Rollercoaster! (of love) *
We had a playdate today with two mom / toddler girl pairs that we've been seeing about once a month for a while now. The girls are both a bit older than Nico, having turned two in August and September, and even though they're all still in the parallel play stage, I do notice that the girls are a little bit more interactive than Nico so far. They're good kids and probably good influences on my socially isolated little only child, and I really like their moms so it's a win-win.
We've been meeting up at the park and then going out for lunch this fall while the weather was nice, but it was supposed to rain today so I invited them to come to our house. Because of this, I spent yesterday evening cleaning. It was that really neurotic preparing-for-first-impressions kind of cleaning that makes me crazy while I'm doing it and then later makes me wish I had new people over more often because the house looks so nice. Let's start a match-up service or something where we can all go to each other's houses every once in a while to inspire cleaning. Or maybe that's just me? At one point -- and I fully own how insane this makes me sound -- I lint-rollered the fabric food from the play kitchen to remove stray dog hair. I cleaned so hard that it made Indy nervous. I even finally hung up the framed print that's been propped up on our fireplace mantel since we moved into this house almost four years ago.
Anyway, the playdate. Nico was really good through story time this morning, I told him we were going home to play with his friends afterward and he seemed happy, and then as soon as they actually arrived he proceeded to have the meltdown to end all meltdowns. He was wailing and flailing and at one point throwing toys onto the floor and even though the other moms were either not judging me or good at hiding it, I started to feel bad. Especially since the more shy of the girls was sitting on the loveseat beside her mother, staring at my heathen child in the throes of his tantrum. I tried to figure out what he was upset about, but it seemed to be nothing in particular - probably a bit of overexcitement combined with his refusal to nap yesterday.
He asked to go for a walk and I told him we couldn't leave our friends behind to go out, but the other two said they'd be happy to walk if that's what he wanted. Maybe they were just hoping to get him to shut up, but it turned out to be nice (and it didn't rain until much later, after all). We walked the kids to the little playground down the block, where the girls ran around and tried the slides and Nico…continued to flip out for about half an hour. He stomped around, he screamed, he flapped his arms. And I just looked at him and shrugged. What can you do? At one point it became comically pitiful, when he decided he wanted to swing but still couldn't calm down and thus was crying and crying while I pushed him gently on the swing. What a mess we were.
He was finally able to gather up the tattered shreds of his lost shit and did well walking home, eating lunch, sharing his toys, and playing for another 45 minutes, so playdate SAVED. Having friends with kids Nico's age is awesome, too, because we are truly in this together. One of them said her daughter has told her "I don't have to do what you say" and "You're a bad dog, Mommy." and I shouldn't revel in another's difficulty, but thank God it's not just my kid. After our friends left, I put Nico down for a nap and took a shower. As he tends to do, he woke up fussy about an hour in and I took him to lay on the big bed with me so he'd sleep for a while longer. Eventually he wound up sprawled out on the bed beside me, his feet tucked up against my leg, and it was so sweet and peaceful. Two is shaping up to be a whirlwind, a roller coaster, an exercise in the absurd, but I think it's also going to be pretty great in between.
* I feel slightly weird using a Red Hot Chili Peppers song as the title of a post about my kid, since their old numbers tend to be barely- (or not-at-all) veiled raunchy sex songs. But it fits, so it's staying. (Licorice whip gonna whip your ass!)