Posts Tagged ‘ play date ’

(My) Milestone Monday: How Do You “Play” With Your Infant?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

This is going to make me sound like an inept parent, but here goes: I haven’t “done” anything with Emmett yet. As in, any mommy-and-me classes, music, a stroll in the park — nothing. With Fia, it was the exact opposite extreme. We never stayed in, partially because it was a Brooklyn apartment and we always had neighbors and friends to hang with. Plus, you stroll everywhere there and isolation just isn’t an option.

With Em, we hang out around the house and on weekends when we go somewhere we (obviously) don’t leave him home. But if I’m doing playdates they are with Fia, and our nanny is out and about with Emmett or at home with him. In fact, she’s much better at figuring out fun parks to take him to. She puts down a blanket and they play. That’s another thing I don’t really know how to do. Play. I’m great at smothering him. Sucking his cheeks, smelling his hair… if I could eat him, I would. He’s that delicious. But playing? Not so much.

Anyway, this morning a crew was coming to work on our house. We had to leave. Cleo had arranged a playdate with Fia and I was taking Emmett. Because I’ve given myself an online blackout at nights, I didn’t Google anything to do. I panicked.  I also felt like a major idiot. What mom doesn’t know what to “do” with her baby?

I drove to a nearby park, put his car seat in the stroller, and went to a patch of grass, only to realize the morning dew made the whole area wet. Back in the car feeling like a total failure, I drove to an indoor playground I’ve been to with Fia.

I walked in and began doing what I do when I feel insecure. Over-explaining.

“I know he’s only 4 ½ months, so we probably don’t belong here, but I wasn’t sure where to go with him and my daughter is on a playdate and there are people in our house, so I’m sorry, if you think we shouldn’t come in…”

She gently interrupted my diarrhea of the mouth.

“This is a great place for him. You can sit in the ball pit, he can look at all the colors, see other kids. And, because he’s so young, it’s free for you both.”

Huh? No way. With a small amount of confidence back, I walked in and started to “play.” With my new Blackberry blackout plan, I didn’t check my phone once. I even met a nice dad there with his son. I felt focused and in the moment. And I remembered that I do actually know how to play.

After an hour, we got back in the car, he zonked out, and I took him to lunch, where I’m writing this post. I’ve had a great date with my son and plan to do it every week. Momma’s got her groove back.

Small update: Just as I finished writing this, two large men came in and started bellowing a conversation back and forth. Literally talking as if there was a jackhammer behind them. The whole restaurant was empty, yet they choose to sit near me. Really? I did loud shhhhh-ing in Emmett’s ear to make the point. Hello! Infant sleeping! Not a clue.  Within minutes Em was awake. I wanted to poison their food.  Aaarrrggghhhh.

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Do We Overbook Ourselves and Our Kids?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In the running world it’s called bonking. In motherhood it’s called overbooking. The end result is the same: exhaustion.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the endless stream of company and chaos (albeit, self-imposed) affected my milk supply. Luckily I got it back up by putting brakes on the crazy. Things are much more calm around here lately.

I  started to think about why I pushed myself to such a ridiculous point and to to thinking: does it seem like our generation of moms feel the need to constantly get out and “do” more than previous generations? My mother-in-law, my aunt, and countless older moms have teased me about how much Fia and I were on the go the first two years. Part of it was living in an apartment in Brooklyn. You’ll go stir crazy if you don’t get outside. Part of it was the need to connect to other moms. But is there another part in our technologically-obsessed, plugged-in culture that makes us incapable of sitting at home? Or god forbid, letting our children entertain themselves?

Recently I was feeling guilty for not taking Emmett to the “Mommy and Me” movies. Every week in LA a couple of the movie theaters show a new release for moms.  You bring your babies. Diaper changes, crying and breastfeeding are the norm. No one cares because you’re all in the same boat. I did it when Fia was 3 months old (we were out here for a brief stretch). Her first movie was “Shutter Island.” Okay, now read the first sentence of this paragraph again. Guilty? For Emmett? He gets no benefit from the movies. It’s purely for me.

Could  the play date and having to ”do” something with the kids end up being harmful? Does it gear them up to think they ”have” to be entertained or go somewhere? Instead should we be teaching them calm and quiet? To play with themselves? Commune in nature?  My aunt thinks so. She feels that the drive in this generation of moms will lead to some uncontrollable kids/tweens/teens who don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t “doing.”  As she put it, “Being able to be alone with yourself, entertain yourself, read, etc., is paramount to becoming a well balanced, non-hyperactive teen and adult.”

Are we selfish in wanting to see movies and do yoga while dragging our babies along for the ride in the guise of “mommy and me” classes?  Or are we helping ourselves get through motherhood by creating our own villages? If it’s the latter, they are very activity-centered villages. At least mine always have been.

I’m sure the ability to text a friend and get an instant response contributes to the ease of meeting up. Before the age of email and cell phones, it may have been different by default, not choice. But is this the right choice for us and our kids? I don’t know. I think it’s something to ponder.

Thoughts anyone?

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First Date

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We decided to meet at the corner, half way between our apartments. My husband was working from home so we needed to go elsewhere. Before I left I did one final check. Teeth cleaned. Hair combed. Mascara on.

We’d seen each other in social circles a few times, but we never chatted much. Just some smiles and eye contact. But now, the stakes seemed high. Maybe because it’s my first date of this kind. I know we have a few things in common: we live close by and we’re going through a similarly tough time. If this date turns out to be “the one” I can picture long walks in the park, museum excursions, maybe even yoga classes.  I want—no, need—this person to like me.

I arrive a few minutes early. Punctuality is important.  On our dates, timing and schedules will mean everything.

“Hey, how are you?” I ask as we quickly embrace.

“I’m okay. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.”

I already know where this is going and I’m relieved. Not because I wish sleep deprivation on anyone, but because it tells me we’re in the same boat.

“Yeah, me neither,” I reply. And we begin to commiserate. The baby barf, the diaper changes, and most important–the need to get out; to feel less isolated.

(more…)

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