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Jul 31 2012

A Little Girl Broke My Daughter’s Heart & I’m Mad

By at 11:43 am

sarah tuttle-singer little girl dancingSo, I wanted to cut a bitch today.

Which isn’t really anything new, except for one thing: This “bitch” was 3 1/2 years old.

(Watch the storm clouds roll in, people. It’s about to get real.)

It was the end of the year party in my daughter’s preschool–(Cue Sunrise Sunset and throw in a side of falafel and you get the idea.) And it’s kind of a big deal. My daughter has had quite a year. And while she’s weathered a shitstorm with a stalwart valor that humbles and inspires me, she is a sensitive child who survived some serious upheaval. And sometimes it shows.   Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 23 2012

Parent Dating: How to Pick Up New Friends

By at 2:45 pm
playground empty

The scene.

They tell you about the exhaustion, the hours of feeding, the diapers, and the cuddles. They don’t tell you about the revolving door your social life is about to become.

Parent Dating Phase #1: The Pregnancy Pick-Up

In the last month of my pregnancy with my son, I met three other women who were also eight months pregnant and lived in the same neighborhood. They were my early foothold into parent friendships. We cheered each other on when the boys (yes, all boys) were born, immediately started comparing notes on problems the kids were having, and had a few “playdates,” whatever that meant in the first year of their lives. One of them introduced me to a listserv of moms having children in the same month. October is a busy birthday party month for us now. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 14 2012

The Man Date

By at 6:30 pm

two men drinking beer cartoonEarly in life, I think it’s easier for men to make friends than it is for women:

Kindergarten: I like soccer. Me too. Let’s be friends.

Middle School: I like girls. Me too. Let’s be friends.

High School: I can burp the periodic table. Me too. Let’s be friends.

College: I like beer. Me too. Let’s be friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 18 2011

Keeping Up With Your Commitments

By at 10:14 am

We waited, and waited, and waited.

Sandwiched between returning from three months in Europe and moving to Austin, TX, we planned a four-day pit stop in New York to pick up some wayward items we left behind, see a few friends, and say farewell to my old dogs who have found a new home. My best friend’s son’s bar mitzvah in West Hartford, CT, landed right in the middle of our visit, and there was no question we would make the trip regardless of how inconvenient it would be or how jetlagged we were. My friend and I have shared in each other’s simchas (celebrations) whenever we could, and this was a big one. She was there when my son was born and she came in for our good-bye party, but more importantly, I knew how important this simcha was to her. Just like I felt that Aiven’s first birthday was a milestone for me, I knew that this bar mitzvah was a milestone for her, a celebration of all her hard work raising her son from infancy to manhood.

From Europe, we bought Megabus tickets and got a great deal. Our roundtrip tickets cost $14, about as much as the cab ride from the Upper West Side to the bus stop. We arrived at the bus stop a little early and stood in line. Aiven was asleep and the weather was pleasant, and we felt that the universe was smiling upon us. We were wrong. Aiven woke up and we kept waiting and waiting for the bus to arrive. Alex went to ask why it was delayed, and it was plain to see that the dispatcher was not getting any answers and was as frustrated as the rest of us. In hindsight I don’t know why we waited as long as we did before we sprang into action — was it our unreasonable optimism, the resignation of our fellow passengers, or the good weather that made it too comfortable to just keep waiting? Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 6 2011

Stranger in a Strange Kibbutz

By at 11:56 am

So, this is the post that might get me in trouble.

You know, as opposed to writing about my irabbit (and the rabbi,) my cross dressing son, and my boobies (again).

I’ve been in Israel for ten months, 23 days, and 15 hours.   Long enough to put down a few fragile roots.  Long enough to start feeling like maybe I can kind of sort of grow here.

But not really.

Because every day, I am reminded that I am different – in subtle ways that eat at me, I understand through words and gestures that the people here still see me as strange.

(Now, maybe some of that is my fault.  Maybe I am strange.  Maybe I’m too open, too chaotic.  Too eager to make friends.   Too Other. Maybe it’s the stripper stilettos. )

I’ve heard many things about myself through others:

“She’s too friendly.”

“She’s a snob.”

“She’s different.”

(Most days, I feel like the new girl in the cafeteria with no one to sit with.  I have braces and bad skin and a “KICK ME” sign stapled to my back. Only in Hebrew.) Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 17 2011

Being A Parent Means Being Nicer

By at 12:07 pm

I think kid-chasing is part of what makes parents nicer. Strange, I know.

I like to think I have nice friends. But lately I’ve noticed that people I knew before they had kids are different as parents. They’re nicer. And a lot more tired.

During a recent visit to my hometown, I got to see eight college friends in this new light. At a pool party, I drew some interesting contrasts between our past and current lives.

Then: The guys thought chasing was drinking something after taking a shot.
Now: They tried to hold conversations while running after their toddlers.

Then: The girls monitored every morsel that went into their mouths.
Now: They compared how much nutrition their kids were getting from dinners of Cheez-Its and organic chocolate milk.
Also Now: The moms were happy just to have a chance to eat. If what they ate was also healthy, well then bonus.

Then: Everyone recounted how much they drank the night before.
Now: Everyone recounted how many times their kids asked for a drink before finally going to bed.

Then: Going out before 11 p.m. was nerdy and getting up before 11 a.m. was insane.
Now: Going out at all is insane and getting up after 8 a.m. is a blessing.

As for being nicer, I have theories. First, I think the new need to look out for someone other than yourself extends beyond the baby; it makes you more aware of others in general. Plus, you’re more interested than ever in what other adults are doing. You’re a lot quicker to remember that someone had a big presentation due at work or is returning from vacation because you want to live vicariously through your pals.

