Here in Pasadena, we have lots of little neighborhood parks where moms, nannies, dads and kids gather to play and socialize. My favorite one is bright and open, has swings and playscapes, a baseball field, a soccer pitch, picnic areas, bathrooms and relatively few wandering nut bars. But the best thing about it is the people -- they're a peaceful, kidcentric, eccentric bunch and every day they light the place up with friendly chatter that I've heard so far in English, Spanish, German, Vietnamese (I think) and French.
Recently, as I was pushing the baby jogger up to the swings, a pony-tailed mom called out "Hey, is that Peapod?" Of course she used my baby's actual name, as I suspect she would not have initiated conversation with a fellow mom who was not Gwyneth Paltrow and yet had chosen to name her progeny 'Peapod.' I blinked at her while my mind raced -- did we once work together? Were we classmates? Were we locker partners in junior high?
Nope. She knew my daughter from seeing her in various places around town with our nanny. It was the smack upside the head that I needed to remember that in fact my baby girl just might be developing a life and friends of her own. Ah yes, it's not all about me and my big fat head.
So this woman, we'll call her Lynn, and I started chatting while we pushed our girls in the swings. Lynn's daughter, we'll call her Isabell, is just about a month older than Peapod and shares several of the same traits, which make them the ideal playmates. Now I've encountered this 'ideal playmate' before, but he/she almost invariably comes with a deeply flawed mom. This mom will prattle on and on about how you have to get on the wait lists for the best preschools while your baby is still just a twinkle in your eye. Or she'll live on the West Side, thereby making her geographically undesirable. Or she'll have a third eye. But Lynn is cool. I mean, cool, cool. She's low key, non-judgmental, a great conversationalist with a nice sense of humor, and she even does cool things like write and direct plays for a local theatre group!
Obviously I dig her. So at the end of our first chance meeting, I boldly requested -- and got! -- her digits. We issued our casual "see ya laters" and I jogged proudly home on cloud nine.
I waited a week to call her. I didn't want to seem desperate. She seemed genuinely happy to hear from me and even altered Isabell's nap schedule to meet me just 20 minutes later in the park. Once again, we had a great time. In an attempt to keep her interested, I mentioned that I was feeling a little overwhelmed about the prospect of researching preschools and so had purchased an e-book on the subject that was turning out to be pretty good. I asked her if she wanted me to get her email so I could send her the PDF, but then realized that neither of us had anything to write on or with. So she said she'd use her caller ID to look up my number and call me.
That was a week ago. So now I'm wondering if I did something wrong. Did my preschool guide offer come off as too pushy? I've been to the park twice since then and have lingered longer than usual each time, hoping that she might show up. But she hasn't. Maybe she's on vacation. Or maybe I'm her first stalker and she's just savoring the experience.