Day 5: out of place

7 08 2008

I had planned that we’d all be up and showered and ready to greet the world at a reasonable 10 o’clock this morning. Actually, what I said to my sister-in-law was: “We’ll plan for 10; that way we’ll leave by 10:30 or 11, at the latest.” We didn’t walk out the door till 11:40. (I have NO IDEA how I’d manage if I was a working mother, who had to be somewhere by a certain time. Employment would not last long for me, I’m not good with keeping to The Man’s schedule.) (In fact, the one single detention I got in high school was for a tardy to homeroom, and that was before kids took over my life.)

We went to Burke Lake Park today- train rides, carousel, playground, ice cream shop, putt putt, the works. After the train and the playground, on our way to eat our picnic lunch, Ethan decided to forgo the ice cream business when, in the parking lot, in the middle of a tantrum (he loves to throw tantrums randomly for no reason whatsoever), he picked up a rock and threw it. AT A CAR. THANKFULLY as luck would have it it happened to be my car that the rock hit. Unfortunately for Ethan, when he threw that rock, he also threw away his right to a vanilla soft serve.

The whole time we were there, I couldn’t shake this feeling of being out of place. When Ethan is around other children, he has two options for his behavior: he either goes into lockdown mode, frozen with shyness, or he literally starts growling at kids and saying mean things to them. Correction: he THINKS he’s saying mean things. Since his ‘mean’ vocabulary consists of “poop” and “stupid”, he wouldn’t be able to get very far. So he says regular, non-mean words, in a mean voice. He hisses things like, “Stroller, go, playground, don’t do that, kid!” Weird, yes?

The majority of kids we see at places like this in our area are there with their non-English speaking nannies. The rest are there with mothers who are dressed in the kind of clothes that I reserve for Going Out Without Children After Dark- a far cry from my flip flops and Old Navy bermudas and tank tops. They’re up-to-date with their pedicures, their hair is commercial-shiny, and they are all in shape. I can’t say anything about their personalities- they could be the nicest people in the world! but I wouldn’t know it, thanks to my own insecurities. I compare myself and my chipped polish and my frizzy hair and my comfy pants and my naughty child to the woman next to me who looks like she’s got it all together, and I don’t even bother to approach her.

I know I’m not doing myself any favors. Even if I looked as good as the other mommies on the playground, even if Ethan was well-behaved, I’d still felt as though I didn’t measure up somehow, and I’d still probably keep to myself. Even when I do find myself in the rare conversation with a fellow parent, I never know the right thing to say. When I was in high school, and prepping for my first phone conversation with my new boyfriend (I can’t be the only one who prepped for these things), I vented to my friend Hallie about how nervous I was that we’d run out of things to talk about and there would be lots of awkward silence and then he’d surely break up with me the next day and my life would be OVER. Hallie, awesome cool friend that she was (and still is, in fact), took it upon herself to save my life and my relationship. When I saw her at the end of the day, she handed me an index card filled with topics and questions for me to use during the phone call. I still have that index card somewhere, and if I wasn’t so sleepy right now, I’d go find it. I do remember, though, my favorite item on the list, right after “Ask what he did last summer”: “Ask him how he feels about capital punishment.”

Perhaps I should start carrying around a list in my diaper bag of things I could possibly talk about with other mommies at the playground. “What did YOU make for dinner last night?” Yeah. That’s some intense conversation right there.

Motherlinesses:

-the wonderful picnic lunch I packed for us this morning

-I baked a cheesecake tonight for Jeff. He does not come home till late Saturday night, but he prefers his cheesecakes aged. I know, right? Doing what I can to secure my “#1 Wife” title for another year, you know.

Fatherlinesses:

-um… yeah, I didn’t do anything that I could count as fatherly by any stretch of the imagination today. Oh, no wait! I didn’t put the toilet seat down after Ethan went potty.


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7 responses

7 08 2008
Nora

Summer of 1997: I spent it all with my best friends Laurel and Monica. We were 14, 15 (me) and 16 and we called boys we liked on the phone only after much deliberation of what our conversations should be like. Of course, all phone calls were monitored by the other two on the extension in the next room. We plotted out how to get me on the phone with my crush since I was too shy to call him in the first place. And you’ll love this: we made a list much like yours of things Laurel could talk about with the boy she had a crush on. When she blanked out at the sound of his voice after thinking she’d memorized the list, Monica says into the phone that she’s not supposed to be on, “Where’s your script, Laurel?”

True story.

Girls are weird!

8 08 2008
Stephanie of Stopbouncing

Grandma gave some sound advice.
“Complaint the other persons shoes”

What woman doesn’t like to talk about shoes?!

Suppose you could replace “shoes” with anything else… I asked someone what brand of mascara they use.

8 08 2008
Grammy

Just be yourself if that don’t talk to you it’s their loss you are an awesome person!!

8 08 2008
RookieMom Whitney

How about “My kid sorta sucks today.” It’s a test for the other mom. If she laughs and agrees, she’s a winner. If she gives you a weird look, tell her she sucks, too, and move on.

8 08 2008
Stephanie of Stopbouncing

upon further consideration, I would not “complaint” about someone elses shoes as they may know kung-fu.
Perhaps you would want to “compliment” them.

8 08 2008
Caley

Nora: LOL! That is a great story. We used to use 3-way calling ALL THE TIME when calling boys.

Stephanie: Okay, compliment makes much more sense! Also, good advice.

Grammy: I know. 😛

RookieMom Whitney: I like that. That’s what I will write on my index card and I will use it next time and report back!

9 08 2008
Hallie

I totally forgot about the index card. Oh high school was ….hmmm not fun but interesting.

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