[The mama’s eye view.]
Ronin’s increasing playground freakouts were starting to get me worried about her socialization. It’s probably nothing out of the ordinary for your average short, illiterate, toothless (mostly), incontinent person who can’t speak English, but she is so painfully sensitive about having things taken away from her (toys, pine cones, steering wheel on the play structure, personal space, etc.) that I get to thinking (The Internet does not help). Sometimes she just decides she doesn’t like the look of some kid at the playground and whenever that kid comes near her, she just starts crying and flailing accusingly at him. Of course, this leaves the poor kid totally perplexed and a little disoriented. I have to take Ronin off and explain that that kid has a right to be on the play structure too and blah blah what the hell?!
The answer: Playdates. I may as well buy the minivan and sign myself up for the PTA now I suppose.
We have a couple of baby friends we specifically meet up with. Winslow is two months older than Ronin and they actually seem to interact together. We usually meet up at the park and the babies follow each other around, poking at vegetation, stamping around in the wading pool. The stakes are low since there are no specific toys involved and they have always gotten along pretty well. Our new baby friend is Rilke, whom we met at the Tiny Tots Story Hour at the library.
Winslow’s mom actually is the one who “introduced” me to the library story hour or else I never in a million years (well, several at the very least) would have gone there myself. (I know, I know, a library, other mothers, their toddlers! Very scary stuff.) As it turned out, she convinced me to go then stood me up and I was forced to brave the story hour by myself. (Spoiler: I survived, and even returned the next week.)
I still am not sure what to think of it. It’s a room full of toddlers and their parents, there is group singing and participation, there is the highly anticipated story, there are bubbles and a massive bin of brightly colored plastic toys dumped out at the end. Everyone seems to know each other, like they started out in birthing class together and graduated to Tiny Tots. It feels like some sort of group therapy, which makes me nervous, but then everyone is pretty normal and it’s not much of a stretch to realize I’m the freak and that I need to just RELAX. Makes me wonder who is really in need of socializing.
Ronin is still in the observational stage. She burrows into my lap and is probably taking detailed mental notes as the more outgoing kids run amok around the room, crawling over other parents and knocking each other down. All the hands up, hands down, hands all around type stuff pretty much mystifies her. She managed to reach out a finger to pop a bubble and by the second time we went, she ventured forth into the mayhem that was the pile of toys (those tots do know how to party) and only got in minor, swiftly averted scuffles over more desirable articles.
I managed to make a friend too. No thanks to me of course; she was the friendly one and my only contribution was managing not to screw up my own email address.