Tag Archives: friends

When the Kids Don’t Always Play Nice

The other day, as I was reading through the blogs I follow and so often read (but lately have been lurking rather than commenting – sorry folks!), I read a post that talked about making meaningful friendships as an adult by Emily at Nap Time is My Time.  In her post, she talked about how she plans on trying to connect.  It’s funny because in an earlier post on her blog (which you really should check out for some of the crafting ideas alone!), she talked about how it is frustrating and the whole “why me” mentality that sometimes befalls us when we find ourselves on the outs with people we thought were becoming friends.

It got me to thinking because recently I had my first instance of “I’m not sure our kids are really friends” and I found myself kind of hurt by it all.  The daughter made a friend at the playground a few months ago.  Her mom and I started chatting and seemingly hit it off.  We had a few out of the home play dates and things seemed to go well.  Then we went to their house one day and the Daughter was beyond excited.  She got to see where her new friend lived, saw all the toys the new friend had that she didn’t, and then did a thing that a lot of four-year olds do and got a little territorial, despite the fact she wasn’t in her own house.  I found myself somewhat floundering.  I was trying to gently explain that it was her friend’s house and her toys and she couldn’t tell her friend what she could play with in her own house.  It was awkward.  We stayed a little while longer but when it was clear that they were not playing together, rather fighting together, we left.

I was well aware that my child was not exactly behaving well on this play date but it was one of those things where you kind of wanted to see if she could work it out on her own, like they try to do at pre-school.  But on the other hand, there were times where a little guidance was needed.  It was also possible that the play date was running a little longer than it should have, but I’ll chalk that one up to my fault.

After that fateful day, we didn’t hear from them for almost a month.  I began to wonder what if I had done something wrong and that was the cause of the radio silence.  Then we got an invite for another play date.  Things started out ok until the Daughter felt like her friend was ignoring her and playing more with the other kids at the playground.  Then all hell broke loose.  The crying, the whining, the fighting, it just imploded.  I forget the exact comment I made but the other mother said something along the lines of yeah, I didn’t know how to bring this up but The Daughter is a little bossy and it made the friend not want to play with her.  They decided to give the Daughter another chance though.  She also explained that there were other reasons we hadn’t heard from them in the month but I guess that was big factor (at least that was how it registered in my brain).

By Luis Argerich from Buenos Aires, Argentina (SWING SWing Swing swing) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Luis Argerich from Buenos Aires, Argentina (SWING SWing Swing swing) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It was weird, the emotions that I ranged through, as I sat and listened.  At first I thought it might be a reflection of me as a mother.  Then I thought there was something wrong with the Daughter.  Then I didn’t know what to think.  It was just one of those moments I probably took personally and maybe shouldn’t have?  Who knows.  As the play date went on, the kids clearly were not enjoying each other’s company and when we said it was time to leave, the Daughter broke down into a meltdown of epic proportions and I watched as the friend and her mom made a quick exit.  They texted me later to see if the Daughter was ok (which she was, she just didn’t want to leave the playground and was probably a little tired hence the extra drama).  I just felt weird though.  My kid made quite the scene at the playground – I could feel all the other mothers’ eyes staring.  One even tried to offer a sympathetic word, but it just was one of those moments where my head was swimming from the conversation, my child was clearly upset, and I just didn’t know which end was up.

I thought I was making a friend but if the daughters don’t get along, then can that friendship work?  I know that both are only young children and both have very clear ideas of what they want and when they want it.  In that sense they are both very similar.  However, is that really the only reason for the playground blues?  Is there more to it and does it involve the moms too?  I just know that it was not pleasant and I found myself wondering if I would ever have a close group of local friends with (or without) kids that I could go out with or have over or make plans to just drop by for coffee?

One thing that came from this whole thing was actually a glorious epiphany.  I realized that it was ok.  It was ok that this may not work out.  If it does, that would be great, but if it doesn’t it will be ok.  The Daughter may have to learn the hard way that being bossy isn’t the way to make friends. So be it.  But on the other hand, knowing what you want and learning how to express that in a positive way, that is a skill that every person should possess.  I just need to figure out how to teach that balance.  I know with age, it will come. I also know that as I get more involved with school activities, and going back to school myself, I will hopefully make those connections a little closer to home.

