Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

First Contact

We’ve officially been Texans for a week now and are slowly settling into the area. Not that we’re unpacked at all; I’ve estimated that if we unpack ten boxes a day we’ll be done in a month. (How’s that for depressing?) But we’re starting to find our way around our neighborhood and are working on getting into a groove here.

I’ve tried to bring some normalcy back to Maddie’s life as quickly as possible, so we started hitting our neighborhood playground the day after we arrived. And for a whole week, we saw no one on the equipment. Zip. Zero. Zilch.


We only live two blocks from the playground so it’s a short walk, but even in that span we don’t pass anyone except the occasional dog-walker. Coming from an urban environment where the streets are never empty, I’m a bit freaked out by the ghost-town appearance of our community during the day. I know most people are off at work, but where are the kids and moms? I became convinced they were all hiding in their houses, peering out their windows and waiting for me to go home before coming out themselves to play.

Ok, so I didn’t really think that. Too much. But I have been amazed that, on all the long walks and tricycle rides the girls and I take, we haven’t encountered any other families, even playing in their own yards. I began to despair of ever finding a friend in the area, and watched sadly as my little girl wilted a bit each day on the equipment with no one to run with.

We made one more stab at it on Saturday, and finally struck pay dirt; after spending almost 45 minutes there by ourselves, it was as if some silent gong had been struck and people began showing up in twos and threes, until the area was humming.

When Maddie saw the first family arrive – a 4-year-old girl and her older brother – she perked up and said, “Maybe she’ll want to play with me!” And on a side note, this is one of the qualities I love most about my daughter; she sees everyone as a future (not even potential, but guaranteed future) friend and is fearless about approaching them to play. She simply assumes everyone wants to be friends! I’m not saying she’s not shy, but it’s the shyness of being around strangers, not the shyness bred from fear of rejection. I see this in her over and over and want to bottle it up for her to draw on when she’s older and a bit more storm-battered.

But I digress.

The other little girl began pushing her dolly in a swing, so Maddie got out her Elmo and went to work giving him a ride in the swing next to the dolly’s. The two girls began chatting a bit about dollies and such before parting amicably, but even better, the mommy began talking to me! I started to think that maybe there was hope for finding some friends in my area.

Everyone was cordial to me, and when Maddie’s age was ascertained I was filled in on the appropriate neighborhood play group for me, given the phone and address, and warmly invited to join. Of course, joining such a group pretty much sight unseen comes with its own risks: what if you try it once and don’t like the people? Never coming back sends a pretty strong message. And with ten kids in the group, that’s a lot of people to host on a rotating basis. Not to mention that with such a large group, there’s bound to be a few people you won’t get along with: the mommy who serves peanuts and chocolate for a snack; the mommy who scolds you for not still breastfeeding when your child is five; the mommy who tries to guess Maddie’s IQ and begins grilling you about where you’re going to apply for preschool. So I’m nervous about this thing, but think I may give it a try in a week or two. What’s the worst that could happen? (I say naively . . .)

So we’ve made first contact with our neighbors with kids, and I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ve figured out that we don’t see kids on the playground daily because most children have play equipment in their own back yards, which is the whole reason I’ve been wary of getting our own swingset. The other thing that surprised me is that everyone drove to the playground except me! As I chatted with the moms, they were all saying, “Oh, I live close by – about five blocks,” or “Ten blocks over is my street,” that sort of thing. Yet they all pulled up in a car! Which makes me wonder if they’ve been driving past me all week wondering who this strange creature is who walks everywhere.

The one thing that depressed me a bit was finding all my conversations with the other moms centered around the kids. All the talk was about play groups and schools and names and things, and no one looking to get to know me just as a person; for every question asked about me, ten were asked about Maddie and Cora. “Where did you move from? What’s your daughter’s name? Is she jumping? How old’s the baby? Has she started solids?” I’m trying to be generous and assume that they simply found the girls safe topics, but I thought I’d get at least some “Why’d you move here? Do you like the neighborhood? What do you do?” sort of questions, and not hearing any made me worry a bit about making any real friends for myself in the neighborhood.

Regardless, we’re finding our playground niche, and seeing Maddie bloom again with other kids on the equipment was absolutely priceless. She didn’t even need someone to play with her all the time; she just likes the hustle and bustle and inspiration of other kids running around her to get her own self moving. Though she did occasionally make overtures and join in with other kids, Maddie was perfectly happy to play on her own, surrounded by other little people living out their own busy lives.

You can take the girl out of the city . . .


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.