When I get a form that asks me to check a box for my preferred salutation, I always check “Ms.” I am just not a “Mrs.” But now I have a dilemma. Connor has a friend from preschool (and thank you, by the way, for the advice on helping him make friends) whose parents feel quite strongly that their son should call his friends’ parents Mr. and Mrs.
We had their family over for dinner one night recently, and I did a double-take when this little guy called me Mrs. Farr. I almost said, “Oh no, please call me 'Robin,'” but then wondered if maybe he was just following his parents’ directions.
And sure enough. I suggested to my husband that we find some way to bring up the subject (to see if it’s something they prefer or if they’re just asking him to call us that in case it’s something we prefer) and he said the mom had mentioned it. Apparently they want their son to treat other adults with respect and, for them, calling them by Mr. or Mrs. is part of that.
I understand that. I really do. But, ugh. I’m just not a Mrs. (Seriously, look at that picture. Is that a Mrs.?!) I feel really awkward being called that.
“You could suggest he calls you Ms. Farr,” my husband offered.
But that's not really any less awkward (perhaps more so, in fact) and, besides, that’s not really my concern with the title.
I want to have a respectful but casual relationship with my kids’ friends. I want to be the mom whose house they come to and feel comfortable sitting down at the table and talking to me like a person and not just their friend’s mom. I suppose “Mrs. Farr” could be that person, too, but it feels to me like a level of formality that changes the dynamic of our relationship.
Up until now, Connor has always called our friends (and his friends’ parents) by their first names. In fact, he calls many of our good friends (whose kids are his good friends) Auntie or Uncle, which feels right to me because they’re like family.
Not all his friends’ parents are going to have that relationship with our family, of course. And if other parents want our kids to call them Mr. or Mrs. I have absolutely no problem with that. But I think it’s going to take Connor some getting used to.
We always referred to his preschool friend’s mom as “Jennifer,” but have now asked Connor to call her Mrs. [Last name].
“But I don’t know Mrs. G,” he said, clearly not understanding to whom we were referring.
“Sure you do,” countered my husband. “She’s O’s mom.”
“Oh! You mean Mrs. Jennifer G,” he said, and has proceeded to call her that ever since. I’m not really sure that’s the “Mrs.” she’s looking for, but hopefully she’ll forgive him a little transition time.
In the meantime, I guess I’m going to have to get used to being a Mrs.
Am I the only one who doesn’t want to be a Mrs.? What do your kids call your friends or their friends’ parents?
We had a play date with some new friends last week. Except Connor, who’s four, didn’t play so much as hide in the bushes.
I suppose I’m not really surprised he’s shy about making new friends. Right after he was born I got connected to a moms’ group thanks to a prenatal yoga class I had taken while pregnant. There were eight moms and their babies, all born within a month or two of each other, and we got together every week. A few of us saw each other several times a week, thanks to our regular play dates, a couple of baby groups we attended, and training—babes in strollers—for a 10K.
Those kids became Connor’s best friends. He has known them almost literally since he was born. He didn’t have to make friends with them because they were always just there. But of course when we moved to Calgary about a year and a half ago we left those friends behind. It was one of the very hardest parts about leaving—not just because I was leaving some incredible friends but because we moved him away from his friends as well. We've visited a few times since moving, and one of his friends came out to see us. You can see in the picture above how much fun they had.
We’ve had a few play dates here, but the poor kid doesn’t love making new friends. At first he said every kid he met was “mean.” They weren’t, but that was his way of expressing his discomfort. He’s a little better now, especially when there are a few kids to play with, but the one-on-one play dates are usually not terribly successful.
Like this one: A few months ago a mom I met, who has a son just a little younger than Connor, invited us over to play. I was so excited to give him the chance to make another friend that I was totally unprepared for what happened when we got there. Connor hid behind me and wouldn’t come out. He wouldn’t talk and certainly wasn’t about to play. He eventually came around a bit, but I admit that it was frustrating for me and a little embarrassing too.
He has since made friends with some of the kids at his preschool and he’s done really well in some activities at the YMCA (after initially having to be dragged there kicking and screaming). So when we planned last week’s play date I was sure we were going to have a hit.
It had all the ingredients for success — it was with a mom I like who I’d like to get to know better. Her son is the same age as Connor, and he’s into LEGO as well. They had just made a new LEGO table so I figured Connor would be totally fine playing with someone new.
Except then the weather turned nice and we decided to meet at a park instead. I should have known this would backfire, but I didn’t anticipate quite how badly. I had prepped Connor for the change in plans and he seemed fine with it. Until we got to the park.
He wouldn’t say hi and he didn’t want to play on the playground. He just took the ball he’d brought to play with and hid behind some trees (where, I might add, he promptly found the world’s biggest mud puddle and sat in it). When I coerced him to come out he grunted instead of talking and then started asking to go to their house so they could play LEGO.
“No, we can’t go to their house today,” I said.
“Why don’t we invite G over to our house one day and you can show him your LEGO?” I suggested.
“Connor, please stop crying and talk to me,” I implored.
He didn’t, and we eventually gave up and went home. He wailed the whole way and I have begun to seriously question whether we’ll ever have another play date.
Moms, help me. How do you help a four-year-old make friends?
One day not long ago my husband and I spent the day babysitting my brother and sister-in-law’s twins. They were six months old at the time, and we had our four-year-old and our (then) three-month-old with us. They’re all boys. You can imagine how quickly it became a circus.
My first thought when my brother announced they were having twins was, “Better you than me!” (Actually, that was my second thought. My first included a four-letter word that I probably shouldn’t repeat.) They were overwhelmed at the thought, of course, but we pointed out—and they agreed—that since they’d never had just one baby they wouldn’t know any different.
Me? I know different.
At six months, my twin nephews were past some of the really challenging stuff from when they were newborns, thank goodness. But one thing I now know for sure: You need more than two hands when taking care of two babies.
Around 11 a.m. the boys were due to have bottles. By that point my husband had run out to take our older son to school so I was on my own. He did take our little guy with him, though, figuring both that it would be easier for me and that Ethan might sleep in the car. (We’re smart like that.) But it was still two to one, so I adopted a zone defence strategy.
I made sure both boys were happily playing and then ducked into the kitchen to heat up the bottles. Once they were ready I followed my sister-in-law’s instructions for easy feeding and put them both into their bouncy chairs. I rolled up two towels lengthwise and put one across each baby. With a bottle balanced on each towel, angled in just such a way as to be perfectly placed for consumption, it was game on.
One drank. The other chugged. Then the first one dropped his bottle and when I picked it up the other got curious and turned to watch. Then there were two bottles on the floor. I picked both up and placed them back in mouths. The second one decided I was terribly interesting and wasn’t really paying attention to the bottle. Cue milk all down the front. The mellow baby had been drinking quite nicely at that point, and then he lost his bottle again. Cue milk all down the front.
With a receiving blanket in hand, I made a pass at each chin and wiped up the milk. Then I replaced both bottles again. Then it was a back-and-forth dance to keep the right bottle in the right mouth while two babies kicked and wiggled, flapped and flirted. (Apparently I’m so entertaining milk becomes more of an annoyance and less of a life-giving substance.)
Then they both pooped.
It was a good thing there was no one there to witness my attempts to feed these children, because I’m sure I looked like a clown doing it.
I will admit, however, that it was a relatively easy way to feed two babies at once. And knowing my sister-in-law, she’s probably much more ringmaster than clown when it comes to this stuff. But I least I put on a good show.