Friday, June 20, 2008

Socializing and its Benefits

My spouse, after our baby's play-dates left, made a comment that I managed to collect an intellectually stimulating and sociable group of friends for our baby. I stopped for a moment to think. Yes, the parents and the kids were great but it wasn't me that picked them out. I am good at keeping friends but not making friends. (I can be a bit intense.) It was our 1 year old who was going out of her way to smile, hug and vocalize at these children who happen to have cool parents. Then I would pop the question, "Would you want to get the kids together to play?"

This process really has me thinking. It has created a lot of questions and thoughts in general flying through my head. Why was baby attracted to certain kids and not others? Why was it that when baby was making friends with these kids it happened to be that the parents were also the type of people we would want to invite over again and again? Were we finding all these families in the same spot?

Location?...that might be it. We met one boy at the cafe, one near the ice creme shop court yard, and a little girl at... I think while walking by each other.

Speaking of meeting people ! Our baby went up to a little girl with pig tails that was sitting on her mom's lap in the grass. My baby thought it would be great to hold on to the little girl's pig my dismay...she can be rough. And then I realize this mom look familiar (and really cool). I had to remove baby's hand from her daughter's pig tail a few times. After the third time, I though to myself, I must live under a rock! It was Ani Difranco. She was so understanding, and down to earth.

(Back to the post) I think location is the key to finding playmates that are a good match. We happen to live in the Elmwood Village in Buffalo, NY. It is relatively diverse (compared to the rest of Western NY). The community has a variety of incomes and jobs. There are artists, college students, museum junkies, skateboard enthusiast, CEOs, investment bankers, bakers, shop keepers, theater goers, engineers, architects...etc. It really does seem too great at times. It is even family friendly but at the same time has a healthy night life. The community is supportive and creative. There are 14,000 of us jammed into a small area on the west side of the city.

The next thought in my head is that a diverse-vibrant community begets great people which produce well balanced playmates.

I don't know if I should smile and be grateful or be worried at the thought of my baby needing a Rolodex to help keep track of all her playmates. It is all good.

In summary I realized that these people in my community will have a major influence on my kid! These are the kids she will go to school with , talk with, and maybe date. When she is a teen she will be more receptive to other teens then me. I just paused. I am really, really grateful for living in such an environmentally and socially counscious neighborhood.

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