Small Child has been at the same nursery/pre-school for nearly three years - and today we got to go on our first play date! Always having been one to suss things out from the fringes before joining in, I haven't really felt comfortable enough to walk up to any of the mum's of Small Child's class mates, thrust my phone number in their hand and suggest a get together. If that's even how it's done?
This is not from some deep seated fear of rejection you understand... more that we seem to easily fill our time with things to do and places to go. With other friends and kids already gathered, I couldn't imagine fitting anymore junior social shenanigans into our hectic schedule!
In the past different names have been bandied about, mostly boys I might add, and a few party invites have been sent and reciprocated; other than that Small Child seems to have been content to draw a wide and varied social circle about her person. Conversations at said parties have been struck up with harassed fellow parents and there's even been times in the local supermarket when Small Child has piped up "Oh look there's so and so's mummy/daddy/granny", followed by some friendly chit chat. But I always think it might look a bit desperate, slightly stalker like even, if I then suggest we swap numbers and arrange to meet outside the confines of pre-school!
Having heard one little girls name mentioned increasingly often recently I did begin to wonder if it was time to put myself out there a bit and try and look a bit receptive during drop off and pick up times. Easier said than done when you have to be somewhere ten minutes ago and your first priority is to remove Small Child out from underneath your skirt without dragging the snot trail across the front if it! Or my personal favourite... when I would pick her up and she point blank refused to leave, hysterically clinging onto the fence/door frame/playhouse whilst all the other kids ran to their parent with open arms and a big smile. Thankfully that phase is over and I no longer feel like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Anyway, it happened quite naturally in the end. One day last week as we were finishing lunch in the coffee shop, a lady came up to me and asked if I was Small Child's mum... as opposed to live in Au pair perhaps? Turns out she was Frequently Mentioned Little Girls Mum so I seized the moment and launched into how Small Child was always talking about her and how the pre-school staff say that they're inseparable etc. (All true by the way and not just a load of guff to help me make friends!) She was nodding along enthusiastically and seemed really nice so I asked if she wanted to swap numbers.... eeek! She seemed as keen as I was and left me a message a couple of days later inviting us over for coffee.
This left me thinking that maybe a lot of women feel this way and are unsure of how to make the first move towards striking up a conversation that might help to forge the friendships of their offspring? Anyway, we had a great afternoon...the two girls played happily upstairs (how grown up is that?), whilst we chatted over coffee and cookies with her little boy playing at our feet.
Hopefully she wasn't put off when, having decided we'd better make a move home, Small Child appeared at the top of the stairs completely naked apart from a pair of her new best friends pyjama shorts! I left, at least taking some comfort in the knowledge that she won't grow up with any of her mothers hesitant approach to life!