A New Leaf

I've become someone I never thought possible: Annoying Talkative Woman. I don't know how this happened. Could it be that I haven't participated in stimulating, uninterrupted, adult conversation in weeks? That I've gotten old and desperate? Whatever happened, I am THAT mom at the playground. And the grocery store. Oh, yeah, AND at my daughter's dance studio. Holy Jeez!
We moved away from our close circle of friends a year and 10 months ago (but who's counting?). At first, I reveled in the solidarity. Then I enjoyed my anonymity. And more recently, loneliness set in and I said I would try to make friends around here. At a very slow pace.
The girls and I walked to the park yesterday and were astounded to see the mirror image of ourselves approach from across the sand box. She was tall and blond with the same jogging stroller, a toddler and an infant. Weird. "How old are your girls?" she asked. SHE STARTED IT! We soon discovered that we had a mutual acquaintance at Shelby's preschool. Then "My Twin" waves down her friend who rocks up with another toddler and suddenly I'm smiling, extending my hand and verbalizing a formal introduction! I know! I was possessed by a charismatic, personable alien!
I had obviously crashed their play date and I was enjoying myself. I fell into step with these two women & kids as we chatted our way to feed the ducks (music), skipped along the walking path (louder music), and finally linked arms in a choreographed skip dance singing "The Hills Are Alive!" to a full symphony. By the time I'd left, I even had phone numbers.
The dance studio was even worse. Normally, I deliver Shelby to her dance teacher and back away from the viewing room as fast as possible. I seek solace in my car or on the sidewalk alongside the wall of windows outside her classroom. Anything to avoid a roomful of animated gossiping moms bouncing infants on their laps and chatting about kids and laundry. But not today. I dropped Shelby off at the classroom door and turned around to bump right into a parent I had met at last weekend's preschool party. "Hiiiiiii!" she sang and opened her arms in a welcoming embrace. She hugged me. And I hugged back. I KNOW!? We got to talking, and the next hour flew by as I made the rounds like some overzealous host at my own cocktail party.
I think I might have made some friends. (Stop biting your fingernails) I think I might get dressed before I go grocery shopping. I might run into someone I know.


What Happenned?

Yesterday afternoon disappeared. And so did my parenting routine. It started with the grandparents coming over to babysit. Upon my return we visited over a beer. Which turned into discussion and debate. My neighbor popped in to say hello. John called to say he was running late. Wine was opened, mac n' cheese appeared for the kids. Grandparents left and the neighbor remained. I neatly circumvented the meal I intended to make. We chatted away while Shelby danced to The Little Mermaid and Ana squealed with delight in her high chair.
When John arrived, the scene was less than normal. An empty bottle of wine. The remains of our meal...crackers, cheese, and animal cookies. The neighbor handed Ana over and said her goodbyes. Shelby had passed out on the living room rug dressed in a pink tutu. Ana was covered in peaches from the waist up and madly clapping away.
"Hi, honey, how was your day? Dinner? What dinner?"


The Whole Package

I love my job. My young (and might I add, talented, gorgeous, perfect?) clients. The flexible scheduling. The rewarding progress. Daily lessons in mastering language, healthy choices, appreciating nature and literature, respecting themselves and others. Skill training such as how to unbutton a sweater, self feeding, creating a matching outfit, recycling, clapping on cue, skipping, drawing a stick figure. Of course, it has it's drawbacks. Heavy lifting. Ear piercing noise levels. Headaches. Exhaustion. Client tension. Confusion.
And the pay. Well, the pay is more than I could have imagined. Aside from lavish hugs and countless kisses, there are compliments, meaningful smiles, overwhelming adoration, and those are just the perks. The base pay is love. A whole lot of love. And the benefits are pretty good, too. It's the role they invite me to play in their lives. The role of playmate, guide, teacher, artist, stylist, singer, planner, magician, nurse, chef, fairy, and friend. The all encompassing role of being their mother. I love my job.


The Things I Know

A healthy marriage is not a perfect one.
Dinner restaurants with real silverware are meant for adults.
My car won't be clean until my kids have cars of their own.
Santa Claus really does exist.
Sanity is attained with the words "No thank you". Especially when applied to preschool birthday parties and collaborative garage sales.
Setting things on the roof of my car is NEVER a good idea.
Being good at many things, and the best at nothing, is finally okay with me.
If I want my children to have cute clothes, I cannot rely on relatives to provide them.
Baby Einstein is a genius, Baby Sign Language is addictive, and Elmo is God.
There really should be 3 more hours in a day (preferably during the middle of the night).
When I pay, it's a vacation. When they pay, it's an obligation.
Sometimes you have to scrap the agenda and head to the beach.
Pedicures are part of the budget. College funds are not.
Babysitters are also part of the budget. They'll always be cheaper than marriage counselors.
Baby wipes rule.
Surprises are for me to give. And no, I will never receive one, no matter how much I hint to him.
Retail therapy will always make a bad day better.
Bragging about my children, especially when I think they're not listening, is an effective way to boost their confidence (thanks, Mom).
Speaking of moms, my mom really does know best, most of the time.
Ignoring the laundry is never a good idea, but will always feel like one.
Retail therapy is a distant second to true friends.
A house cleaner is the answer to all my problems.
And yes, afternoon cocktails are still perfectly normal.