An honest take on life and parenthood

Playdate with my Pooh

on September 23, 2012

Most Fridays, I spend mornings with the Pooh, then drop her off with her grandmother for the rest of the day so that I can have time to run errands or just have a bit of time alone. This past Friday, I decided to have the Pooh all to myself and have a playdate with her – no errands, no chores, no work email.

During her breakfast of a bowl of Cheerios with bananas and milk, I asked her what she wanted to do.

“Go to gymnastics, then the ‘ayground.”

So there was our plan for the day.

After I finally found my keys (don’t ask me how they ended up mixed up in my trunk with the plastic bags I was taking for recycling!), we hopped into the car and went to open playtime at the local children’s gymnastics center.

We took off our shoes, stored them in a cubby, and went in to the giant playroom, where dance music was blasting and toddlers were running around.

The Pooh jumped in the bouncy castle, did her best to shimmy with the hula hoops, and played ball with a couple of other little girls. She danced and ran around and had a good old time, with occasional participation from me. There were a few bumps, since the Pooh is an only child and she doesn’t always understand the concept of sharing, and she likes everything to be in a certain order and place. But I’m glad that we have this membership, since she needs more interaction with other kids, and these kids were sweet.

She was starting to get crabby, an early sign of hunger, so I pried the toys out of her hands and we left. Needless to say, she wasn’t too happy with me, but I knew that she would be back to her old self with some food in her system.

Ten minutes later, we stopped for pizza at a local place that makes great pies like spinach with provolone, and carmelized onions with tomato. I ordered San Pellegrino Limonatos for both of us, since it is one of her favorite drinks in all of its fizzy sourness. Since she loves soup, I asked for a bowl of the homemade chicken escarole soup for her, and she ate it up after I cooled it for her. I cut up squares of pepperoni pizza for her, and we listened to 80’s soft rock while we enjoyed our lunch together.

Three different people stopped me to tell me how cute she was – a woman in a U.S. Coast Guard uniform, a red haired grad student with her hair pulled back, and a businessman. The businessman urged me to enjoy her childhood, ominously warning me of her teenage years, but I just laughed at him.

Once we had refueled, we went to a playground we had never explored before. It was a perfect day, seventy degrees and sunny, and we had the playground practically to ourselves. She jumped and ran and climbed and slid, pigtails bouncing. About thirty minutes later, the playground suddenly flooded with kindergartners. It was recess for the elementary school next door. A teacher called over a lovely five year old girl named Journey, who joined us at the seesaw. Journey told us that her little one-year old brother was cute but bad, describing his charms as well as his transgressions in amusing detail.

The Pooh was starting to lose steam. Naptime was upon us.

We went home and cuddled in bed while I told her the story of Cinderbaby as she drifted off. (Cinderbaby is a story I made up for her, loosely based on Cinderella and starring a two year old who is suspiciously similar to the Pooh.) The Pooh fell asleep quickly, tummy full, completely tuckered out from her playdate with mommy.

When she woke up, I helped her create a crazy-looking picture with glitter glue, stickers, and marker, completely of her own design. When she finished, we played with her dollhouse. We bathed the tiny babies and changed their diapers a few times. We then had the babies play hide-and-seek, which consisted of the Pooh throwing the babies out the windows of the dollhouse and hiding them from their distraught mommies, who ran around with their arms in the air. The Pooh loved that game, which she devised. Two year olds can be twisted, what can I say?

After dinner, she took a long bath while I skimmed the NYTimes next to her tub. She complained about getting her hair washed, as usual, and then proceeded to splash and play until her toes wrinkled like pale raisins. A few hours later, we went to bed. I reluctantly peeled myself out of her bed and went to my own after she drifted off.

As I think back on this lovely day we shared, I was struck by how unremarkable, yet how much fun it was. So often, I am rushing to do this or that. I am working, making dinner, running errands, or doing any number of activities. I am so busy that sometimes I forget to enjoy this special little person who is my Pooh Bear, with all of her idiosyncracies and charms.

She is always asking me to play with her. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t, because unfortunately, I am a boring grownup. Often when she asks me, I just want to have a few minutes to sip some coffee and read something juicy online, or take care of a project around the house, or write.

I know that I will not always have the time or the freedom to play with her for a complete day. Before I know it, she will have her own friends and want to do things without me. And having tasted from the well of full-time motherhood as well as working motherhood, I know I prefer the latter.

But going forward, I think a Mommy-Pooh playdate should definitely become part of our regularly scheduled programming.

One response to “Playdate with my Pooh

  1. James says:

    only toddler I’ve ever met who drinks pellegrino water; love it! and if it’s true that life is measured less in minutes than in moments, then surely it’s those special moments from “unremarkable” days like this that make the most memories! thanks for sharing 🙂


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