On Sunday, I went to my first child's birthday party where I knew no one. A boy in Silas's class turned 3, and we were all invited -- "we" because at this age, it's a parents' party as much as a kids' party. I decided we had to go since I know no families at Silas's school, and his teacher encouraged us to have "playdates."...
It was a lot like going to a bar. A lot like that. Except it was a toddler bar, which means rather than measuring up bodies, careers, or drink choices, it was eying three foot tall yommpers racing around gymnastics mats, talking about where you live, and what pre-schools your kid attends. Ewww.
Bravely, I ventured into the mix. I think I am better at flirting than at female friend shmoozing, which isn't very helpful since I have largely retired flirting.
There were several conversations that just dropped off into nothingness. We both pretended we weren't talking because we were so intently watching our children race around, when really we ran out of anything to say, and with our eyes still locked on our kids, we each casually backed away.
Then there were the people who simply weren't nice. Giving one syllable answers is almost the same as ignoring someone.
And there were the kind, chatty people, who appeared to be potential friends, but after 10 solid minutes of talking, I realized we'd never exchanged names even or an ounce of personal information but had only talked about toddlers, so I don't even know who they were.
Off to the side, there was a small grouping of "dads" with tats and such, but I didn't even venture over there.
Finally, just before the end, I met and got the phone number of a sweet person who actually introduced herself by name rather than child's name and who may meet us at the park one afternoon.
So I guess the trip to Toddler Bar, take 1, was not a total wash. It was a rite of passage, the first of soooooo many weird birthday party/school event/children's friends' parents/kind-of-friend exchanges.
Or if we may throw it in a positive light, yet another beginning.