Thursday, May 06, 2010

At the Park, Part II

After school, it was such a lovely day, we just had to wander over to the park for some serious playtime. There were some families we knew already there, so that was exciting, and I stood around with a bunch of other moms while our kids ran wild over slide and swing.

Its always a little odd to be in a group of "regular" moms. This particular group is very interesting, because the women are all so different, and here we are tossed together because our kids run in the same age cloud. One mom is a powerhouse who has her kids in Montessori schools. One is a health nut from South Africa who doesn't believe in vaccinating her child because she thinks it is "more natural" for her child to simply get diseases (but she's doing something right- her child is an absolute wonder). One is a hippie-type laid-back mom who doesn't say much, but hears much. The other is a very strict mom who doesn't seem to think her kids ought to get dirty... at a playground... One of them works, the others are all stay-at-home (though I suspect the quiet one is actually a work-at-home). The variety of life experience always makes for interesting insights and ideas bouncing about.

Then there is the odd part. The topics of conversation are odd to me. Working mom had a job interview, hoping her job goes full-time permanent, because she is in the process of a divorce. There was talk about working and giving up work. Having just had an interview myself, we managed to have some common ground there. Then there is the discussions of school activities. Since we have speech on Tuesdays, and the after-school programs require that you attend all sessions, we can't participate in them. Then there was the discussion of packing lunches. This was an extensive conversation about a fancy lunchbox that is divided into a lot of little sections, so you can provide a variety of foods, "not just a sandwich and carrots!" The swapping of lunch ideas was mind-bending. Do 8-year-olds really eat sushi and hummus? Does cous-cous keep well in a lunchbox? We're a bit of a sandwich, carrots, and fruit family. I'm not very creative with the lunch thing. Maybe I ought to be. Then the topic of movies and TV... I hate that one. I have never seen Titanic. I have seen exactly one scene of Desperate Housewives, and that is because Marlee Matlin is in it. And it didn't make me want to see the show. On the flip side, these ladies have never heard of Buckaroo Bonzai or Ground Force. They apparently have a book club, but I had never heard of the book.

No one talking about IEPs. Nothing about teachers, services, therapies, or odd behaviors. They let their kids run without even turning their heads to check them. A group of slightly older boys came straggling through, boys that have given Joey a hard time before, and I quickly clicked into watchfulness, and had to intervene. The other moms gave me a Look. There isn't a good way to explain that your kid was about to be seriously abused, and the words you heard suggested the abuse might go physical, and you had to do something because your kid doesn't understand to just walk away, doesn't understand that what was being said to him in that tone was intended maliciously. Also, how can you explain that your child is a little off-kilter because you are not sitting in your usual spot, even though you are in full and clear view?

The little group broke up, probably due to the time rather than my intervention in "playground politics". There were goodbyes and exchanging of new cell numbers amongst them, pleasantries. I'm perfectly welcome among them, but definitely different. I have very limited ground to share. I've spent my life that way, so it is nothing new, but it always feels odd.

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