human, being


Say, say oh playmate
March 22, 2009, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Parenting & Co-Parenting | Tags: , , ,

When I bought this townhouse in August 2004, I was looking for a place in the Cherry Creek School District (one of the best in the state) that had lots of kids living in the neighborhood. I grew up on a street with about 10 kids around my age, and that made for great entertainment and awesome adventures for most of my childhood, and I wanted Lauren to have the same thing. I was so excited that when I looked at this place, each time there were kids playing in the open space behind my unit, screaming in the community pool, riding bikes in the street.

But I swear they were planted by the Realtor, because as soon as we moved in, I didn’t see a kid for almost a year. Lauren was only 3 then, so it wasn’t so critical that she have neighborhood playmates. When she was 5, we started finding kids again. Turns out that kids only play outside when forced to, and they had been hiding inside watching TV and playing video games. She befriended three girls around her age. Not only where they decent kids, they also had diverse backgrounds–two were Jewish and one was black. I really appreciate that Lauren is rather colorblind, and doesn’t describe people in the categories I do. Rather, she’ll say, “You know my friend X, with the dark skin?” (or the yellow hair, or the freckles).

Unfortunately, there are quite a few renters in our complex, and one by one the girls moved away. Lauren cried each time she found out they had gone; none of them said goodbye, rather they just disappeared. Another girl moved in last year, and Lauren has become friends with her and her little sister, who is 5 to Lauren’s 7. However, they are Islamic, and at Arabic school during most of the time Lauren can play. She’s been sad for the past several months since the last girls moved away. I try to set up playdates with her friends from her dad’s neighborhood, but she seems not to want to have them here. I’m sure it has to do with them living in an upper-middle-class neighborhood where the condos start at $300k and the houses range from $500k to $1 million+. Our neighborhood is decidedly middle class, with lots of immigrants and people of color. Her dad’s neighborhood is lily white with specks of occasional color, usually little girls adopted from China.

Of course, she has Ryan to play with on the weekends when he’s here, but he’s almost 12 and really becoming moody. He only wants to do what he wants to do, which is play video games while she watches or play chess or some other two-person game with Steve. She feels sad and left out half the time she’s with me, I think. We do play together, do art projects, work on homework, but there’s a big difference between parenting during the week with all of the daily responsibilities and parenting on Sunday when we’re all together. She’s a part-time only child.

A few hours ago, I heard girl voices in the open space and saw a little blonde head bob on by. “Lauren, look! Girls!” I said. She ran to put on her shoes, and immediately slipped out the back gate to go meet them. Turns out it’s two girls, new to the neighborhood, who are 8 and 6. Perfect! “Are you just staying here, or do you live here?” I heard her ask. (Sometimes, kids come stay with relatives for a while then disappear.) She later told me that they live here, which means new “permanent” friends. “And she’s really nice!!!!!” (yes, she said it with that many exclamation points)

Right now, I can hear her out there laughing and screaming as the girls chase the family’s dog around and play together.  I have great hope that this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship for her, and that she has much excitement and adventure before her.

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3 Comments so far
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want to hear something pathetic? I ask that same question. I have had so many good friends leave that I literally ask people now, “Are you planning on staying in L.A. for a while?” it’s b/c I put my heart and soul into my friendships and it breaks my heart when they leave.

Comment by jessica

@ jessica–I would do the same thing. Friendships, especially as adults, are true investments. And while technology allows us to stay in touch, it’s not the same as being able to go to the theater or grab coffee or curl up on your friend’s couch with a glass of wine because you had a fight with your man.

Comment by humanbeingblog

[…] the new friend I wrote about yesterday, is also an only child. Her parents are divorced and she spends three weekends a month and every […]

Pingback by It’s a Miracle! « human, being




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