Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playdates, Pancakes And A Six Pack

Wow we had a big day! Lola is unusually quiet so I check on her. She's sound asleep on the sofa. This is a sight of sheer beauty, and I wipe away a tear. This little bundle of slumber, so peaceful, so serene. This from a kid who, when I say "Honey you look a little sleepy, maybe that's why you're so cranky" loudly declares with a hand on her hip "I don't DO naps!" I turn of the TV. Her latest fascination is Casper The Friendly Ghost. We picked out a few of them from the library. I loved those cartoons as a kid. I relished in the thought that grow ups were afraid of him, yet children loved him.

We've lived in our neighborhood for some time now and I'm just beginning to think some of these people are actually ok. Lo has found some friends to play with and I love the idea. Her friend Jake was to come over this morning for a playdate. Not keen on the idea that every social situation has to have a "name." Can't the kids just PLAY like I did? She was at his house two weekends ago, so I thought It would be a nice gesture to have Jake here, make pancakes, do art projects, etc..and give his mom a bit of a break. She was overjoyed and hurriedly dropped him off so she could run errands. A six pack and a shotgun had me wondering where she was off to, and I would have happily tagged along!

Lo and Jake immediately fell into play mode and I whipped up some pancakes. I was pouring the batter, listening to Louie Armstrong when I heard the front door. Lo's other friends from down the street wanted to know if she could come over and play. Jake gave me a mournful look. He wanted to play with Lola's guitars and color with her. I invited the kids in, asked if It was ok with their dad if they stayed for pancakes. Of course it was ok! Now I've added four more plates to the table and brought out small bowls of M&Ms, sprinkles, decorator icing and orange slices for mouths. We're big on pancake faces at my house. The other kids had never done this at THEIR homes and it totally upped my cool mom factor. (I've noticed the other moms are now wearing makeup and big earrings too!) By now I had turned on an all Jazz station for background music. Their father was still sitting at the table as well. I asked if he's like some pancakes, he declined and starting telling me about his Jewish faith. I was half listening because I could smell smoldering cakes on the stove. I'm not sure if he was seeking recruitment? That's where the conversation was headed...he was complaining about friends who are some sort of radical sect who don't recognize his particular conservative beliefs...again I had to politely excuse myself for orange juice and milk for his kids.

Fast forward and after an hour I tell him it's ok if he has other things to do, I would gladly entertain his kids. Off he goes and the mayhem continues. There are five kids in Lola's room. Legos, Tinker Toys, guitars, bongos, maracas, and stuffed animals are scattered everywhere. Clothes were pulled out of her armoire and her plastic play grocery cart was crammed with shoes. I thought some outside play would be great. Before I could suggest this, a beach ball came sailing over the stairs and broke one of my picture frames.

After a rousing three minute game of badminton the kids suggested we have cookies. Didn't they each eat two large pancakes less than two hours ago? I set out a plate of cookies, turned my back for milk, and the emply plate was spinning on the table! One of the parents phoned "Are they having fun?" "Yeah, we're having a great time, are you ready to have them back home?" "No, not really...." "Uh, ok, how about I send them home in about 20 minutes? Great see you then!" I quickly hung up the phone. "Ok guys your dad wants you back home in 20 minutes." This announcement was followed by "Awwwwwhhhhh, can't we stay more and play with sidewalk chalk?" The phone rang again, it was Jake's mom. "I'm finished with my errands, how goes it?" I told her great, and the house was full of kids. "Shall I bring my knitting?" Jake's mom was at my door in less than 10 minutes. She and I sat on the side porch enjoying coffee and banana bread. The kids were still inside now watching Casper.

After 30 minutes I made sure the kids looked both ways before crossing the street. I told Jakey's mom we had a late afternoon picnic to go to and Lo needed her bath. "Awwwhhhhh, can't I stay longer!" she pleaded. I kinda like this neighborhood thing.

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