9.14.2011

a/s/l?


I've entered the wacky and kinda-sorta wonderful world of playgroups. What began as a fun and exciting way to make friends for both Ethan and myself slowly turned into something terrifying the deeper that I willed myself to dive in. My initial intention was a simple acceptance of the fact that none of my friends have an infant of their own and that, paired with the fact that I'm now a stay-at-home mom, meant that we'd better meet some new people or we'd both run the risk of getting a little stir-crazy. When we were kids, there was always a neighbor or relative pregnant at the same time as our moms to give birth to our new InstaFriend. I don't have that luck. Ethan and I were going to have to make friends the old-fashioned way.

Actually, there's nothing old-fashioned about playgroups these days. It seems each one has their own website or membership rules and a place to nervously sign as you join some club in hopes that your child will be able to play with another child their age and that, hey, maybe you'll meet a mommy friend, too. You convince your anti-social self that somewhere deep inside you lays a friendly person who will catch the attention of someone else and together your infants can roll around on a blanket while you two discuss neck control and sleeping habits.

Somewhere down the line, finding mommy friends runs the risk of being frighteningly similar to dating. And then it's on.

I wake up super early on those days when the various groups I've joined meet. Sleep, the luxury that it is to new moms, is of no importance when compared to hair and make-up and making myself attempt to look as close to presentable as possible. The first time I attended a playgroup? I was hounding my poor husband with questions about how I looked, which shirt he liked better, if these shoes make me look juvenile, if I should wear brown eyeliner or black, if I should wear my hair up or down or half-up, half-down. "Just not half-up, half-down. It's jackass-y," was his response. My hair was half-up, half-down.

Once I perfected my appearance, I scoop up my precocious infant and tell him that I'm aware these playgroups always seem to meet at 10 or 10:30 which is his feeding time and usual naptime, but it will be worth it because he will make friends. He apparently has yet to share my concern about making friends and continues to focus on the fact it's 10:30 and he's singing songs about three blind mice and doesn't have a bottle in his mouth and this is totally unacceptable. Any prospect of a new friend is now deaf from the shrieks he lets out until he's enjoying his late breakfast and pulling my hair at his leisure. And repeat. And repeat. (And repeat.)

At this point, it's become almost a challenge. We move onto internet mommy groups. I work on my profile diligently and try to hide the fact we're getting a little desperate for play-dates over here. I feel like in that instant I'm fourteen again and my mom is sitting on the edge of my bed lecturing me that you always let the boy call you, you never call the boy as to never appear desperate. I delete the sarcastic responses to favorite music and movies from my Facebook profile and answer the questions with the utmost seriousness as if I'm taking a standardized test. "Don't stay up too late," my husband says with concern as it's after midnight and I'm still typing away on the computer. "I won't. I just have to fix my Facebook profile so people can really get to know me."

What's worse, too, is that you come home from these playgroups and wait for a message to pop up in your inbox from someone saying they enjoyed meeting you or want to set up a playdate. You wait for that text message, Facebook message, e-mail, whatever medium said playgroups use to communicate with it's members, to validate the fact that someone doesn't think you're half-bad and can forgive your 2 1/2 month old for his temper that you swear he didn't inherit from you. At this point, I most definitely feel fourteen again, scribbling your first name and the last name of the boy who sits next to you in science class while you sit by the phone hoping he'll ask you to see Save The Last Dance for the umpteenth time. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's a stroke to your ego and othertimes it's a whack at your ego with a machete.

I've realized, too, that I've started to research playgroups with more intensity than I did when selecting a college. I keep the staff on the phone for insane periods of time given that we're discussing a playgroup class for infants here and ask all sorts of questions. Can we try a class? Are there a lot of members? Will Ethan be the youngest member? The oldest? The only one who expects his feedings at the same damn time your class starts? Ethan patiently tags along with me as we try new classes and groups and shadow new places. He is pretty content at any of them until he decides he's had enough of Livin' La Vida Mickey and just wants to eat his breakfast already. He's not picky. Then again, he just waltzes in completely and utterly adorable and knowing that all of the babies would be lucky to be his friend. Me, on the other hand, silently hope my maternity jeans last long enough until I ever get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans and dreading that 1:00 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart for sweatpants the night before playgroup when they sure as heck don't.

Before long, you start losing your mind entirely. It was just two days ago that I sat in the parking lot of the mall texting my husband about the nice mom we met and the fact that I really regretted not getting her number. My thoughts on the matter were reminiscent of those missed connections ads. Dear Mom In Peasant Frock And Denim Capris, we discussed sleeping patterns and Dr. Brown's bottles outside of Sephora. Your daughter was exactly four months older than my son. We had the same dry sense of humor. I wish I got your number so we could walk the mall together or have a playdate and bitch about our difficult childbirths and the high cost of frozen coffee drinks at Starbucks. Sincerely, Frumpy In Boca.

I am admittedly having the time of my life spending my days dancing around in a circle with Ethan or listening to the librarian read us stories. It's a pretty decent world when you wake up, check your calendar and realize you're in for another day of kitschy singalong songs and learning how to massage your baby's legs. Ethan, in his own silly way, attempts to reassure me that we'll meet some great new friends and to just stop my worrying.

After all, just look at that smile.


...He's got this.



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6 comments:

  1. HAH omg I love this entire post!! Move to Colorado and we'll be your Mommy friends!!!!! <3

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  2. Congrats on being the spotlight host!! Hope you're having a great week!

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  3. Congratulations on being in the spotlight! I can totally relate to everything you blogged about, and also say when Ethan's one and you have those friends and he has his you'll look back at this post and laugh that you stressed so much. But again, I've been there and can totally relate!

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  4. I know right it should not be this hard. I did not like stuff in HS hate it more with play dates and mommy groups. We had same issues in my area and you know what I did. I got the numbers of the laid back cool mommies and we formed our own group. You can show up in sweats and a pony tail and we are all just fine with it.
    Hope it gets better but do not stress so not worth it.

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  5. Congratulations on the spot light this week on the hop! How exciting! I can not get your GFC buttons to show for some reason so I am followng on FB. :)

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  6. New follower from the hop, and a lifetime South Floridian until 3 years ago when I dragged my NY/Cuban wife and daughter to Carolina. We miss Publix, Pollo Tropical, and pasteles, but not much more. Lived in Kendall, The Keys and Weston before we moved.

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