September 19, 2006

Couldn't we ALL use a Three Martini Playdate?

Back in May, I posted about attending an outing with a playgroup organized through a local Mom's Club to which I belong. I haven't done much with this organization because many of the meetings are in the morning and at the time I did NOT mess with the Morning Nap (sadly, as of late, the Morning Nap has been taking a big ole Dirt Nap of its own. sob). Anyway, I didn't attend any more playgroup sessions with that particular group but will start attending the organizational meetings because they are pretty educational ( RIP, Morning Nap. I hardly knew ye.) Anyway, getting back to the playgroup, it was the anti-homosexual comments that put me over the edge - Arun is going to be exposed to that sort of thing soon enough, why hasten it? So, instead I decided that I would focus on the playgroup I had already sorta put together. I met a few gals when we were meeting at the breastfeeding support group at the hospital - Arun and I began attending when he was 3 weeks old. Eventually, I suggested we start getting together to go walking on the alternative Wednesdays since we were still in the throes of Losing the Baby Weight. As our babies got older, it seemed we needed to release them from their strollers so that they could actually play and exchange pathogens. Then, I met Amanda and asked her to join. Then, I met Bethiclaus and she's been bringing Alliclaus (who is quite delicious, I might add!) AND, if my friend R can get her schedule arranged, I am hoping she can come. My hope for this group has always been to just gather a gang of moms together who have the same goal in mind - to have fun hanging out while their babies play and maybe enjoy some adult company as a bonus. I like that we live in different parts of the metro and that our babies are all different ages (the downside of Mom's Club is that it is based on zip code). Also, it's fun to see Alliclaus do things that Arun doesn't do anymore and it's cool to see A. do things that Arun will be doing soon. For the most part, the playgroup has been going fine. Yeah, we had Nervous Nellie attend once, but I think my lack of childproofing and my homemade toys scared her away because I haven't heard from her since. I know she was part of another group and honestly? She is probably happier with them than us anyway, so I suspect that no one was really "put out" in the grand scheme of thing.

So, when I read the post about playgroups at Mom's Daily Dose, I was disappointed to see in the comments some negativity expressed towards playgroups in general. For example, several commenters said that "playgroups are for moms anyway". Um, yeah - but what's wrong with that? Isn't it supposed to be a social interaction for both moms and their children? Why would I purposefully hang out with people I don't like? I've also heard the comment that the "babies don't play with each other, anyway". Um, yeah - babies primarily do what's called "parallel play" at this point, but they are still interacting and beginning the process of learning how to share. Furthermore, changing the location every week allows the babies to experience new toys and new environments which goes many, many Miles in the form of Entertainment. However, what made me really sad was the commenter who said "I have no evidence to back this up with but nothing good can come of playgroups. I think they were invented by communists. And Hitler." Wow. I am guessing that gal had one helluva playgroup experience for a comment like that.

Overall, trying out playgroups has been an interesting experience for me. Yeah, I spent an afternoon with a couple of Homophobic Vegetable Haters, but it was an entertaining afternoon, at least. And yes, I've come across some moms who Compare and Compete, but those moms dwell outside of playgroups as well and can never, ever be entirely avoided. Regardless, I have made some nice friends because of the playgroup thing. Last week, I got to see A. walk for the first time and it was so exciting for me to see her impression of Michael Jackson in The Thriller - after all, I've been watching her grow up since she was 9 weeks old! And for Bethiclaus, I know it was comforting to her when Alliclaus was going through her CT Scan Scare knowing that Amanda had gone through the same thing. And for me, its a relief that they don't think I am a terrible mother because my kid has a predilection for eating dirt, leaves, sticks, and cat food. They laugh just as much as I do (because watching a kid eat dirt IS funny.)

So, in the end, just like any other social group, there can be some bad apples, good apples or just apples for which you don't care for the taste. However, belonging to a playgroup is more than just about "playing". It's about making new friends and supporting each other through all the trials and tribulations of motherhood. And maybe discussing diaper brands and the last episode of The Amazing Race. It's just another social group - nothing more, nothing less.

Well, less alcohol. And that? Is a downside.

Fuzzy Head

A. is pontificating upon the Miracles of Mobility to a dutiful audience.

Melon Head

Alliclaus looks like she can't wait to join The Movement, too.

Mushroom Head

Don't let the innocent demeanor fool you. This was shortly before he attempted to shove a cigarette butt into his gaping maw.


bethiclaus said...

I love playgroup! And I think that it is totally for us (the moms) and I do not feel the least bit guilty for making it that way! Plus, you take cute pictures of my baby!

dee said...

I wish I could be a SAHM just so I could join a playgroup. Zach gets the interaction with other kids that he needs at day care, but I don't have any mom friends to hang out with that have kids around his age (other than my sister). I think your playgroup sounds like fun.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I don't see why it shouldn't be about interaction for moms and babies. Are mothers just supposed to sit inside their lairs, watching TV and feeling depressed all the time or something (that's my job biatches)? My mother is a very active person who likes socialising-in India she would have gone back to work more quickly because of the extended family network, in Quebec her "tea group" was her saving grace. They met in the afternoon and the kids ran amuck in the backyard.

That little Alliclaus kid is super-cute. So much hair...beautiful black-brown hair...

LOVE Arun's baby ska pants. I swear Cagey, this kid has almost single-handedly started my biological clock...him and my two little friends down in SoCal (my parents' friends' daughters...2 of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet...they remind me EXACTLY of me and my sister, same age diff, same attitude and everything).

FFF said...

I like play dates so I can talk to adults and have my kid interact with others in a new surrounding, just like you said. He's such a cutie! I'm jealous of the cooler weather. It's still 90 degrees in Texas.

Modern Day Hermit said...

If I worked inside the home during the day, I would certainly wish to get out on occassion to see other people, and visiting with people I liked would certainly be the preference.

dorothy said...

We have playgroups for working mommies, too. They're called "lunch meetings." You know that, Cagey!

If I were able to be a SAHM, I would have the little angel front and center in your playgroup, because you a) would allow alcohol if begged and b) have all the good Montessori toys.

My mom says they used to call it "having coffee" or "needlepoint" instead of "playgroups," but it was totally the same thing.

Brit said...

Opinions..they are like the assholes...stinky. I love playgroup. I belong to two. When I first had Moo I was working and then I wasn't and OH MYGODTHEBOREDOM of watching an infant sleep. So I called a bunch of moms and we got together for coffee and then we never got together again.

But things happen and now I'm in two good groups I love them and I think they are the healthiest friends I have ever had, mentally healthy (important) physically healthy..healthy healthy. And there a few 'nervous nellies?" but the do eventually go make their own anal groups and your set with the dirt eating grow big bones group that is fun...

alcohol though might improve that though

Jenn said...

I wish I had more people around me to have play dates with. =\ I only have one friend with a baby close to Allie's age, and she's about to pop out #2.

Working full time doesn't allow for much play date time. Sucks! If I COULD do it more, I so WOULD.

And sheesh, we aren't even allowed to socialize with other moms?!?! Does EVERYTHING in the life HAVE to be SOLEY for the child?

Goofy Girl said...

Dang! A 3-martini playdate? Can I skip work and come too? I might "forget" to bring Goofy Junior though. :-)