Written by Emily
I’m a terrible player. Not as in “play on playa” or a “playas gotta play” or “I’m not a playa I just crush a lot.” (Sorry.) Not playa, I mean player as in a person who uses her imagination to make toys spring to life. Something about play situations makes my mind turn to mush and my eyes glaze over. I can’t think of one thing a little spotted pony would say to a polar bear or what a dragon might say to Polly Pocket beyond, “Hi. What’s your name?” And that’s lame. We already know her name is Polly. But for some reason I’ll keep asking.
Yesterday, Chloe, Sylvie and my mom were playing with baby dolls. You’d think that would be my forte. I have three children. I’ve wiped plenty of bottoms. I can change a baby’s clothes in seconds flat. And yet I’m speechless in this situation, completely unable to make small talk about the plastic baby resting in my arms.
It’s just like a mom’s group, right? It’s a legitimate play-date. Except it isn’t. If I launched into play-date talk with my 4-year old and babbling baby girl, they’d be ruined. Because at play-dates, moms try to get their fill of adult conversation before nap times or school pick-ups call, and they’re forced to hop into their carriages and return to a house without grown-ups.
As I sat rigid and awkward with a toy baby in my arms, all the things I shouldn’t say played in my mind on repeat…
Breastfeeding Mishaps: No.
Breastfeeding is lovely, but more often than not, the wacky and weird comes up when moms chat. Like for example, oh, I don’t know, the chafing and blistering and cracking and bleeding or the culmination of all of those in the woman whose nipple fell right off like a blackened umbilical cord stump. As a result of that priceless nugget (me, with the puns), I still have a linen closet stocked with enough Lansinoh nipple cream to wax a Buick.
The six week postpartum check-up is over. Talk about it…but not with your daughters at a pretend play-date.
Birth Stories: No.
I feel like Chloe isn’t ready to hear about how you worked through the “ring of fire” or the extreme burning sensation when a baby’s head is pushed out of your lady parts. She’s definitely not ready to hear the obscenities that this girl you know screamed at her husband when he tried to caress her forehead. Or the story about your neighbor who labored for 26 hours. And there’s no reason to bring up the nurse who recommended nipple stimulation to get contractions going. That would be weird.
Body Changes: No.
Chloe’s already curious about the little extras moms have. Full disclosure about a woman’s post-baby, shape-shifting body isn’t necessary…unless I could spin it as a super power: Shape Shifting Mama! I like it. Now what would be the use for love handles? And vanishing breasts? Swollen feet? Leaky parts? Nevermind.
Husband Horrors: No.
I’m not into Prince Charming swooping in on his trusty stead to save the day and the girl, but talk at a mom’s group is enough to turn a lady off to men forever. From middle-of-the-night foibles to diaper changing nightmares to “So, what’d you do all day?”, if anyone took us seriously, men look less like Prince Eric and more like the oily film that floats on the top of the stinky bay. In the end, there are always stories that trump yours, so you go home grateful for the guy you’ve got. So that’s good, but Chloe’s not ready for all of that.
Birth Control: No.
Read the following in your best auctioneer’s voice: What about condoms? Anyone for condoms? Rubbers? Anyone? Going once, going twice. Sold to the tired mama in the corner. Next up IUDs. Mirena. We’ve got a Mirena here. Next up: NuvaRing. NuvaRing. NuvaRing. There, the mom in the middle wrestling with her toddler. Let’s get serious here, folks. Vasectomy. Snip. Snip. There we’ve got one and two, and three vasectomies to the lucky ladies. In no way it this appropriate conversation for a child to have with her mother.
So there you have it. I’ve got nothing. The stand-by play-date convo, the one we have when the big kids are occupied and the littles are nodding off, is off limits, so I’m left with: “Hi, baby. What’s your name?” Gah.