger, compatible kids came by to play while we moms muddled our way through oft-interrupted shallow chit-chat. I have never gone to school to pick up someone elses’ kid and brought them back here. I don’t know why this felt monumental, but it did.
It felt that way for the boys, too. They were so excited about it, they got up early yesterday. I hear them tumble out of bed at 6:45 fully awake and ready to go and I about spilled my coffee. “Boys, why are you up so early?”
“We were just wondering why it was taking so long for you to come wake us up!” Major replied. By his tone, he would have added a duh to the end.
The logistics of it were fine. Easy, in fact. Go to school, sign out the children, get them safely to the van, thank God for that lovely third row, drive mindfully home. Boom.
I had a grand master plan: 1 hour outside, 1 hour in the playroom, about 30 minutes of Mario, extra special Taco Tuesday dinner. Fool-proof, ya’ll.
Then Minor decided that the only way he would speak for the whole playdate was AT MAXIMUM VOLUME, LIKE THIS.
GUYS, HEY GUYS, GUYS! HEY GUYS? GUYS, WATCH THIS! HEY GUYS, LOOK AT THIS!
Major was no better. He had a hard time sharing the outdoor toys with sincerity. We’ve got two of everything, of course, which makes it a problem with a third person comes along. He was ok with letting our guest use his swing on the play fort, but the frisbees? The soccer ball? There was never any snatching or crying. He was never aggressive. Just somehow, someway, his stuff always ended up back in his possessions.
I spent the first 30 minutes of the playdate just trying to bring my children back down to civil, human energy levels. I spent another 15 monitoring and fretting over their behavior.
I’d like to give you an inside look into the dark world of suburban mother worry crisis. Here is just a small sampling of the questions that flashed through my head while I was monitoring: Why were they playing so poorly with their friend? Do they do that at school and no one has told me? How come they’ve figured out how to play with each other, but that hasn’t translated to outside friends? Should I enroll them in team sports to promote good group social behaviors? Should I start purchasing at least 3 of every outdoor toy so all the children have something to tangibly play with??
And it was like, no, stupid, you need a new roof.
Also, what? This is crazy.
I called Minor over and told him to figure out how to talk to Major and his friend without yelling. “Do you even know you’re yelling, sweetie? Child, you’re yelling. Be cool.”
I told Major he needed to be a more gracious host and make sure his friend had access to the toys he wanted to play with.
Then I went inside and put away the dishes. This was a moment for my own self control rather than imposed adult control on natural childhood behaviors.
I have to learn to let go. The children are fine. They are awkward and excitable, but they’re fine. This is normal. All is well.
The rest of the playdate went on with few hiccups. They played outside, then came inside and played really well, and then they played New Super Mario Brothers with rowdy delights. Taco Tuesday was a big hit (The Husband and I enjoyed queso fresco on ours for the first time and it was a revelation. A revelation.). Then boom, it was over!
As with many motherhood to-dos, now that I’ve done this, I know I can do it again. I wish we lived in a neighborhood full of kids who the boys could easily meet up with. Because we don’t, making after school playdates a regular habit will be work, but important work.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday. Remember when I told you winter wasn’t over? Super big Nor’easter is on its way for Friday. I’m sitting here telling myself that I’m not going to the grocery store tomorrow. I don’t need to go to the grocery store tomorrow. The children are going to go to school on Friday…
I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.