saving my life: play date edition

My sister-in-law says that her favorite baby stage is from 12-24 months. Here at nearly 15 months, I can see why she would feel that way. Our bright and active boy runs and smiles everywhere he goes. New words pop out of him every day. He is overcome with joy at the sight of books and balls and bubbles. He has learned a few signs and can express himself. He pretends to talk on the phone. He points out cars and waves goodnight to his dinosaur painting. Parents always say this, but it turns out it’s true: it is such a joy to watch him learn.

And yet. And yet. There are runny noses and mysterious fevers and temper tantrums. Sometimes he doesn’t sleep so well. He has a mind of his own. And how much are we supposed to start disciplining? And how do I keep from raising a whiny kid? And how do we teach him what’s important to us without feeling like we’re indoctrinating him? And why won’t he ever even try green beans? And you guys, I am just so tired.

Thankfully, I have some friends whose kids are close to Atticus’s age. Sometimes they send me nice emails and sometimes we text each other questions and commiseration and sometimes they have us over for pizza while the kiddos play in a wagon.

Being a parent has, so far, been more isolating and lonely than I expected. Play dates are no joke. It is fun to watch the little ones survey each other, but it is life-giving to spend time with people who are experiencing the same things, even if you don’t even really talk about it. Even if you don’t get much time to talk about anything. Even if you have to spend most of your time chasing after your very active little boy. Just being with your friends and their families is more restorative than I ever would have guessed before I got here. Before I got here, I didn’t understand how much play dates are actually for parents. Saving my life this week: other parents of toddlers. (You know who you are.)

What is saving your life this week?

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