You’re also much quicker to ask for help or advice, and it’s always great to feel needed. Not only does having a friend ask you how you kicked your kid’s gas problem enable you to use multisyllabic words, it makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, you know what you’re doing.

Finally, parenthood is another common denominator. If silence settles in, you can always talk poop.

May 25 2011

Mom Cards: The Next Stage in Making Friends

By at 11:23 am

Remember when making a new friend was as easy as stealing a sand toy?

Has this happened to you?

Last week I met a new mom friend. She was new to the neighborhood and her daughter was a few months younger than mine. We chatted about summer vacations with extended families on the beach, kiddie activities in our neighborhood, and why our children seemed determined to eat sand in the sandbox (disgusting, but that’s another blog post for another time).

But then her daughter got a little bit cranky and it was time to go home for nap. And we said goodbye, they left the playground, and I realized I had no way to ever find her again, besides the chance that we’d see each other another day at another playground. (And in Park Slope Brooklyn that is harder than it might seem.)

Enter this brilliant idea: mom cards. I first learned about them from our friend and blogger JulieSue Goldwasser, and since have done an extensive Google search. This is an INDUSTRY, people. And it turns out mommy cards aren’t just for mommies.

They’re for Grandmas:

They’re for dog owners:

And they’re for kids with allergies (this one is actually BRILLIANT. Hand it to every person your child meets and they’ll think twice about eating peanuts near him!)

If only I had a mommy card when I met my new friend. I think her name was Sarah. And her daughter’s name was Bea. Anyone know that mom? Ooh, now I have an even better idea: a Craig’s List-style missed connections section specifically for moms at the playground. Who’s with me?

Jan 24 2011

My Very Own Ladette

By at 9:55 am

I was on with Ronia for New Year’s Eve, which fell on Shabbat this year. We had a lovely dinner with friends and Ronia’s mother, but after Ronia was in bed I felt my loneliness of separation in a way I usually don’t. I decided to call people (I use the phone for friends and family on Shabbat) who I haven’t spoken to in a while.

The only person I could get a hold of  was an old housemate of mine on West Coast time, who had not yet gone out. The big news: She is getting married! And planning to have kids! She thanked me for not laughing.

I didn’t laugh, but I did get wistful. This is my friend I affectionately call “the Ladette,” who did quite a bit of dating in her time. One of her first acts of casting off her adolescent shyness was to give me her number when we met on a bus. About to leave on a trip for Israel, I never called her, and forgot all about it when we became housemates.

We later became great platonic friends, scandalizing the Thai restaurants of Seattle with our loud gossip. My own gossip was mostly theoretical at that point, as I was engaged, but I enjoyed her more eventful life.

And then I got married, and moved out of the house. She started dating the guy who took my room, causing some scandal. They lasted (though never got married themselves or planned to have children) until this year, when my marriage ended, so did their relationship. My friend stunned, her partner, so mild-mannered, was in love with someone else.

Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 18 2010

Girls Gone Wild off the Kibutz

By at 7:51 am

Sometimes a girl just needs a drink. And a friend.

It started with a Facebook status message I typed while listening to Little Homie go all Ike Turner on the toy xylophone:

“Mama needs a drink. Off the Kibbutz. Away from the kids.”

Several friends wrote back–problem was, almost all of them were in LA. And “I would if I could,” and “I hope you get your drink” only gets you so far. But not off the kibbutz. Or drunk.

But finally, a hit.

“I’ll come drinking with you.”

I had met N. a few days before at the Hadar Ochel–-the ubiquitous Kibbutz dining room–one Shabbat evening where we came for the tepid meat sauce, and stayed for the camaraderie.  While the kids played outside amidst the shadows, the parents talked.

On a kibbutz, everyone knows everyone. It’s like shtetl living, only with falafel and hummus and (oh thank God!) cell phones and the internet.  And since I’m new here, I’ve attracted a fair amount of curiosity: Fortunately, for the most  part, people have been incredibly welcoming.

I liked N. immediately. She’s funny and warm, and her son and my daughter are in the same preschool class. And she speaks phenomenal English, which means I don’t have to stumble and fall on my ass in Hebrew.   

So, after our initial conversation in front of the Hadar Ochel, I had stalked her and then added her on Facebook.

After she replied to my status message’s desperate plea, I wrote her back and we arranged a “Girls Night Out” for Tuesday evening.

For the next two days I glowed.

When Tuesday evening rolled along, I was first-date nervous. I grunted my way into my skinny jeans. I shimmied into a clean black tank top and gravity defying bra. I pulled on my knee-high hooker boots. (Remember, you can take the girl out of LA, but…) I applied on eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss. I put on deodorant. I brushed my teeth. I pulled my hair back into a half ponytail. I checked Facebook to make sure she hadn’t canceled. I went back to the bathroom and took my hair down. I went back to Facebook. I went back to the bathroom. I busted out the curling iron.  I checked my cellphone.

“Do you have any gum?” I asked B.  as I spritzed myself with my favorite perfume,  L de Lolita Lempicka.

“Is there something you want to tell me?” He replied.

N. picked me up at exactly 9:01. We drove to a popular restaurant/bar 15 minutes away.

“Let’s go sit at the bar. Maybe someone will hit on us.”  She joked.

(Imas Gone Wild! Woohoo!)

We bellied up to the bar, and I felt for the first time a sense of belonging:  I was out in an actual city at an actual bar in my high-heeled hooker boots with someone I liked. Yay!

Dressed up and ready for my drink with a new friend, I felt happy and confident, and almost Israeli.  But then before I even opened my mouth, the bartender handed me a menu in English. Boo.

But English menu or not, my sense of belonging didn’t fade because I had found a friend: For the next two hours, we bonded over challenging pregnancies and labor and delivery horror stories. We commiserated. We laughed.

And most importantly, we made plans to go out again.

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