Before I became a mom, I thought playdates were going to be a much bigger deal than they have turned out to be. Perhaps it’s a bit premature for me to make that statement through, as my son is still a toddler and we have many more years of social interaction ahead of us. Still, so far, they've been anti-climactic. Well, anti-climactic and odd. Turns out, there are some weird things babies do when they can finally play with other (usually older) kids, and while those things are also super cute and provide doting parents with a plethora of photo ops, the awkwardness isn't lost on us (or at least me).
I remember how excited I was when I scheduled my first play date with my baby. Up until that moment, myself and my partner were the ones who provided our kid with human interactions, so I was excited for my baby to start learning what it meant to "play with others." Turns out, while it was absolutely adorable, that moment was also filled with some awkward blank stares. I mean, kids don't see the developmental value in playing with babies, and babies just have no idea what they're doing, aside from all the pooping. The entire social interaction was hilarious and while getting my kid to a play date can be exhausting, that first interaction made any future playdates more than welcomed (sometimes, I mean, it honestly depends on the day and if I've slept and if the stars align and, well, you get the idea).
We cheer our kids on and ask them to "play nice" and encourage social interaction, all the while acutely aware of just how weird it can be to ask two children to become the best of buds. Parenthood is weird, you guys, and when your baby is old enough to play with other kids, you'll be acutely aware of that undeniable fact in the following ways:
They're Amazed At How Quickly The Older Kids Can Move
This one is particularly prevalent at the park. I'm looking at you, mom who let her school-aged son climb onto the roof of the jungle gym tower. I think my toddler son is still confused by it.
They Continue To Stare At The Other Kids But Not Make Any Effort To Communicate
Unless, of course, they are reading one another's mind, which is totally possible. Babies are calculating.
They Become Fixated With Things That Have No Meaning
Carpet fuzz. What are you, carpet fuzz? What purpose do you have here, amongst my toys and blankets?
They Subtly Copy One Another But Pretend Like They Aren’t
Like, okay son, I know it didn't just occur to you to grab that one particular plastic key ring only ten seconds after my friend's baby did. I mean, yes, great minds think alike, but I see you.
They Take Turns Ignoring One Another
It's practice for middle school, I hear.
They Bump Into One Another While They Reach For Things
I think the world would be a better place if we all spent more time watching babies bump into one another.
They Unknowingly Pose For All The Photos
I've lost count of all the pictures I have of my son, especially when he has summoned enough courage to play with other kids.
They Share Toys But Don't Understand That They Are Sharing
I mean, despite all the clapping and congratulating I'm doing, I don't think my son realizes that setting a toy down and not freaking out when someone else picks it up is something worth celebrating.
They Look Around, Confused
Most parents of young children are used to seeing this, but watching two or more kids do it at the same time? I'm done. I'm done.
They Occasionally Tip Over Like Cuddly Teapots
"Babies Tipping Over" (softly and safely, of course) is the name of my future mom-band.
They Chew On The Toys
Thank goodness my friends are polite about the trail of slobber my kid has left behind after a play date at their home. Although, to be fair, their kid leaves the same kind.
They Crawl Toward Things That You Don’t Want Them To Crawl Toward
I mean, yes, of course we typically play in places that are baby (and kid) proofed, but that doesn't keep kids from going rogue and testing our safety skills.
They Look Super Adorbs
I mean, that's kinda the point, right? Would we still be spending all this time and energy sitting babies down on the same blanket if it wasn't just the cutest damn thing?