Twisting my arm to volunteer

October 26, 2008

I met a great mom recently and by virtue of our small community within a big city, have become friendlier, to the point of exchanging contact information, a big step in mommy relationships. So I sent her an email recently and she asked me to volunteer at the Halloween festival in the park tomorrow.

My first thought is, do I have to?

Obviously, I should volunteer.
*I like the mom and want to get in her good graces

*I intend to go to the festival

• I partake in a lot of activities in the community and should help out

• Volunteering is not difficult, cumbersome and apart from taking an hour out of my day, is not terribly inconvenient.

But like a bratty kid, I just do not want to commit to spending time away from my husband and daughter to help other families. But the guilt, the mommy guilt, that manifests itself and is impossible to shake, is telling me to stop being a baby and just do it.

So, reluctantly, I agreed, but told them I may need a chair because of condition (six and a half months pregnant).


Learning to Share

October 24, 2008

I brought my daughter to an outside playgroup yesterday and once again forced myself to feel comfortable socially with my peers. My little girl was initially shy, clinging to me while the older kids (all of about 18 months, but walking and talking) ran around interacting with each other.

I brought out a toy hoping to break the ice. Basically, one kid ran off with the little truck and when my daughter tried to reclaim it, he refused. Then he dropped it 50 yards away and another kid picked it up. I didn’t mind so much as 1) I didn’t want to lose the toy and 2) I wanted my daughter to have more interactions.

#2 was solved when the kids started having snacks and she broke out of her shell to crawl over and paw at the child until whatever it was that she was eating was shared. (This is after she picked up a cigarette butt and put it in her mouth.)

I guess as a mom I have to learn to share too.

The Non-response

October 22, 2008

I’ve been making a conscious effort to reach out to other moms in the neighborhood, sending out emails suggesting we meet at the park and what not. I can’t help but be offended when they do not take the time to write back. When I am with the moms they rarely seem able to put down their blackberry, so I know they are connected and can respond promptly, they just don’t.

Yeah, I get it, they are busy. So am I. How hard is it to send a note? I know I shouldn’t care, and I don’t that much, and I talk to new moms when I go out with my daughter, but again, I can’t help but feel like I am being rejected socially, again.

Nursery School Competition

October 22, 2008

The rumors you may have heard about the competition to enroll a child in a Manhattan nursery school are founded. Some schools only give out a finite number of applications usually by the day after labor day for the following year. Yikes.

I decided to take the attitude that my daughter, who misses most cut off dates, would apply to convenient (ie close) schools and that would be that.

The first school is an inexpensive co-op which comes well recommended. The program for the two year olds requires that I am present for the two weekly sessions. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of school? They are also not keen on having a mom bring a newborn baby, which means that I would have to arrange for a caretaker while I am at school with my daughter. But, because the school becomes even more competitive for the three year old program, it’s advised for parents to apply to the 2 program.

So, I’ll bite. Problem is, I had so many calls and email inquiries ignored that by the time I decided to pursue the program, I had missed the open house and my application would not even be reviewed unless they took people off some waitlist. Strike One.

The second school is a little bit of a further walk, but it allows me to drop my child off at the school and leave. They also charge a small fortune, such is living in Manhattan. I waited too long to sign up for the open houses and the two available tours do not work with my and my husband’s schedule, so we may end up going on individual tours. Did I mention that after I sent in the application, I noticed a third page that asked more questions and informed me of the application fee. Oops.

Can I claim pregnancy brain?

I do have a super close, super short, super pricey pre-school alternative that is my safety net. So, my daughter won’t be home all day with me and the baby.

Popularity Contests

October 18, 2008

I was never popular in high school, or middle school or elementary school for that matter. I would watch the popular girls with friends and boyfriends with envy.

When I went to boarding school for two years, I did not feel popular either. After some adjustment I did feel that I had friends and was friendly with a decent population of the students. (When three of my boarding schools friends walked out of my wedding two years ago, I realized that they were/are not my friends, but I digress.)

Through Facebook I have reconnected with some friends from boarding school, and some acquaintances from my hometown. I’m not sure why some people with whom I never spoke let alone was friendly with want to be my friend on the Internet when they ignored me in person. Perhaps they are amassing friends hoping to win their modernized popularity contest.

On the playground, in baby classes and through other child-centric activities, I have met new moms and have re-lived some of the exclusionary feelings of my youth. Nobody is malicious or outright mean, I think we’ve all outgrown that or are just too damn tired with our baby to care. But I do believe that cliques exist, and at times I feel excluded. I do not know how much of it is my heightened sensitivity (yes, I am bringing that up, again, but my hormones are surging.) or that they blatantly forgot about me (which, I suppose not being on someone’s radar, while perhaps accidental, still remains a slight) or what (insert plausible explanation), but I confess to being jealous of seeing other mom’s relationships amongst each other.

I have made one great friend, who makes me laugh partly because of her over-protectiveness and thoroughly researched parenting. I’ve been at the park and run into acquaintances giving the impression of knowing but not quite befriending other moms in the community. But I want more friends! However, I do pat myself on the back for pursuing activities independent of my daughter like writing this damn novel. It keeps me busier than others and fulfills me in an intellectual way.

Perhaps if/when it gets published (and succeeds) I will gain some clout and the women will want to befriend me.

Leaky Sneezes

October 16, 2008

I dragged myself to pilates session this morning to keep my obliques strong and, perhaps futilely tighten my abs. As soon as I laid down on the reformer machine I noticed my tank top with a built-in shelf bra (none of my other sports bras fit properly) was on backwards.

So post-pilates pre-shower I flip my shirt around and continue about my day. After going to the office with my cardigan, I go home and take my daughter to the park. We meet a friend joined by her husband and his friend. The husband advised me to close my cardigan as I was spilling out of my tank. He noted how my chest has grown in a few weeks.

Then I went to chase my daughter and sneezed. Here’s a little info about the changes in one’s body for those unfamiliar:

One of the joys of being pregnant is the weakened kegel muscles, those muscles in the vagina that help one stop mid-pee. So apparently pregnant women are supposed to stretch and exercise the one part of their body that they actually want to stretch and expand.

A side effects of less than perfect kegel muscles and pressure on the bladder and uterus is a little leakage. For some a simple cough will provoke a spill, this is exclusive of the daily discharge. For me, a sneeze was enough to saturate my panty liner.

Embarrassed I sat down by the sandbox and continued my conversation. When I stood up to leave, my friend said that my pants did not look wet, I had just attracted a great deal of sand in my privates. I asked if I should tie my cardigan around my waist for the walk home.

“No,” my friend impaled. She’s very proper and I thought she was worried it was too cold. “You’re spilling out of your tank,” she added.