Playdateless in MSP

The following is a transcript of an overheard (read: eavesdropped) cell phone conversation in the rec center lobby following swimming lessons.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Certain details may or may not have been slightly altered for dramatic effect.

Well, we really must get a play date on the schedule soon.  Lester and Barnabas haven’t played together in weeks!

Tuesday mornings aren’t good, Barnabas has a standing date with Oprah.  Then in the afternoon there is Gymboree with Zelda and Brutus. 

No, sorry, Wednesdays are water polo with Thor and Mittens. 

Thursdays are fantastic!  He has macramé with Simba and Buick Skylark at 4 a.m., but the rest of the day is wide open.

Great!  We’ll meet at the rifle range Thursday at 9:17.  I’ll call Voldemort’s mommy and see if she’d like to join us too.  See you then.     

These are the types of mothers that cause me to immediately snort at how balls out ridiculous they sound, and seconds later wonder if I’m a horrible parent for not following suit.  I don’t know that I can say my son has ever had what would qualify as an official “play date”.  Sure, he’s raised a juice box with a shorty or two.  But these were children of OUR friends, the focus of those outings was more centered around the raising of adult juice boxes.  I’m left wondering if I’m doing him a disservice by not helping him to seek out his own social circle.

To me, play dates seem like the arranged marriages of babyhood.  The parents take care of the logistics, and then hope the two form a lifelong relationship based on a mutual hatred of strained peas.  How do these things even happen?  We don’t take him to daycare and I certainly don’t recall seeing any fliers about upcoming toddler singles mixers.  Is there a baby eHarmony somewhere out there?  “Antonio – 22 month old male seeking casual play dates.  Open to the possibility of something more serious.  Loves long stroller rides, fine apple juice, and eating lint off the floor.”

Obviously he is in swimming lessons.  Also art class and open gym whenever schedule allows.  Oh, he’s out there!  Never once have we been approached for a play date.  Oh god, are we not cool enough?  Do Igor and Mildred’s mommies not like us?  Is our stroller too dorky?  I’m instantly transported back to middle school, just substitute designer diaper bags for Girbaud jeans.  None of this bodes well for my fragile self-esteem.  Since I’m no good to my son wandering the house anxiously muttering nonsense about 6th period algebra, I’d better just stick with the current system.  Here’s hoping none of my friends’ children force him to eat their boogers or set off on multi-state crime sprees.  Until then, I think we may be okay.

Hippy Hippy Shake

Every once in a while, the universe gifts you with one of those little moments that makes you realize your former, pre-child life is not as distant a memory as it now seems.  That you’re still closer to the days of gritty rock shows and random boozy after parties than you are to mom jeans and Lifetime movie marathons.  Exhibit A, a recent scene from family breakfast:

(Early morning in a sunlit ((if only slightly dirty)) kitchen finds J rifling through a terrifyingly disorganized cabinet in search of toddler-kibble.  Not what one would describe as a “morning person”, J bristles at what is discovered.)

J:  Why is the new box of granola open?  There is still a bunch left in the old box!   Awesome.  Really.  That’s not wasteful at all.  Hey, by the way, when did you start crapping money?  Hook a girl up, homie, because I need some cash for lunch!

(S, accustomed to such displays of morning-related bitchiness, looks up from his coffee cup and responds calmly)

S:  But I had to open the new one.

J:  Oh, you HAD to, did you?  Well, Rockefeller, pray tell why?

S:  I HAD to open the new one, because the old one was all shake.

J:  (brief pause)  Um….beg your pardon?

S:  You know.  It was all the little broken pieces.  He likes the big nuggets.

J:  Ah yes.  Of course.

(Delighted with the fact that a well applied drug reference was not a forgotten relic of the marital lexicon, J smiles knowingly and resumes breakfast preparations.)

*If you were considering submitting this anecdote for consideration as Inappropriate Parenting Moment of the Year, know the review board is already considering it for recognition in the “Best Practical Application of a Marijuana Reference” category.  Fingers crossed – this feels like our year!

