Monday, October 6, 2008
The party was oh so much fun. We had balloons and streamers and cupcakes and presents . . . Frances says her favorite thing was the singing. When everyone started she stood completely still and got this stony look on her face, the same one she always has when she's really enjoying something and concentrating hard. She used to look like that on the carousel and at first I thought she wasn't having any fun. It took me awhile to realize that blank look meant MUCH enjoyment.
I toyed with the idea of requesting no presents since we have so much already, but in the end I decided that presents were part of the birthday party experience and I didn't say anything. Now I'm glad for the presents--so many of them are things I never would have thought of and are certainly more developmentally appropriate than her old toys. And, of course, she's so completely excited about them. My favorite gift was from a neighbor--a plastic tub of handmedown Fisher Price Little People that had been her daughter's. When my neighbor said a couple of weeks ago that Frances needs some Little People, her daughter piped up and offered her old ones. I suggested they give them for her birthday--and I love that they are handmedowns. Why do we need new ones? And they came already contained in a tupperware tub! I think it might be Frances's favorite too. She opens the tub and dumps the whole thing on the floor and then spends all kinds of time placing people in the school bus and driving around the family room.
Oh, and I feel like I have friends. Relief! The party helped. I have in fact made one new friend whom I like a good bit so far--her daughter is in Frances's preschool class. When Frances first started going I asked her if there were any kids in the class she played with. She said yes, and that the girl's name was "Apple." Hm. I asked the teacher and it turns out that F plays a lot with this one little girl named Sophia in the little kitchen with the bucket of apples. So Sophia and her mom have come over once and we've gone to the toy library together (why doesn't every town have one of these??) and we're going to their house later this week. Hallelujah!
But you know, even when you have people to hang out with (as I THANKFULLY do here in our neighborhood), it takes so long to really get to know folks. It takes a long time to become close, to develop real friendships. In the meantime, even with people around (which--don't get me wrong--is really really helpful), it's lonely. I miss my close friends. I miss having them come over with their kids to play. I miss going for walks with them. The counselor I'm seeing (finally!) suggested that my crazy anxiety about the health club is not due to my not knowing anyone and being all alone there (which I am), but to my family's aloneness there. That no one knows us or really cares about us as a unit. That folks I don't know are caring for my children; we're just some random people--could be anyone. And the anxiety is the pressure of feeling I have to protect my children all by myself, only me. Forces from the outside and all that. It makes sense to me. And this is why our house and yard is my safe place these days. It's expanded now to a stretch of about 5 houses down our street. We walk that stretch w/ our babydoll in a stroller nearly every day, Clark on my back.
It's fall full on now. Trees orange, leaves falling, jackets and sometimes scarves but not yet hats. It came on a little too soon for me, but it is lovely. Bright sunny today. When F gets up from her nap we'll have to take her baby out for a walk.