Posts Tagged ‘ making friends ’

Being Cool Enough To Get Invited To Another Child’s Birthday Party

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Until last Saturday, the only birthday parties you had been invited to were for either very close friends or family.

So as weird as this may sound, it was at least somewhat of a milestone as a parent to receive a birthday invitation from one of your classmates from daycare.

“Jack, do you know Joshua from your class?” I asked you.

“Yeah, he likes the trains,” you responded with no hesitation and full confidence.

So we bought 3 die cast Chuggington trains for your friend Joshua.

I didn’t even know who Joshua was, which added to the coolness factor of you being invited to his party.

“Who is this mysterious Joshua kid?” I wondered.

We arrived at The Monkey’s Treehouse, where you instantly made your way to the giant wooden train sets and began inching a train around each corner and up each ramp with careful precision.

A friendly boy with olive complected skin and black curly hair pushed a toy shopping cart by you saying, “Hi Jack.”

“Oh, that must be the Joshua,” I told Mommy. I was right.

It was his 3rd birthday. A cool, older kid wanted you at his fun birthday party at an indoor playground. Epic.

Of course, you were perfectly content hanging out at the train station the entire time, only taking a short break for birthday cake.

Trust me, I tried, but I just couldn’t get a natural shot of you and Joshua in the same picture. That’s okay, though.

Because I have a feeling that part of the reason Joshua invited you to his birthday party was that he liked you and wanted to make sure you guys officially became friends.

Kids’ birthday parties are a good venue for building relationships with not only the kids, but also the parents.

Sure enough, for the first time ever, when I picked you up from daycare today, you explained, “Joshua ate the apple.”

Yes, Joshua has now made it into your after-school conversations with me.

I like your new friend. He’s a cool kid, just like you.





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People Watching At The Neighborhood Playground

Monday, November 12th, 2012

23 months.

I am a self-proclaimed “people watcher.” To be honest, I’m never not people watching.

It’s like every person is a character and every conversation is a plot line. Basically, life is a non-stop sitcom.

This afternoon while at the neighborhood playground with my son, a young playmate approached a fellow parent nearby:

“Hi, my name is [let's just call him Michael] and I am 4 years old.”

The kid sounded like he was trying out for a Welch’s grape juice commercial in 1995.

A few minutes later, the kid introduces himself to me too. I smiled and said, “Nice to meet you.” Then I turned away to help my own son down the slide.

“Two more minutes and then we’re going home,” I heard the boy’s mother say to him.

Exactly two minutes later, she followed up on her promise: “Okay, time to go now. I told you two minutes ago.”

He pretended not to hear her, so she pretended to leave the playground without him.

And his response?

“NO! No, no, no! NO! I DO NOT like you anymore, Mommy!”

So the irony in this people watching scene was that the little boy who appeared to be a well-mannered child ended up morphing minutes later into “that kid.”

But hey, who’s not to say that my son seemed weird to other parents there at the playground?

After all, he was the kid who illegally went down the slide backwards, about 27 times in a row. (I was so proud of that little goober!)

Not to mention, what about me? I’m the dad who stands at the top of the slide to assist my son once he climbs up there, making sure he doesn’t fall off the 6 foot drop.

Perhaps to other people watchers, being my son’s personal stunt coach seems odd in what is considered normal and appropriate for parents at the playground.

That’s why it’s fun to people watch. You get to see a lot of interesting people do a lot of curious things. Likewise, you get to entertain others who think you are an interesting person doing curious things.

On second thought, maybe that’s not a good thing.


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Making New Friends As A Married Couple With A Kid

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

22 months.

I don’t know why, but over the past couple of months, my wife and I seem to have been making new friends, in addition to our old ones.

Are we suddenly cooler than we were before?

Maybe it’s because our son is a little bit more independent now, so we can be a little bit more free spirited and outgoing; therefore attracting new people into our lives with a newfound positive energy.

Some of these new friends are like us- married with a kid. That’s natural and it makes sense that we would want to get to know each other better.

But also added to our list of new cell phone contacts are married couples who don’t have kids; or who are even single.

It’s a very interesting process to become friends with someone new at this point in my life; when it doesn’t involve my kid.

I’m sort of rusty on how this “making friends” thing works; especially since now it involves texting and Facebook messages more than it does phone conversations.

There’s like this unintended game of “I’m not stalking you” that you have to play with the person, at first.

They text you first: You get a point.

You send them a Facebook friend request: They get a point.

Basically, you’re trying not to be the one who creeps the other one out.

After a few rounds, if neither of you has weirded the other out, then it’s official: You’re real friends!

I think the most challenging part of making new friends these days is trying to make plans with them via text messages.

The art of discussion is dumbed down to caveman talk to where you can’t really offer up a hang-out plan then decide against it without sounding like a flake.

It’s not like you have the space in the text message to thoroughly explain the cons you instantly realized about the plan you just suggested.

But I’m up for the challenge. If people want to legitimately be my real life friend, whether they have a kid or not, I will do my darndest not to creep them out or be too vague like a hipster.

I would say, “I’ll just be me and if they don’t like it, then they’re not really my friend.”

However, I’ve learned that “be yourself” is the worst advice you can give some people.

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