Neighborhood


Since I’m really only invited places with my child, these things of which I speak pertain mostly to him. I’m sure there are things that you should know about me, embarrassing breaches of etiquette and good taste that I almost certainly — albeit unknowingly — make. However. I am not blogging about those things today. No! Today, I am blogging about the things you should know about my child.

And so, I begin with the one that happens most frequently: At some point during our visit together, my child will crawl over your child on his way to get one of your child’s shiny toys. He will not say, “Excuse me,” or even, “Sorry for sticking my knee in your belly, but I really would like to play with that tambourine over there. I live an otherwise tambourine-free life and I have a strong desire to break out of my doldrums!” No. He will say none of this. He will crawl with purpose (even though he could easily walk). He may even crawl back over your child once he has grabbed up his toy of choice.

Which leads me to the next thing you should know. If my child spends any amount of time lounging in a comfy chair with your child, absent-mindedly playing with your child’s foot, that does not preclude him from later whacking your child on the head with a coaster (or a plastic hammer, or Lego block). It will not be done out of malice. But it will happen. Please be warned.

In addition, my child has been known to spill his crackers and chips. And shove many yummy corn muffins in his mouth with such force that the crumbs spray not only around his mouth and down his shirt, but all over your floor as well.

And my child can be a little indecisive. One minute he’s begging for water, the next minute you’d swear that sippy cup contained evil poison.

Now, if you know all these things, and you invite me over anyway, and once these things happen you counter my every apology with a believable, “Don’t worry about it,” I will be grateful. My child will be grateful. He will have a happy time playing with his friends, running around, getting in to everything. I will have a happy time chatting with my friends. Laughing, eating too much, and generally feeling re-invigorated.

Plus, I love Ben Stiller.

The funny part (to me, anyway) starts at 1:45, so feel free to fast-forward.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Playground. 2pm. Two little girls, climbing on the slide.

Girl #1: How old are you?

Girl #2: Sixteen.

Girl #1: You sixteen?

Girl #2 (Rolling her eyes): Yes.

Girl #1: You not sixteen.

Girl #2: OK, fine. I’m FIVEteen.

Mother (Walking over to girls): Sarah, you are not fiveteen, you’re four.

Girl #1: Me too! I’m four too!

Girl #2 (Rolling her eyes yet again. Really.): I’m not four. I’m FORTY!

Shout it out, little one. Shout it out.

To Conal, it is all about keeping up with his big boy pals.

We went to the playground with some friends today and Conal spent most of the time following the big boys. Climbing up on the play-gyms when they did. Making a mess with the mulch when they did. Stuffing his mouth with goldfish crackers when they did. Running around on the “stage” when they did.

He thinks he’s a big boy.

He climbed up the steep stairs alone.

He went down the big slide by himself.

He fell — face first — on the ground and didn’t cry a bit. Didn’t even look for me.

He thinks he’s a big boy.

I’m not ready for that.

You give moms a good name. Sorta make up for the lousy ones at the playground.

I love your friendly ways. Like how you smile when I put my mat down next to your blanket. Or, how you come up to me and say, “Hi. How are you?” when you are someone I met last time at the beach, albeit briefly.

I also love how you baby talk to my toddler when he toddles over to you and offers you his shovel or, as the case may be, a Tootsie Roll* wrapper. It’s just so sweet. And so unlike your evil playground counterparts.

Yes, Internet, I know. A strong mama would get over the Playground Incident. I’m working on it. Right now, I’m reveling in the love of the beach mamas. And trying not to think of the others.

Thank you.

And good night.

* No. I do not feed my child Tootsie Rolls. He found the wrapper on the ground. Next to the sad, dirty Barbie doll leg. I’m as surprised as you are that he chose the candy wrapper over the leg. The leg was even wearing a pink shoe.

Dear Other Moms at the Playground,

Hi, it’s me. That mom at the playground who you either a) ignored, twice or b) glanced at and in one quick motion, picked up your kid and trotted off to the other play set. Remember me? I have the cute little boy who was dying to play with your kids? The little boy who toddled over in your direction and then you walked away? Yes! That’s me. You remember! I knew you would . . .

Anyway, the reason for this letter. Maybe no one taught you this when you were growing up but, around these parts, it is customary to say, “Hello,” when someone says, “Hello,” to you. You can alter it, if you want: Maybe go for a, “Hi” or, “How ya doin’?” Doesn’t really matter exactly what you say, you just usually should say something. And if you don’t, and if the person who originally said a cheerful, “Hello,” to you, coupled with a little wave of the hand, decides that maybe you didn’t hear her the first time, so she gives you a friendly, “Hi,” a little later on — again, it’s customary to give some sort of response. And, I hate to break it to you but it is considered a little bit rude to just look at the greeter, say nothing, and then turn your head.*

Another little thing: A one-year old boy, excitedly walking over to you and your kid, chattering away in his one-year old way, isn’t going to do you and your big kid any harm. I can guarantee that. I know that little jobbers who are half the size of your kid can be scary — what with their smiles and all. But, you might want to try to get past that. One-year olds generally just want to see the big kids, check out what they are doing. And the moms, especially those moms who are standing right next to them, are usually watching them. So, really, no reason to fear the toddler.

No reason to look at the toddler and quickly grab your big kid, saying something along the lines of, “Let’s go play over there now.” Your big kid didn’t even have a chance to play on the first play set.

That’s it, really. So, next time you’re at the playground, and another mom greets you, try to be nice, OK? Or, if a toddler walks over to you, try not to run away. I can’t stress this enough: one-year olds really aren’t harmful. I swear! And a mom saying, “Hi,” generally doesn’t mean any harm, either.

Sincerely,

Me

*Some of you may be thinking that perhaps I should consider that the mother might be deaf. Well, I did. I considered it and when I later witnessed her talking on her cell phone — loudly, while completely ignoring her child — I realized she was not.

It’s a real turkey.

This funny looking guy (gal?) hangs out in our back yard. I don’t exactly know where it lives but I know it spends a lot of time under the tree where we’ve hung several bird feeders.

Thanks to the wise Internet, I learned that, unlike their domestic counterparts, wild turkeys can fly. And, they have excellent hearing, but they don’t have ears. Don’t ask me how they hear without ears. The Internet did not share that information. Maybe you can look it up on your own, and report back. Thank you.

Completely unrelated, I also learned that if you design a house and make the layout really weird and sort of creepy, it doesn’t matter how large the house is, it probably isn’t going to sell. I guess because people don’t want to be creeped out in their own homes. Just a guess. I didn’t learn this from the wise Internet, but from the open house we went to today, just because we were curious.

So, a day of learning all around!

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