So then…I plop on the hotel bed, moving my files over so I can chat with my 9-year-old daughter Chloe back home.
Me: I’m so happy I’m almost done with my business trip! How was your day, honey?
Chloe: Great! After school, I went for a playdate at Maggie’s house!
I furrow my brow. That can’t be right.
Me: You mean Layla’s house?
Chloe: No, Maggie’s house.
Me: You mean Ashley’s house?
Chloe: No, MAGGIE’S house!
Me: You don’t mean the Maggie whose mom just had a BABY?
Chloe: Yes! Today was the first day they brought the baby home and I got to meet her!
Me: You had a playdate at Maggie’s house the SAME DAY HER MOM BROUGHT HOME HER BRAND NEW BABY?
Chloe: Yes! It was great! The baby’s so cute! I got to stay for dinner!
She prattles on and on about the baby –
and of course I make all the appropriate responses to share in her glee.
But the whole time I’m thinking: What the HELL?
When we finish, she puts her dad on the phone.
“Um…did you know you accidentally let Chloe have a playdate at Maggie’s house the same day her mom brought home the new baby?” I ask, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“Oh, that was no accident,” he says proudly. “Chloe asked if she could go see Maggie’s new sister, so I dropped her right off!”
“Did Maggie’s parents know about it first?” I ask.
“I dunno,” he says.
“David! Don’t you think the last thing a sleep-deprived, just-endured-childbirth mom wants to see at her house on her first day home is someone else’s kid?”
“Oh come on,” he says. “It’s her 4th baby. She probably didn’t even notice our kid was there.”
Oh my God.
David’s a terrific dad, but sometimes I wonder if he understands basic social graces.
When someone has a new baby, you drop off a casserole.
Or a gift.
NOT your kid.
And CERTAINLY not for dinner!
To be fair, David’s the type who wouldn’t mind at all if the roles were reversed. If HE popped out a baby, he’d probably invite the whole neighborhood over as soon as we pulled in the driveway so he could proudly display his creation: “Tap a keg, grill some burgers, look what I just pushed out of my hoo-ha!” (or he-ha, as the case may be)
He was raised in a free-range neighborhood where kids constantly meandered in and out of each other’s homes, mooching meals whenever they were hungry, and everyone was cool with it.
I was taught that you don’t even call someone’s house before 10 am or after 8 pm – and never during dinner time – MUCH LESS just SHOW UP at their house!
Consequently David’s fine with anyone coming over anytime no matter what’s happening at our house. It’s practically like this:
“We’re having construction done at the house today – but come on over!”
“Sure, the kids all have the flu — but that’s ok — pop on by!”
“Don’t mind the termite fumigation tent – we’ll just barbecue in the backyard!”
OK, maybe not quite that extreme, but you get the picture.
And as moms go, Maggie’s mom is very chill.
When my kids take a tumble and bleed – I rush to console them, disinfect the entire limb, bandage it carefully, and mollycoddle the child endlessly, while surreptitiously checking WebMD on my phone to insure no signs of sepsis.
When her kids report scrapes and cuts, Maggie’s mom just says, “You know where the band-aids are.”
And damn, if her kids aren’t much more resilient and independent than mine!
(I’ll be bandaging my kids’ paper cuts when they’re 45 and still living in my basement.)
Maybe it’s the large quantity of kids that makes these moms so chill?
As soon as I return to town, I drop off a beautiful gift, coo over the darling new baby, and make apologies for the awkward timing of the surprise playdate.
Maggie’s mom just smiles and shrugs – no big deal. The new baby in her arms starts to fuss, so she shoots her a look, like “Hey, you know where the boobies are.”
— Darcy Perdu
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(Who’s more observant of social graces – you or your spouse? Any funny examples? Am I crazy to think HE’S crazy for letting her have a playdate on Bring-Home-the-Baby Day?)