Making New Friends

The Scene:
It's raining. It's been raining for days. It's a Sunday.* The Toddler and I have escaped to the local Cafe-with-indoor-play-yard, arriving about an hour after it opened. Of course, it was packed with caffeine-infused parents with hyperactive toddlers spreading their germs in ways that would make the Centre for Disease Control curl up into the fetal position, rocking and humming to themselves.
The Toddler and I stand outside the swinging miniature gate and assess our options. The kiddie kitchen set is in a horrific state of disarray (not unlike the kitchen at home when I left it 20 minutes earlier), and the  Thomas the Tank Engine table appears to be overpopulated, so we elect to read a story about Clifford (you know, the Big Red Dog). A few parents have joined their children in the play area, coffees in hand. A spot opens up at the train table so we rush over and I park myself on a small plastic chair while the Toddler gets acquainted with various engines and cars he doesn't have at home. We meet a pleasant little girl who looks to be about five, and who seems to be more interested in putting the trains to bed in the doll house across the way than actually playing with the trains on the train table. But hey, it's all good.  The young girl has a brother of about 2, whose demenor smacks of a bull in a china shop. He quickly becomes the kid to avoid.
We continue to play with the trains on the table, and trade a few back and forth so other trains can enjoy the doll house amenities, and discussing the various types of cars (some containing coal, some containing animals, some just empty) when I hear her trundle over to her mom who (behind my back) has probably been trying to calm down her little brother making imaginary tea in the post-holocaust kiddie kitchen. The following exchange occurs:
Mother: What are you doing over there?
Young girl: "Mommy, I'm playing with the trains."
Mother: [inquisitive inaudible statement]
Young Girl: "Yes. With a.... friend"
(at this point, I smile to myself. My boy's making friends!)
The young girl comes back, mom trailing by the hand. She points (you saw this coming) to none other than me, casually sitting on a miniature chair, coffee in hand. Downplaying the formal introduction, I look up, and meekly say, "hi", trying to allay any fears that I had just been chatting up her five year old daughter. The "hi" is returned with unmistakeably confused eyes. She of course was not expecting that her daughter was making friends with the dads in the play-yard. 
I sank back into my coffee (which was delicious, by the way) as the Mom returned to wherever she was sitting previously, and for the rest of the event I either remained quiet, or spoke only to The Toddler who probably just wanted to be left alone with his trains.
I ask you: Who gets themselves into more strange situations than parents?
In retrospect, I should have used the introduction opportunity to inquire as to where the Mom picked up the kiddie-sized Crocs for her children. Très cute.
And speaking of coffee... I have exciting news to share, but it'll have to wait until I get the pictures from the camera organized.
*Where we live, there is NO Sunday shopping. i.e. Malls are not open. Grocery stores are not open. If you can't get it at a gas station or drug store, you have to wait until Monday. Entertaining small children is challenging when you don't have the retail sector as back-up. Don't get me into why there's no Sunday shopping. Just ... don't.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:39 AM  

2 stepped up to the mike:

Jessica said... 2:22 PM, June 12, 2006  

Parents do get themselves into strange situations....and you probably know my friend, Sarahlynn, who recently bought her two year old some crocs after she accidentally slammed her fingers in the trunk....they are adorable.

Big Daddy said... 10:57 PM, June 12, 2006  

Colorado here in the States, has 'Blue Laws' as well, that prevent some businesses from operating on Sundays.

Luckily, people are working to fight them now.

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