Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Talk to me Friday morning when I'm stressing about what to wear

Thank you for your comments and suggestions! I hope it didn't sound like I don't want to be friends with working mothers; that's not the case at all. I have quite a few friends from my old job who are now moms, and I only wish I got to see them more often! I just don't want to make a commitment to a regular weekend meeting/playgroup with Nate. David gets so little time with him that I don't want to take away from that, and I really just want activities to fill those weekdays.

I also wouldn't mind hanging out with a mom who was also working as a nanny, of course. I don't know if our area is unusual, but the vast majority of nannies around here are immigrants from El Salvador. (We have a huge Salvadoran population here. When David and I taught CCD a couple of years ago, 10 of the 13 kids in our class were Salvadoran.) I'm always friendly with these nannies when I see them on the playground or out at Barnes & Noble for story time, but I feel like we're just coming from very different places. Frankly, I'm not sure they'd want to hang out with me. There's a language barrier, and we don't have the same cultural references, and we just lead very different lives.

The library is a great idea. During the school year, they had a sort of sing along/story time for babies, and there were a lot of nice moms there. Unfortunately, I didn't learn about it until late in May, so I was only able to attend a couple of times before it broke for the summer. We will definitely be going back in the fall, though. One of the librarians told me that the story time for one year olds is very crowded, so we'll have to see how that goes.

I may also pick back up with a yoga or Pilates class that includes the little ones. I'd attended a mom and baby Pilates class earlier on, but because the class was for moms with pre-crawling babies, I've had to give it up as of late. I think there might be a mom and tot yoga class at the same studio that allows older babies and toddlers. The only problem is that the classes are pretty expensive, whereas playgroups are, you know, free. Free is very good in my book.

But most importantly, an update! Despite the initial request from one mom for a weekend group, it looks like things are working out for our potential playgroup to get together for the first time this Friday. Huzzah for weekdays! One of the moms is someone I've met before at the local playground and liked. Another of the moms has a baby Nate's age and nannies for a toddler, so she's bringing both her son and her charge to the group. I think I might have met her at my previous attempted playgroup, and she seemed very sweet.

Anyway, we're meeting at lunchtime, so everyone is bringing a dish to share. I'll be contributing pasta salad. I'm sure my subtle combination of penne and Italian dressing will win everyone over and make them want to see me again. Right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Playgroup good grief

I should have known it would happen as soon as I saw the e-mail.

I subscribe to an e-mail listserv for parents in my area of the city. It's been useful for various things: getting rid of our moving boxes without resorting to throwing them away, getting recommendations for classes, and the like. What it has not been useful for--and this is a surprise--is finding some small playgroup for Nate. Okay, let's be honest--finding some small playgroup for me.

At age not-even-eleven-months, Nate just isn't that interested in playing with other babies. He's happy to watch other kids, especially bigger kids, and he doesn't mind being around other babies. His actual play, though, takes place alone. I think all the experts say that, at this age, babies will play beside each other, but they won't really begin to interact in their play for several more months.

But still, I would love to get together with other moms to socialize, and just let the kids play. And I do get together with a couple of different moms on a pretty regular basis, just one on one. There's nothing scheduled or regular, though, and I sort of wish there were. What can I say? I like predictability and routine.

So yesterday when an e-mail came through the listserv from a mom looking to start a playgroup for her eleven-month-old son, I replied.

You'd think it would be a fairly simple thing to get a few moms together with their kids on a semi-regular basis for an hour or so. But there are a couple of risks involved in responding to these sorts of playgroup-formation e-mails. First, someone is always a working mom who wants to meet on the weekends. This does me no good whatsoever. On the weekends, I can already hang out with other adults, and with my husband in particular. The last thing I want to do is take away from the little bit of time that David, Nate and I can all hang out together by committing to some regular weekend playgroup.

(I would be a lot more sympathetic to the request for weekend playgroups if we were talking about older kids. Who actually, you know, play together. But I don't think baby playgroups are really for the babies themselves, but rather for the moms. And if you're a working mom, don't you already get plenty of adult interaction at work?)

Second, someone always wants to set something up during the week, but wants to send her kid to playgroup with the nanny. Again, no big deal if we were talking about lessons or team sports or something that's really and truly for the kids, but it just makes for an awkward situation when it's a small playgroup meeting in people's homes for a handful of babies who are just going to sit around and bang their own toys.

Oof. I realize how completely spoiled and snobbish this must sound, as if I don't want to hang out with working mothers or, worse, the help, but that's not it at all. What it really comes down to is this: Being a stay-at-home mom is often really lonely and really isolating. I want, nay, need some regular adult interaction during the week with people I'll enjoy talking to. Instead, my last two playgroup attempts have resulted in weekend meetings or suggested weekend meetings or offers to send a tot over to my house next time with his babysitter.

Seriously, how do you just find a little group of other moms? I feel like I will be asking for trouble if I put my parameters in a request to the listserv, but I don't know what else to do, short of crossing my fingers and hoping a small clutch of moms-of-nearly-one-year-olds falls into my lap.

What would you do?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seven! Seven! Seven!

So, Nate has one of these activity tables. He thinks it's pretty awesome, although I'll admit that I bought it on the same day that a book about Montessori education and childrearing caught my eye at Barnes & Noble. Two books and countless websites later, I'm wondering whether we should ditch all the plastic toys in favor of simple, insanely expensive wooden items. (Seriously, can someone explain to my why this thing would normally cost over $60?)

Regardless, Nate isn't all that interested in his toys right now, preferring to crawl all over the house, climb the stairs, pull up on everything, grab my cookbooks off the shelf (the only bookshelves within his reach are built into the kitchen island), and try to chew on electrical cords.

He does still play with the activity table, though. I've put it in our room so that he has a distraction while I'm putting on makeup or folding laundry. I don't find it too annoying , as far as light-up, noisemaking things go. The voices are chipper but not grating, and the little tunes are mercifully short. As he hits each button, a merry little voice rings out things like "A! B! C! Six! Eight! Star! Yellow!"

Yesterday, he must have been particularly fixated on one button, because I kept hearing, over and over, "Seven! Seven! Seven!" And the only thing I could think about was this scene from Friends:

Let's not tell Nate, okay?

Monday, August 9, 2010

On the move and in your face

Nate has been crawling for about a month now, and he's hilarious. I don't know if there a sight that makes me happier than his tiny diapered bottom wiggling across the floor.

There are drawbacks to the crawling, though, like my complete inability to photograph him doing anything cute. He'll be contentedly playing with a stacker or pulling up on the coffee table, and I'll sneak over to grab the camera . . . at which point he drops whatever it was he was doing and scoots over to me as fast as his little hands and knees will carry him.

What'cha doin' over there, Mama?

What's that in your hands? Can I eat it?

Did you want to see me?


I can't get too annoyed, though. After all, he's still the cutest baby I've ever laid eyes on.

You can say that again.