Thursday, July 31, 2003


Now that our neighborhood has become depopulated of 4 year olds, I have to arrange playdates instead of just running into people at the playground. I have some great friends with great kids, but there have been some problems:

Problem #1. I like the parents, and Jonah hates the kid. The parents are hip and interesting. But the kid is one of those mean girls who is constanting pointing a finger at him. "Jonah is touching me." "Jonah is splashing." "Jonah is eating the cookies." It's only a matter of time until someone gets slugged.

Problem #2. Jonah likes the kids. I hate the parents. Cute kid. The boys do some nice train building and pretending. The parents are annoying or braggarts ("I'm so lucky that Junior sits quietly all the time.") or boring ("Let me tell you about mold.") or racist.

Problem #3. Commitment. I can't stick to a regular playdate. What if something better comes along? What if I wake up with a sudden urge to take the kids to the museum? What if there is a Trading Spaces marathon on TV?

Problem #4. No Multi-tasking. When I am home with the kids, I'm usually doing about five things at once. While Jonah plays trains and Ian trashes the bookshelves, I'm checking e-mail, adding to the blog, talking on the phone, making the bed, putting clothes away, reshelving the bookcase, steaming broccolli, adding to the blog, and editing the blog. When guests come over, I'm forced to pretend that I'm an attentive mother who does nothing but play educational games with my kids and quiz them about their knowledge of state capitals. "We don't watch television around here."

So, where have all the children gone? Parents freaked about low test scores have already moved to the suburbs or the wealthier parents, who plan to send junior to Dalton, have him in summer camp.

But after talking to my suburban friends, it sounds like playdates are the main social activity there, too. Where have all the children gone? We never had playdates as kids. My mom never arranged for our activities. "Go. Get out of the house. It's a beautiful day." We would be kicked out from breakfast to dinner everyday. We would play kickball in the street and tromp around the block with the neighborhood kids. Mom would be inside doing mom stuff. No supervision. No structure.

Now when I drive up Newcomb Road to my parent's house, I never see kids outside playing. In fact, I never see anybody. The place is empty. No human beings for miles. Where is everybody? Inside blogging?

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