So yesterday we had some people over for dinner. This, it turns out, is the best way for me to socialize these days. People come to me, and in exchange I feed them.
This time, it was Mr. O’s friend from high school who recently moved back to town, along with said friend’s wife and toddler. If I am being honest, I was looking forward to it in part because I really like said friend’s wife. She has a similar sense of humor, reads the same kinds of books I do… and now we have that whole “I had a baby” thing in common. What I’ve really liked about her is that she has, in the past, expressed frustration with parenting. Not in the typical “Being a mom is so hard, but it’s great!” way. In the real “Sometimes my baby is a jerk” way. This isn’t schadenfreude– I appreciate the honesty. It’s a form of parenting I can get on board with.
I harbored fantasies that we would go out to lunch, join book clubs, and maybe even occasionally admit that we like our children.
Perhaps you’ve figured this out already, but this didn’t go exactly according to plan.
I’ll spare you a minute by minute recap. In general, the evening went well. Ish. Well-ish. I made a lasagna which came out nicely, and a berry almond cake. Tasty as hell, if I do say so myself. Our apartment was fairly clean– or at least as clean as having a newborn will allow.
We had a few funny exchanges about how I rarely leave the couch, and binge watching ALL THE THINGS is now completely acceptable. Their daughter is about a year old, and recently discovered walking. She tore through the apartment, picking up anything that wasn’t nailed down, spitting out peas on the floor– you know, acting like a toddler. I wasn’t bothered, but I could tell that my future-best-friend was a bit embarrassed. I kept telling her it was okay, because well, it WAS okay.
Anyway, there were a few times over the evening that clued me in to the fact that my future bestie may not be so bestie after all. For example, FBFF had exactly zero desire to return to work after her daughter was born. I can’t imagine feeling that way. I know it is still early, but I not only miss the adult contact, I also genuinely enjoy my work. When I mentioned this, she wasn’t so much judgey as she clearly couldn’t relate. That’s fine and all, I just wish I could find someone else who feels the same way. Strike one.
Later, she admitted that she has basically stopped paying attention to anything, like the news and current events type stuff, once her daughter was born. She is okay with this. I too have lost track of what’s going on in the world, but this makes me really sad. Like the GOP debates– I was soooo looking forward to watching the trainwreck known as Donald Trump, but I missed it. As in I completely forgot it was happening. I used to watch the Sunday morning news shows, and that crap… I don’t anymore, and I honestly miss it. Strike two.
But the final sign that our bestie status was not meant to be was when I put Chick down in his crib. He had been passed out through most of dinner in a Rock n’ Play, and I decided to put him in his crib. I scooped him up, put him down, and came back to the table.
FBFF: Wait… Did you just put him in his crib? And walk away?
Me: Um, yes. Is that a problem?
FBFF: No, I just could never do that with my kid. I couldn’t let her out of my sight.
To be clear, I don’t think she was trying to call me out or anything. I think she was genuinely surprised that someone could leave their kid’s side. But I did have this split second when I questioned if leaving a child asleep and unattended in his crib on his back with no blankets or stuffed animals around was in fact a reason to call child services.
I love Chick. I love love love him. But I do not need my hands on him at all times. Sometimes, I even let him cry– like if I’m on the toilet. I know he isn’t dying, and I need to finish peeing. Besides, he is okay on his own. FBFF and her tot want and need to be closer (physically.) That’s fine, but clearly not the direction Chick and I are headed in.
Striiiike three, and you’re outta here!
Other things: I made dinner and dessert. I sleep okay. I’m trying to resume normal activities– I’m REALLY hoping my doctor clears me for running at my 6 week check up tomorrow. All these things seemed like the exact opposite of her experience. She has become consumed by her kid.
It isn’t like I think she was being sanctimonious or anything. It was just a bit of a let down because I had so hoped I could find someone I could be frank about stuff with. I still like her tremendously, but there will be no matching tattoos in our future.