I know I do have a good, nay – amazingly fantastic, group of friends that I can at least call to talk to and hopefully someday, we might all live a little closer to each other so we can go drink bucketfuls of margaritas when things like this happen.

By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Face to Monitor Time?

I grew up in a close knit family.  We saw my grandparents every weekend.  We spent time talking, no tv on in the background.  Just talking.  It was good.  It often taught me the value of a good argument. It taught me tolerance to understand how to listen to both sides of a story.  It was valuable on so many levels and as an adult it has given me an idea of how I want to raise my own little minion child.  I want to be sure she understands the value of relationships and spending quality time face-to-face with the people who are important to her.  I also know that life sometimes has other plans and sometimes those face-to-face interactions can be less frequent than one would like.

Today, I still see my family but as for my friends, I feel that I rely more on the internet to help me stay connected.  Do I miss sitting across from them drinking a warm cuppa and talking?  No.  And before you make me into a heartless, soulless witch, Let me explain why.

I actually think I’m a person who has benefited greatly from the invention of social media.  I am a mother and as my child grows and gets more involved, my weekends are no longer my own.  They are filled with family activities, activities for her.  I don’t always have the free time I had all those years ago.  Typing that, I honestly feel a little like a jerk because it sounds like I can’t make time for my friends.  So, let me further explain…

Social media, whether it’s Skype, Facebook Chat, Instagram, Twitter, or even Google+ (if any of my friends would ever wise up and come over to the dark side…wink, wink, nudge, nudge), has allowed me to have my family time and yet stay connected to friends and family members that I may not see on as regular a basis.  Social media lets me have those few minutes to catch up on what the consider important in life.  That is unless they are lying.

I still have plenty of things to talk about with the friends when I talk on the phone, which I do on  a pretty regular basis.  I feel that sometimes those conversations are enhanced by what we share with each other on social media platforms.

French-Coffee-Conversation

Does it mean I value face-to-face time less?  No.  It’s just a different kind of socialization.  When I am face-to-face, it is a little more personal.  I am able to see facial expressions.  I have to be aware of my own facial expressions, especially if I suffer from this syndrome (It more recently was mentioned in a funny viral video…).  Face to face interactions are more personal.  Facebook and other social media platforms are more like a giant party where all your friends can interact together even though they aren’t together.

Social media is not the be-all-end-all of my friendships though.  I do try to keep my connections on “the networks” to people I really know especially on Facebook, where I tend to over-share pictures of the Daughter because I have become that parent that loves to take pictures of her.  Luckily, I haven’t lost friends on there because of it.  It’s so much easier than carrying around volumes of photo albums that seem to document her life and whip them out to annoy my friends with when I see them face to face.  And for that my friends, you are most welcome.

This post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  The topic this month is about connections and today’s prompt was “Do you think you still spend the same amount of time connecting in the face-to-face world now that socializing is so easy online?” 

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Beach Bum for Life

I suppose all these years living near the beach has addled my brain.  For some reason, no visit with friends (or even out-of-town family members) is complete without a trip to the beach.

The Daughter at the beach last year.

The Daughter at a Falmouth beach last year.

When meeting up with friends or looking for somewhere to hang out, I almost always suggest some kind of little beach trip.  Once, it was  a picnic lunch with a friend and her daughter.  The munchkins ran around while we ate lunch, chatted, and just enjoyed the day!

When the Sister-in-law and the boyfriend came down, we ended up with ice cream at the beach.  Can never go wrong with that!

I think I like the beach because there is no closing time.  There is no last call.  There is no shouting over bad cover bands.  There is no urgent need to get up and go because you are taking up someone’s table and they need to earn their tips.  There is just the open water, the sand, and the ability to really focus on talking and spending time with the people you are with.

