Thursday, March 10, 2005

I had a SAHM first this week, and surprising that it should have taken so long for this "first" to come about. David, Sofia and I embarked on our first playgroup session. As a mom of a 2 and 1/2 year old and nearly 10 month old, you'd think I would have made it to at least one of these by now, but nope. Not formally, anyway. We've gotten together with other small groups of moms and their kids, but nothing quite so organized as this. I found myself looking forward to it and then immediately thought, "oh how sad that this is exciting for me." But then I reminded myself I'm pretty new to the area and don't really know anyone, let alone any other full-time moms, so I should be eager to meet some people I can really relate with.

And that's the key. There was a time in my life when sizing up a potential friend meant making certain that our musical tastes were in sync and that we could talk for hours on the phone and still have plenty to say the next day at school. That we liked the same kinds of books, movies and liked to shop at all the same stores...that we had similar goals, ambitions and desires for the future...

...Now I just want to know if she has kids around the same age as mine.

I'm only half joking about this. When you are kind of in the middle of nowhere and alone most of the day in a farm house with your two young children and the snow is piled up to your windows outside and usually the only trek you take is to the mailbox or to break up the ice dam in your gutters with the "snow rake" left to you by the previous owner (I knew I should have been more suspicious) and your property is frequented by deer more often than people- well, you just aren't so picky about who you hang out with.

Now I love being at home with my kids. Let me just be very clear about that. They really are my world and I wouldn't give up what I do for all the friends and sunny beaches in the world. But seeing some other moms and giving my children an opportunity to get out and play with some other kids is really important, especially this time of year. So this past week we made our way to a group over at St. Augustine's in Montpelier that meets every Wednesday morning.

We recently began attending St. Augustine's and while it's a little harder for us to make it there on time Sunday mornings (who am I kidding- we were rarely on time when the church was 4 minutes away) we have found it very welcoming and there are lots of young families that attend there. Masses can be difficult when Sofia is loudly squawking and David is army crawling under the pew in front of us, trying to make a break for it, so it was a relief to hear lots of other squirming, squawking kids last Sunday at Mass and then to be invited for doughnuts and coffee down in the rec room. Now David is usually the first one bolting for the door after Mass, but upon hearing that there were doughnuts downstairs, David suddenly found church a little more appealing. Ernie reminded me that a playgroup meets there weekly and that I should try and make it this week and upon seeing the spacious rec room and all the toys they had for the kids I thought, heck, why not?

And I'm glad I went. David had a smashing good time, playing with all kinds of new toys, riding tricycles, eating snacks and drinking from juice boxes. Sofia who is usually so shy and timid around strangers had a grand old time crawling around the floor, checking out all the infant toys (and some of the infant boys as well) and while I spent most of the time watching David and Sofia play, I did get to chat with some of the moms and found that a lot of them were transplants like myself. One mom with 1 year old twin boys was from California and had lived in Barre for a year now. I asked her what she thought of this weather and she visibly shuddered and said, "It's kind of... well, it's..." and then she kind of laughed as her eyes glazed over. She didn't need to say any more. I knew how she felt. She wore her wool scarf the whole time we were inside.

The time came and passed, and I got to meet quite a few of the moms there, who all seemed to know each other already. Didn't make any great new friends just yet, but I got to see that there were a lot of women probably not too different from me, wanting the same things for their kids and for themselves, as I do.

We all bundled up our kids at the end of the hour. Sofia kept crawling away from me and David was dancing on the steps to the exit repeating "What's shakin', bakin'?" to anyone who'd listen. He was a little wired from all the stimulation, I guess. I heard one mom exclaiming, "Oh, I just can't wait until winter is over. This whole dressing and undressing routine is getting so old." She was patiently trying to get her young son to put on his boots and coat.

I smiled over to her in exasperated agreement as I tried stuffing Sofia into her already too small snowsuit. The woman looked back at me, shaking her head and laughing.

I bet she totally shops at the same stores as I do.

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