I HATE playdates. I've always been shy and reserved -- not completely antisocial, but sort of sub social. Wall flowerish. Mind you, I volunteer for projects at my kids' schools and in the community. I am quick with a wave and a smile if I see someone everyday. And if you lean up against the wall with me, you might just enjoy some of my jokes and snark. Our kids might also like meeting up on the playground to knock heads on the jungle gym while we chat it up on the bench nearby. Maybe.
But for a sub social like me, setting up those playdates and breaking the ice with parents I don't know is awful. Watching me is pornography for anyone who gets off on social awkwardness. I wonder what the other mom thinks about my kid/mothering style/appearance/house/professional status/etc. There is a voice in my head that narrates in much the same tone of voice my father used when teaching me to drive:
That's a cool bracelet she has ... Say something nice about her bracelet. Say it now... SAY IT SAY IT SAY IT! Ok, so why did you tell her the bracelet reminded you of something you made back eighth grade art class? Now she probably thinks you're comparing her jewelry to pipe cleaners and bottle caps -- not exactly a compliment. Go on, what are you waiting for? Say something else to change the subject. Say anything, it doesn't matter wha -- OH JESUS, DID YOU REALLY JUST TELL THAT JOKE?Yeah, add kids and juice boxes, and that sums up my entire experience with most first playdates.
In the preschool years, it seemed a little bit easier. I would get to know other moms slowly in the parking lots next to nursery school or daycare. After awhile going to the playground together would just naturally occur. The kids and I didn't click with everyone we met up with, yet somehow we ended up with a handful of friendly families we socialized with regularly.
But now that Big A is in kindergarten, it's back to square one on the social front. It's like I'm having junior high lunchroom flashbacks. (When all my friends got assigned to a different lunch period than me and I didn't know who to sit with ...) Ack. I still cringe at the thought.
Who knew that starting kindergarten could be so challenging ... not for the kid, but for the 38-year-old woman hanging onto her student's hand?