The neighborhood lake beach

The neighborhood lake beach

Don’t get me wrong.  I like going out to the pub too but for some reason, the beach is always there.  Even in high school, we would end up throwing pennies into the harbor and just talking.  It’s quiet at the water, despite the gull cries, the lapping waves.  It’s just background noise.  You can really focus on what the other person is saying.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned.  I like having that kind of connection where I can hear and not be distracted when there is some quality conversation to be had. Plus, it never hurts to have something beautiful surrounding you while catching up.  The salty air, the soft sand, the soothing rhythm of the waves…yep…I’m a beach bum and I like to try to turn my friends into beach bums too!

Today’s post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  This month we are talking about connecting.  Should be fun!  Today’s prompt was: “Where is your favourite place to connect with friends?”  What’s your favorite spot to catch up with friends?

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Old Friends

It’s funny.  In this day and age of being plugged in, social networking, and the constant sharing of your life on the computer, I feel that I only have a handful of close friends.  When I say close friends, I mean the people who have seen me ugly cry and didn’t run away screaming at the horror of my ugly cry face.  (Totally off topic but, when you Google images of “Ugly Cry Face,” a surprising number of Kim Kardashian photos pop up…it almost looks like she’s yawning not crying…)

dawsons-ugly-cry

Even Dawson’s ugly cry isn’t really that ugly…

So, those friends that are in that elite (or not so elite) group of people have their own successful lives and when we are able to reconnect it’s a wonderful thing.

One of my oldest friends is a person I met in my high school sophomore English class.  He sat diagonally in front of me, in the front row of Mr. Ozug’s English class.  He was loud and somewhat socially awkward.  He was dangerously smart and always had dreams of taking over the world.  As the school year went on, I realized that he was in a lot of my classes that year (and the years to follow) and had it not been for a friend of mine (my best friend at the time) that he had a schoolboy crush on, he and I probably would have never become friends.

We graduated high school and went off to college.  We would occasionally chat via AOL AIM (a pretty new-fangled way to keep in touch with friends – yes I’m that old…) and during winter and spring breaks, we would try to meet up for a drink.

We each had some times where we fell off the planet – went incommunicado and resurfaced for air months, even years later.  It didn’t matter.  We could pick up right where we left off.  Trade war stories about what we did when we were radio silent.  I have to admit his were often more exciting than mine but that’s ok.  He still listened to my stories with interest and offered opinions.

Most recently, his parents moved cross-country and he is in the process of determining what to do with his childhood home.  When he was home for that short time, we met up and had some great times catching up.  It was as if we hadn’t missed any time.  He’s like a brother, and yes, this disproves that men and women cannot be “just” friends, because that is what we are.  There’s no judgement.  There are honest, sometimes blunt, opinions but I think that we value that about each other.  I know when I ask him his opinion, I’m going to hear what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.  It’s refreshing in a way.

being blunt

Back then, we would talk about what it was like to be a teenager navigating life.  Then we got older and talked about what it was like to be struggling in college with life decisions about what we wanted to be when we grew up, which I’m still not sure either of have really decided..  We grew older still and now talk about more grown up topics like marriage, children, life, and his eventual world domination.

brain

I am happy that I have a friend like this.  I am happy that he has found the perfect partner in his wife and that he is truly happy in that respect.  He deserves it.  I am happy that when he’s in town (and someday when I FINALLY get my act together and head out his way) that we can talk and have it be like no time has lapsed since our last in person chat.  We may not talk every day or even every month but it’s ok.  When we do reconnect, it’s no big deal.  We don’t have to make apologies or explanations.  We just start talking and it’s good.

Today’s post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  Yes, I’m trying to do it again since June fizzled out…Today’s prompt was: “Write about the last time you connected with a friend.”  When was the last time you connected with a friend?

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Trapped

Friends are great.  They can listen to you, laugh with you, cry with you, and smack you upside the head when you are being a bit ridiculous.  In my case, the smack would come from being absolutely ridiculous!  Some friends come in to your life for a short time, others stick around through the long haul.

I can probably count my close friends on one hand.  By close, I mean the people who have seen me cry and have been there to see me at my lowest lows and still call me the next day.

