I watch my daughter from about 10 feet away.
My beard is in that nice transitional phase where I kinda look like I'm ready to start hitch hiking across the country. I am wearing one of my championship softball T-shirts which I have designated as the official "I'm on vacation" uniform. It's covered in paint spots because these T-shirts are also my official house repair uniform, Hossman sanctioned. I have sandels on that are held together with a bit of duck tape and smell vaguely of cheese. I have on the same pair of shorts that I have worn for the past two days. The smell of baby vomit still fresh on them.
I wonder why the stay at home Moms at the park haven't really talked to me yet. It shouldn't be hard to guess. I look like a pediphile at the park, closely watching two little girls play on the gym fort. If I took a moment to think rationaly for a minute I would know that someone in the park is calling 911 right at this minute.
But I can't think rationally at the moment because I am getting only 3 hours a sleep at a time. That's what happens when you have a new baby in the home, you never sleep. Sure, he's cute when visitors are around. Sure, he loves to be held and talked to, which baby doesn't. But when everyone leaves and it's 2:30 in the morning, that's when he decides that it is playtime.
Have you ever tried only sleeping in short spurts, maybe an hour at a time? Try it and then you will find yourself at the park one day looking exactly how I look. Like a left over from the movie Fast Times at Rigmont High except I have no hooters and am not wearing a bikini. At least I don't think I am but to be honest it's been about 2 weeks since I really paid attention to what I was wearing. I think I am going to buy a set of scrubs next because they always match and if they got shit on them people just assume you have been so busy saving lives that you can't be bothered to change. Instead I look like Mr. Peeper watching two little girls play.
My daughter and her new found friend are discovering the joys of the slide, at least my daughter is. This is the first time she has gone down it without me. It's a momentous occasion but I find myself being a little resentful that I have been pushed aside as the number one playmate. I knew it was coming and I knew that I wanted it to come but there is a part of me that misses it. Pretty soon she won't let me hold her hand anymore and I'll be crushed.
But I know that it is important that my daughter learns to make friends and I know that she will have tons more fun playing with them than she will with me. As childish as I am, and Hossmom seems to think I have this in spades, I am no match for uncontroled giggling of a 4 year old.
From the edge of the playground I watch my daughter, who is 4 months shy of two, playing with her 4 year old friend. This is what I wanted to happen, this is one of the reasons that I wanted to go to the park with regularity.
But here is the twisted part: I am nervous for her. I don't really know why. There is a big part of me that is worried that she will get bullied or pushed when she plays with older kids. I'm always afraid that she is going to get kneed in the face while they take her shoes. I don't know why really, I mean the other kids that she plays with have never done this, but it does make me nervous. I'm glad to see that I am already over protective of my daughter at the age of 2. Highschool should be a piece of cake.
When my daughter does make new friends, she usually tends to make friends with the older crowd. She is very self confident and has not problem bothering them until they decide to play with her, which is how we made this new friend today.
There were 4 boys and one girl at the park when we got there today. There were three moms dressed in shorts and they had coolers with them. I had my daughter and a diaper bag which in hindsite completes the whole scary hith hicker guy look. It looks like a backpack, my ensemble is complete. I played with my daughter for a little bit, just me and her when she started to wonder over to the other kids.
This is natural but it is also when my own shortcomings came into effect. I'll explain.
My daughter, doing her best impression of me, hoovered near the kids. She just stared. I just stared at my daughter. We were quiet a pair. This is her stategy of making new friends. "I'm going to watch you until you decide to play with me."
But I need to give her more credit. Because it did appear that she had a strategy. She was a huntress, making a decision of who was the weak one of the pack. The four boys starting playing football, the little girl didn't want to so she went off to play by herself. Like a cheetah my daughter shot off after her, her prey in her eyes.
I could see the other moms looking at my daughter and at me. Was there judgement there? Hmm, let's just think about this. 3 moms huddled closly together. The only thing missing was ballots. I know that for my daughter to have a healthy upbringing she is going to need friends. But what scares me is that it this may be based on my ability to socialize with moms.
Believe it or not, this is not the strong point of my game. I don't do "cold calls" with women I don't know very well. I get nervous and my palms are sweaty. Sure, I'm the eye candy at the park, but that doesn't make this any easier. But if I don't then I'm sure one of these moms will hustle thier little girl away from mine and my little girl will look at me like a failure. Perhaps I'm being to hard on myself. They would probably put 25 cents in my cup and hand me a banana then run home and check the sex offender check list.
What I want to do is to go to this pack of women and say "Look, that's my daughter. She's great. I don't want to hit on any of you and I am not here to get any cheap thrills. My hands are in my pockets because I don't know what to do with them around people I don't know. I am not fiddling the pud. I am sure you are all very attactive but I just don't want a long term thing. Let's be friends." Seriously, I wonder if that would go well. It would be funny and that is one thing that I can do--the nervous joke.
As the girls play I realize that I should probably pull back a little. I'm very torn about this. There is the Hoss in me that says that kids will need to work out issues and learn to get along. They may get hurt but it won't be more than a bruise so they shouldn't have me watching them over thier shoulder. However, the other Hoss in me says that if my daughter so much as frowns I'm going to punch somebody. Seriously, I haven't slept.
I go sit down on the picnic table a short distance from the moms, saving myself from myself. I watch the girls but in a more relaxed, less creepy pedophile way. I find my attention and stare going to the group of moms. Seriously, I should go joke and make a friend so that my daughter has friends. But I can't, so I sit at the table watching them. I remind my self that the next time I come to the park with my daughter I should wear a suit.
The moms are joking and look to be having a good time. I bet they'll like me. Sure, no problem, I'll just stroll on over and jump right in the conversation they are having about breast feeding and maxie pads. Not that I know they are talking about this, but always assume the best but prepare for the worse.
Then it dawns on me. I am no longer hoovering over my kid but over three ladies. I am doing exactly what my daughter did to make friends. Perhaps she is on to something there?
But before I could get up the nerve to go introduce myself, the three moms move away and start gathering there things, another day of bonding complete.
Maybe if I follow them to thier cars I can isolate one of them when they split up. Yup, that should go very well.