The Subtext of Playdate Arrangements

Now that Z’s making friends and influencing people (and getting beaned in the nose with the tetherball) at preschool in the morning, I’ve been filling afternoons with either a) trying to clean house and slowly going insane, or, b) the library, Target, or playdates with Z’s friends.

Here are some common phrases I’ve used and noticed, and what I read between the lines.

“How about we go to your house? Z’s getting cabin fever over here. She could use a change of scenery.”

Translation: We’re living like pig people, and I’d be embarrassed to show this place to an infant, even less to a full-grown adult capable of making judgments.

“Yeah, four o’clock sounds good. But if naps end early, feel free to come on over!”

Translation: I’m going batty alone with my child(ren). Bring yours over to distract mine ASAP. I don’t care if they’re grumpy, rude, crying, snotty. I need them, and I need you!

“Or, we could always meet at the park.”

Translation: The park is a neutral zone, and my child, who hates to share, won’t have any prior claim to the park structures. Also, nobody has to clean up afterward. Also, my house is a disaster area and this way you don’t have to see it, and I don’t have to be embarrassed.

“Do you want to bring a snack, too? Maybe we could have a little picnic?”

Translation: I haven’t gone grocery shopping in weeks and we have nothing fit to serve others. Unless, that is, you think stale goldfish crackers and Cheerios make a meal.

“We’re having a rough day. Z could sure use some company.”

Translation: I’m having a rough day and I am about ready to have a mental breakdown. If I don’t talk to someone who can speak without whining this afternoon, you might see me screaming and riding Z’s Power Wheels up and down the sidewalk outside my house.

Those are just a few. Are there any that I missed?

The No-Nap Blues

The No-Nap Blues: I’m singin’ ’em.

Yesterday, I, the Ever-Suffering Mother, sat through an hour of listening to my child whine in the next room. “I don’t want to sleep. Let me up. Let me up!” (As if I were physically holding her down on the bed. However, if she’s going to continue believing herself stuck in bed, I’m not gonna enlighten her.)

Later in the afternoon, I spoke with one of the members of my Maternal Support Team (a.k.a. “Mom”).

Ever-Suffering Mother: Why didn’t she go to sleep? I think I don’t like her at all.

Maternal Support Team: (makes indistinct noises without committing the blasphemy of speaking against her granddaughter)

ESM: (wails) I just wish I knew what I did wrong!

MST: (finally kicking into supportive mode) You didn’t do a single thing wrong. Sometimes these things just happen.

ESM: No. Something went wrong. I did something different, and I will figure out what it was so it never happens again. (shakes fist at the other room where Z happily plays with her stuffed animal friends)

MST: Really, sometimes these things just happen, and you can’t control them–

ESM: Can so. I know I turned around three times in the kitchen before her naptime. That might have influenced it. Or her sound machine…maybe the volume got adjusted up or down after we brought it back from your house. Or I sang the second verse of her second lullaby in the wrong key. I will figure it out!

MST: (laughs)

By the time my Spousal Support Team (a.k.a. “Husband”) returned home from work, I was a total wreck. Still in my sweatpants, hair tied back in a nasty black scarf (the color of mourning), wondering if I’d ever have time to work on my manuscript again. Feeling a little sick from self-medicating with half a bag of Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Oh wait, that’s every evening. Tears optional. Maybe change the color of the scarf.)

Really, though, what do stay-at-homies DO when their child stops taking naps? Do they have a second child to distract the first? Do they run away from home? What I’d like to do is institute a three-hour Solitude and Quiet Time. And, yeah, maybe run away for a couple of days.