A Meaty Problem

From time to time, I find myself at one of those parenting crossroads that drives me to internet in search of advice.  More often than not, you’ll find a wealth of information from every school of parenting imaginable.  As a person with no clear cut parenting philosophy, I tend to find this Old Country Buffet of ideas extremely appealing.  A little of this, a little of that, hit the make your own sundae bar and BAM you’re done!  But occasionally the most innocuous of questions will lead you down the rabbit hole of stupid, through the looking glass of crazy.  When my son was just shy of a year old, I set off on such a quest to find a way to curb his incessant biting.  Here are just a few of the tasty little nuggets of wisdom the World Wide Web had to offer:

1.)     Bite him back.  This one was actually the most frequently offered solution.  This eye for an eye, bite mark for slobbery bite mark approach was just a bit too biblical for me.   Seemed like a gateway to summoning plagues of locusts onto his pack and play.  Pass.

2.)    Flick his ear.  But they’re so cuuuuuuuuute!!!!  Physical reprimands just aren’t part of my parenting repertoire.  No thank you.  Besides, just look at the itty bitty things!

3.)    Redirection.  This one sounded a bit more reasonable, but logistically it seemed unlikely.  “Pardon me, son.  I can’t help but notice you latched onto my shoulder like a lamprey.  But perhaps I could interest you in a warm scone and the new issue of Architectural Digest?”  Just didn’t see it going down like that.  Next…

4.)    Offer him teriyaki flavored beef jerky.  Because hickory smoked will only feed his bloodlust?  Are you kidding me with this?  Am I raising some sort of wolf man whose incisors must tear flesh asunder?  Once I start solving my parenting woes with cured meats the issue at hand becomes much greater.  Forget it.

In the end, we went with a firmly administered “No no!  No biting!” coupled with impotently enforced time outs.  I’m sure we can attribute the end of the biting to the natural sunset of yet another odd baby phase.  But I can say for certain it was definitely not the product of retaliatory biting or dried beef products.  So in case you’re keeping score, that’s parents – 1 internet – 0.

Like Water for Ass Fat

Tomorrow morning, my son starts his parent-assisted swimming lessons.  Swimming.  In a pool.  Of water.  Which can mean only one terrible, horrifying thing – I will be wearing a bathing suit in public.  Fuck.  The very idea of this is enough to send me running for the hills.  Except I don’t know where these ‘hills’ actually are, and whether or not I’d need to pack a bathing suit for the trip.  Confession time:  with my son rapidly approaching the two year mark, I have not lost a pound of my baby weight.  Not one pound.  These two years have been a steady cycle of grand plans and even grander failures.  Sure fire workout regimens that lose every time when pitted against the decadent possibility of an extra ½ hour of sleep.  Diets that last mere days before cries of “Ah fuck it!  Where’s the chardonnay and Doritos?”  (A most refined pairing indeed).  Good intentions never fully realized have left my body a sad caricature of its former va va voom.  Arms jiggling, I have waved the white flag of surrender and succumbed to the ravages of motherhood.

A dutiful consumer of celebrity gossip rags, I am well aware of the potential of the postpartum female form.  If Jessica Alba can look like that in bikini four months after squeezing out her second child, surely I should have my shit together after two years.  Right?  Sigh!  Certainly I would never claim I had J-Alb’s abs of steel, even pre-baby.  But now I look down to find a blobby little pot full of tapioca where my stomach used to be.  Crepey purple stretch marks cover my belly, back and upper thighs.  Two sad, saggy breasts inhabit the space where a once glorious rack used to take real-estate, like the dilapidated remains on a once prosperous city.  They’re the Flint, Michigan of tits.  In a nauseatingly transparent ploy to get laid, John Mayer once told some girl “Your Body is a Wonderland”.  My body, on the other hand, is more like a fun house mirror.  But alas, despite my body image issues, the boy-child must learn to swim.  And so, I prepare to step before the firing squad.  My blindfold, an asexual “mom suit” with cleverly placed ruching and tummy control panel.  Any last words, you ask?  Sorry no, it isn’t polite to talk with your mouth full.