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In Which it Takes Forever to Tell You I’m a Sheep

Daycare was closed yesterday leaving me with a bundle of raw emotions to feed/nap/play with.  Although I would say that RR is a 99%/1% kind of girl, that 1% unhappiness will just drag you kicking and screaming over the coals if you let it.  Given a Friday night croup appearance (holy cow – have you heard that craziness?!), she was still feeling a little frayed, having started with all the regular energy but with twice the regular speed of dissipation.  Her ability to wake up jumping with joy and consume all of her breakfast and most of mine hypnotized me into thinking we were going to make it through a packed morning to a noon nap.  We both know RR well enough by now that we don’t need to dwell on a description of what happened.

Seriously though, have you HAD croup at your house?  Talk about a heart stopping cough.  It came out of nowhere, too; a mild fever two days earlier with no other symptoms and then POW welcome to croupville, suckas.  If there wasn’t enough evidence that we made the right decision moving here, the Friday night call to our doctor at her home resulted in a listen and a prescription for a steroid that stopped the heart-breaking lung whistling and barking. Best. Doctor. Ever.

In fact, RR was sans croup or any other symptom when we headed to the park Monday morning.  It was cold and wet and, sure enough, practically deserted.  There is very little (and maybe nothing) that RR likes more than swinging.  FWING, MAMA! FWING!  Usually, I try to divert her until the end of the trip because, once you stick her into the swing, there’s no fishing her out without a meltdown of epic proportions.  To give you an idea of her love, she swang for an hour, noting that the chains of the fwing were coooooold, mama but that NO TOUCH YOU! when I dared to try and cover her hands with her jacket.

So, being awesome, I pushed her until she was ready to stop which has never happened in her small life.  And, while I pushed, I got to observe the other parents in the park.  Of the three there, all were stay-at-home moms who, while they didn’t know each other before coming to the park, were busily bonding over routines and a “Mommy Club” that had a PRESIDENT.  I was comforted to know that one mother would “personally” email “the club president” to let her know that the other mom would be emailing her “so it’s really important you not forget to” and that she shouldn’t worry, that’s it’s totally “no pressure if you cancel at the last minute” that is, “if you get in.”  Dude.

There was one other mom at the park who had not been included in the club chat and she and her 14-month-old sidled up to the swing next to me to strike up a conversation.  Here’s the thing, in my advancing age I feel less compelled to socialize with strangers.  I’m not that person who loves to meet new people because oh my god people have such interesting stories.  And, I’m not that person who comes up with an interesting story to tell other people who they never will see again.  I’m also not a complete asshole so, if someone talks to me, I talk back.  I’m not chatty, though I think I’m well within the polite area.  I find the best approach is to ask questions of the other person so as to avoid talking about myself overmuch.

I think the chill and the fwinging had hypnotized me into complacency, however, because soon enough I found the solo mom asking questions about RR: when did she start talking, how old was she now, what did she say, when did she make a full sentence.  While we didn’t talk long, she won me over with her earnest questions and her faded, longing look.  I distinctly remember a phase when adult conversation with ANYONE (even someone like me) was a light in the darkness.  At 14 months, I craved the comparison.  I wanted to know if RR was developing apace and where she was ahead.  That mom and I were in this together, and had been for a full 14 months.  Friendly then?  Check.  I still felt relieved when she moved on before we reached that critical “do you want to meet up later?” which really means “do you want to meet up later during the day” and results in disappointment on all sides when the answer is “are you sure you can’t meet up on a Saturday”.  And, since I’m not part of the Mommy Club, I couldn’t extend an invitation to her to brighten her up a bit.

This is the problem with going to the park on a workday.  You are not in the Mommy Club and, upon admitting that you work during the day, are revealed as the sheep in a pack of wolves.


5 Responses

  1. We have parallel lives, clearly. Croup hit our house last week–thursday night was awful (and if my wife wasn’t a doc we’d have headed to the ER). Friday we got the steroids–and since I know that croup only gets worse for 3 nights, I’m glad we nipped it in the bud! Glad your kiddo is on the mend too! As for the working mom vs stay at home thing–we find that the difference between being the working mom and stay at home mom is MUCH more relevant to how folks engage with us than the gestational/non-gestational question! It’s interesting and not something I “knew” pre kid.

    • We do have parallel lives! Also, parallel thoughts because I was just thinking that re the gestational mom question and the work status question!

  2. There is a Mommy club, that has a President, who has to approve you for membership? Uh, the hell? My first reaction to this is “Flee! Flee in terror!”

    But maybe that’s just me.

    When I was unemployed, and home with Critter much of the time (the rest of it he was with PB at nannyshare), we would go to the park, or weekday kids activities sometimes, and I always felt like an imposter. “Sure, we can meet you at the park next week. Unless I get a job interview in the meantime,” thus revealing myself to not really be a stay-at-home mom after all. At least, not by choice. Also, while at the time I was frequently desperate for some adult conversation, I don’t think I’ve ever been desperate enough to suck up to the Mommy Club president.

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