Friday, November 07, 2008

What's with Play Dates Anyways?

I never really understood what play dates were all about for babies. I mean, babies don't really play with one another right?

On Wednesday I had my first “play date”. This is strange for me to say after all, my eldest child is 3 years old. I never really understood what the big deal was over moms and play dates, here's why:

- I work during the week, play dates tend to be during the day on week-days for those non-working moms.

-Then there was that old problem of Kaitlyn never being allowed to be around other children for the first full year of her life, as well as for the first 2 winters. I went one time to a moms group, and a mom brought her sick toddler (this wasn’t a group for babies, it was all ages), and lo-and-behold Kaitlyn got her first cold a few days afterwards (she was about 10 months old (6 or so months adjusted). I was angry that a mom would bring her sick child around other children. And of course for me, it was even more of an issue as Kaitlyn was at high risk for lung issues. I had to go through round the clock breathing treatments as well as Kaitlyn needed oral steroids.

So, with Kaitlyn being at risk for RSV and with her feeding tube and vomiting issues I never left the house with her.

-All that aside, it was too hard for me to be around other children and moms that seem to have it so easy from my standpoint. I know, I’m a horrible person for thinking that but it was true. None of these moms could understand what I was going through, it was so hard. I felt very isolated.

-I also never really “got” the fact that babies aren’t really playing with each other when they are so young, they basically just sit around - so why in the world would you have a “play date”? It seemed sort of silly to me.

Well, fast forward to a few days ago when I went on my first play date. This was on official “play date” organized by one of the moms groups I belong to, about 4 or 5 moms with babies the close to the same age as Quinn. I know one of the moms personally (she was a real estate client of mine that became a friend) and she told me that another group member had recently lost a twin. I really wanted to meet the other mom (I know how hard it was to deal with this loss and wanted to be there to support her).

The morning was tough as always, pumping, feeding Quinn, giving Kaitlyn her medicine, taking Kaitlyn to school in the morning, etc. you know the drill. My nanny came and she was at home alone for a bit before she went to pick up Kaitlyn from school (that’s part of my dilemma, how can I do play dates when I have a full-time nanny, as I DO work full-time?)

Anyways, to make a long-story short. It was fun! I think I get it now. All of our babies had just started smiling and starting to have head control. They noticed each other. We swapped breast feeding/breast pumping stories. We talked about our lack of sleep. We commented how cute each others babies were. We bonded, as we really were going through the same things at the same time. I could relate. Finally, I could relate with being just a plain old mom.

I was able to talk to the mom who recently lost a twin after going through many prior heart-breaking attempts at trying to have children. My heart just broke for her. I understood her pain. Her twins were born at 34 weeks (wow, like Quinn) and one of them got Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and passed away from an infection. Made my soul gasp. Made me realize that even 34 weeks (like Quinn) is early and anything could have happened. I feel so lucky this time around. We spent some time talking and I think she enjoyed having a mom to talk to who got all the emotions that are passing through her. She said she didn’t realize how risky carrying twins is. I too totally understand that.

AND for me, I said to myself, “ok, this is what motherhood should be like.” Easily pack up the infant, with a bottle of milk and a burp cloth and go visit with other moms. No vomit (of course some spit-up but geesh, it’s just spit-up!) I’d love to do it again. I have to try to figure out my schedule to allow some fun “mom and baby time.” I never got to experience this before.

I’m a mom of a regular baby, a little bit early, but basically a regular baby. And you know what?? It feels great!


Jodi said...

I've always felt like a bad mother because Olivia and I have never been to a play-date either. Because our insurance denied another winter of Synagis shots (which is absurd! I thought all micro-preemies were guaranteed until the age of 2) we won't be going to any play-dates any time soon. I'm so glad that you are able to feel like a normal mom. That is wonderful!!

Shannon and Carey said...

Hi Liz!
What a great post. I still sometimes think that play dates are weird. But I went on one Friday and the kids loved it. As did I. And yes, even though Quinn is brand new, don't you think its fun for him to look at other babies and get their little minds thinking. I love that you had a good time. Keep it up!
-Shannon in Austin

Laura said...

scoot over so i can join you on the mommies who dont get playdates bench. i never did.
when my girls were babies i sometimes would share with friends who had babies the same age so we could have a break for say and hour or two.
i have to say that although daniel's sisters were all "normal" babies, i quickly forgot what it was like to have a "normal" baby in the who cries LOUDLY and eats by mouth with vigor. every once in a while when i am caring for my daughter's baby i catch myself wondering why she is so different than my little boy was as a baby then i remember that this is what it is like . this is what it was like when my girls were babies. this is what day to day life is like with a "normal" baby. i gireve just a little and then move on because i have to because hazel is a pretty busy girl. i don't think anyone can really get this unless they have walked the walk we preemie moms have.
ps i love the pics of the kids! they both look so great.

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