Now, when it comes to finding myself in a compromising situation, such as say, being stuck in an elevator, there is probably one friend I would want stuck in that elevator with me.   The College Friend, RaTa (I like to protect names if you didn’t know), would be the one who would have to be stuck with me.

make new friends

Over the years, we have been there for each other through a lot of fun times: college, parties, that fun vacation where you stayed in that insane lighthouse shaped summer rental(!), weddings, babies, drama, laughs…you name it, we were there talking each other off the ledge and then end with some good laugh therapy.

I think that RaTa would help make the time go by quicker.  Whether we were talking about our kids, what is coming next for each of us on this crazy adventure we are both traveling, or just telling each other dirty jokes we may have heard, RaTa would keep things sane.  And I hope I would be able to do the same for her.  Hell, I hope that we are never stuck in elevator, no offense RaTa, because being stuck in an elevator would really suck.

Let’s be honest – I don’t know that it really would matter who was stuck in an elevator with me, after about 20 minutes, I would want out of that little metal box.  I would start going insane and imagining us plummeting down to our deaths.  Then I would think about some movie I saw where they talked about the giant springs in each elevator shaft and I would wonder if the people in the elevator with us would bounce or would we smack down on the ground?  Would I remember to jump just before we hit the ground and save my legs from being broken?  What floor would we be stuck on?  I mean if we are up high, the fall would be that much worse. But if we were only on the second floor and we were stuck, our chances of getting out alive would be much better. And if we did get stuck, what if there was someone who had just come from the gym and really smelled bad?  What if I got a stomach bug at that exact moment.  What if the fire department couldn’t get me out of the little trap door.  Damn it.  If I get out out of this elevator alive, I’m going to be 100% faithful to Weight Watchers and when I hit goal, I’m going to crawl through an elevator escape hatch just to prove I can.  What if…

bouncing elevator

Thanks RaTa, I can hear you telling me to stop all the way from where you are.  And that is why RaTa would be the one stuck with me in that little metal box that takes us up floors in buildings.  I guess I should just take the stairs.

This post was written as part of the May NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is comfort.  Today’s prompt “If you had to be trapped in an elevator, which friend would you want trapped with you and why?”  RaTa would be my unfortunate friend stuck in the elevator with me.  Sorry RaTa…let’s not ride the elevators.

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Friends with Exes?

I’ll never forget the day my (not-yet) husband told me he was best friends with his ex.  I asked what he meant by best friend.  He said that he went to visit her every week and brought her coffee and they had chats and they knew everything about each other.  He said it so matter-of-factly that I was taken aback by it.

I had never heard of anything like it before.  We weren’t at the exclusive point yet but he wanted me to know so that I wouldn’t get nervous about it.  I appreciated the honesty of it but it was weird to me.  I had never heard of a guy staying friends with his ex unless he was getting a little more out of the friendship.  The Husband assured me that wasn’t the case and that I had nothing to worry about.  It was so hard to not be worried.  I was already someone low on trust and this kind of pushed me to my limit.  I decided to let it fly and see what happened.  I didn’t want to be a controlling freak, dictating who my husband could be friends with.

Then, the claws came out.  One day, I guess the friend was not happy that the Husband was spending so much time with me and resorted to calling me an Oompaloompa.

I do not think I look anything close to that...I am pasty white...

I do not think I look anything close to that…I am pasty white…

The Husband wasn’t thinking and told me of this conversation.  Needless to say, I lost it.  She hardly knew me.  I was convinced that she wanted the Husband back, now that she saw someone else wanted him.  I was ready to lay the smack-down (if I really was that kind of person).  I asked my husband to please think about what he told me about their conversations going forward.

As time went on, it was hard to forgive that comment for me.  When the Husband moved down to where I live, their friendship kind of waned.  Now he talks to her every so often, but he’s not buying her Christmas gifts and seeing her once a week and bringing her coffee.  I sometimes feel badly that it went that way, but I also would like to think I did not force the husband to choose.  To me that’s more important.

This post is part of the February 2013 NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is Love and Sex.  Today’s topic was “Do you remain friends with ex-boyfriends/girlfriends after you break up?”

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