When Jack was about four months old, my cousin (Vicki of The Movie fame) and I got involved with a local mom’s group and found ourselves part of a playgroup for mothers of newborns. Vicki had a two-month-old at the time. Those early days were of course less “playgroup” and more “meet up with other people who actually are quite interested in the minute details of your child’s sleep schedule group,” but here we are two years later and now we moms can hang out and chat with only brief interruptions to mediate toy trades – at least, until the second babies started arriving. IFM has one of them; currently four months old. Last Wednesday, I attended what I hope will be my last playgroup before this kid busts her way out. We met at Incredibly Friendly Mom’s house, and spent most of the afternoon outside in her gorgeous backyard. Jack and IFM’s daughter Sohkie (Jack’s early mispronunciation) were over near the garden while IFM and I discussed the minute details of her new daughter’s sleep schedule, because some things don’t change.
Then Jack came running over to me saying, “Mom! A worm! A worm!” Sure enough, he had unearthed a wriggly little critter from IFM’s garden and was bringing it over to show me.
“Wow, Jack, that’s awesome!” I cried, keeping a pleased and excited tone in my voice. “But I don’t want to hold it, though!” Jack then offered it to IFM who also politely declined. “Maybe Sohkie wants to hold it,” I suggested. Sohkie did indeed, and as the two toddlers examined the worm, IFM complimented me on my cool head. I guess with a daughter, she has not had as much experience in this particular area. Maybe now that Jack has shown Sohkie where to find them…
After a few minutes, Jack said, “Can we take him home?”
“I don’t think so, Jack,” I said. “I think that worm lives in the garden right over there,” I said while staring panicked signals at IFM. Cool heads prevail, but only when the worms and caterpillars stay OUTSIDE the car.
“But I want to take him home!” Jack said.
“No, honey,” I said, “but the worm lives here! RIGHT, IFM?”
IFM laughed and said, “I think that worm would miss his mom and dad, Jack. Don’t you?” And Jack reluctantly agreed to return the worm to his loving worm family before going home.
Now contrast that story of the unspoken messages between two moms with this one of a conversation among me, Jack, and my downstairs neighbor.
Jack and I were in the back yard killing time before Andrew got home. I’m not really up for much walking these days, so when Jack asked me to go for a walk with him I had to say not right now. Enter the neighbor lady, just arriving home. “We’re going for a walk!” said Jack to Neighbor Lady.
“Not right now, Jack. We’re just playing in the back yard, right?” I said.
“Oh, you’re going for a walk?” said Neighbor Lady.
“Uh, not right now,” I said. “No walk.”
“Are you going to the park?” Neighbor Lady asked Jack.
“NOT RIGHT NOW!” I said, distinctly. “NO PARK RIGHT NOW! We’re staying in the back yard, right Jack? RIGHT?” I said, while staring daggers at Neighbor Lady.
Needless to say, Neighbor Lady does not have kids. And apparently does not know any, either.