I was sitting with my hands curled around a warm mug when my mother handed me a folded piece of paper from the creche. I unfolded it, taking a long sip of my tea, scanning the words. “On Friday 15th December we will be having our Senior Montessori Christmas Concert… We would love to see as many mums and dads….“
“And so it begins,” I grumbled to myself.
“What?” asked my mum.
“Nothing,” I replied, folding the piece of paper back up and tossing it in the vague direction of my to-do pile.
“Oh, hello!” the lady called out to me, rolling down the window of her sleek car as she paused in the process of pulling out of the creche drive way. “I wanted to talk to you about exchanging phone numbers. I would like to arrange a playdate with your son.”
My fogged up, groggy brain struggled to catch up. Playdate? Phone number?
“Uh… of course,” I flailed around verbally. “You’re ….” I racked my memory trying to place her face with a child and that child’s face with a name. I knew I knew her, but the particulars were eluding me in my pre-caffeinated state. She took pity on me. “Yes, I’m M’s mum.”
“Of course….” I replied dumbly. Stellar performance so far. I shook my head and looked down at Hawkeye, rearranging my face into what I hoped was some approximation of a smile and not a grimace. Mornings are not my friends.
“Hey, honey. Would you like to go on a playdate with M?”
Hawkeye was mad at me because of the absence of certain biscuits this morning. He wasn’t going to let me off easy.
“No.” He stated flatly, looking away. I looked up apologetically. The much-more-poised mother in the car was smiling sympathetically. At least we both know the whims and furies of our outrageous toddlers. “I’m sorry, he’s a bit grumpy with me this morning… I should get him upstairs.”
“Of course. I’ll leave my number on Hawkeye’s hook later and we can get in touch.”
“Yes, that’s a great idea.” I concluded lamely as she smiled at me one more time before rolling up the window and pulling out of the driveway.
And so it begins I thought to myself. Creche play dates.
This morning’s biscuit spat was forgotten as Hawkeye bustled around the Christmas tree, hanging up the shatterproof baubles excitedly. He has very fixed notions of where certain things go so I told the Mister I take no responsibility for the lopsided decoration placement this year.
In return I got a small sheet of paper thrust into my hands, printed in colour with silver cursive writing in the middle. You are cordially invited to…. birthday party… RSVP by….
“It begins,” The Mister grumbled. “Birthday parties.” The little tendril of anxiety uncurled as I looked at the details. I’m not ready for this!!! What presents do I buy? How much do I spend? What’s the protocol for these things? The Mister went on heedless of my inner panic. “That’s three names at the top, so is that, like, three birthday parties in one?”
“I don’t know,” I replied absentmindedly while shooting off a couple of texts.
My pragmatic Boss #2 with two older girls and a kickass record of birthday party planning shoots back a response in a minute. “Ah yes, you will never have a free weekend ever again.”
A minute later another friend comes back in a similar vein. “Bye bye weekends.“
It begins, indeed. The Threenage Years and Upwards. May God have mercy on us parents.