Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bee-Swatting Bonding

It is supremely easy for my three year old to make friends. She simply goes up to every child at the park/pool/grocery store and asks: "Can I be your friend?" She asks until someone says "Yes" and then they are friends.

It's that simple.

I have been tempted to use the same strategy and approach other moms at the park with the same inquisition: "Will you be my friend?" That's what happens when you are stuck in the house all day with children under three for conversational partners. And when you live far away from family and your actual, wonderful, beautiful, Michigan-dwelling friends.

We are blessed enough to have Brad & Lisa right across the street (story to come of how that happened and our move to Indy). But sometimes they have other commitments or (gasp) other friends and aren't here to converse with me all day.

Shocking, I know.

So when Maddy and I went to the Splash Pad yesterday, I prayed before I left the car that I would meet a friend myself that day. There were two women there, both with three year old girls, so it looked promising. Since Madalyn is Miss Social Butterfly, she instantly bonded with the girls, leaving me an "in" to talk to their moms. We found out that we had all recently moved to the area, one from Cincinnati and the other from a close neighboring town, Fishers. Come to find out, they both live in the same subdivision, and one invited the other, Katie, to a sub playgroup on Friday. It made me a little sad since I wasn't included in the invitation, even if I don't live in the sub. But, as it turned out, Inviting Mom left, and Katie and I talked quite a bit more and discovered we are both RNs. Katie must have thought it wasn't kind for Inviting Mom to invite in front of me either ;), because she asked if I wanted to meet her at the park again tomorrow (today). And of course I played it cool and was like "Hmmm...let me checkmyscheduleYES!"

When we arrived at the Splash Pad today, Maddy and Katie's daughter bonded by running around with orange buckets on their heads pretending to be lions. Katie and I bonded by discussing how we both grew up taking ballet and where to enroll our daughters. And, I'll be honest, Gabe and Katie's son didn't bond. Because Gabe is only two and a half months old, see, and only bonds with those who are giving him milk or telling him "you're a handsome, handsome boy, oh yes you are."

Before we left, Katie asked if we could exchange phone numbers and do a play date next week, bringing our friendship to new soaring levels. She even swatted a pesky bee away for me while I was entering her number into my phone.

Because friends don't let bees sting friends.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Last night Dan and I decided to take the kids on a walk after dinner. We really enjoy these family walks; Gabe rides in the Baby Bjorn and promptly falls asleep, Maddy chills in the jogging stroller, and Dan and I get a shot at adult conversation. We had conspired to take Maddy to a local playground to wear her out..."Let's stop by the P-A-R-K because someone took a long nap today. It's our only chance of a normal bedtime" I had said. "Yea! The P-R-K! I want to go to the P-R-K! Can we Mommy?" came the immediate response from the little girl listening underfoot. I guess we need a new system of secret communication...the three year-old is on to us.

Anyways, we enjoyed a nice long walk and some good conversation on a muggy evening before heading to the subdivision park. I was wondering if there would be any other children there since it was approaching eight o'clock as we arrived. But, sure enough, there was a little boy, maybe six or seven, and a girl Maddy's age, playing together. The little boy called to his sister "Hey, Kenzie! Look at me!" as we approached, and, Madalyn, overcome with joy to see a like-aged child, began yelling from the stroller before we even stopped, "Hey, Penchee! Penchee! I'm here to play with you! HI PENCHEE!" Dan and I were stifling back laughter as the little girl's dad approached and asked, "Um, do they know each other?" We let Maddy out of the stroller and she took off like a bullet towards the little girl. "Nope, she's just extremely social" said I. By this point the little girl has agreed to be Maddy's friend with only this disclaimer: "My name is KENZIE." Madalyn brushes of the comment and continues to interpret her name as Penchee as the two zip up and down the slide. They later discover the speakers--two tubes located at different ends of the play facility designed for talking into. I hold Maddy up and Kenzie's dad holds her up so the girls can talk; Madalyn goes first, "Hey, Penchee! Can you hear me? I LOVE YOU, Penchee!"

Kenzie's dad comes over to Dan and I and strikes up a conversation after that: "So, how do they know each other?" The man is clearly still confused. "Oh, they don't. Maddy heard Kenzie's brother say her name as we pulled up. She just loves to make friends." I explain. Through the course of our conversation, we discover that Kenzie and Maddy are actually going to be in the same pre-school class this fall! Her dad is very friendly, and we talk for several more minutes before heading home.

I think I see the beginning of a beautiful friendship: Maddy and Penchee...BFFs for life.