Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dunkin Donut Trenches

There are eight kids in my daughters' pre-K class. Of those eight children, 6 of us have younger children that are ages 2 and 3 years old. Every week, our older children go to school five days a week for two and a half hours a day. There are glorious days when some of the kids may go for an extended hour for lunch bunch, or science club or the younger child may have an activity or school one or two days a week that allows the mom to have a genuine break.

At least once a week we get together, all of the younger kids and the moms. It may be at the library or  a kids' gym. But frequently it is at Dunkin Donuts. Because what is better than 6 kids hopped up on sugar running laps around Dunkin Donuts, banging on the ice cream refrigerator and dancing (on the floor)?

Some of these women I have known for three years, some for two, and some for less than a year. But we are in the trenches together. We ask each other what we are doing in the 2 1/2 hours of freedom from our older children. The answers are either going somewhere to occupy younger child or running errands. And often, someone will tag along. We are all on social media and know when one of us has had a rough night, when someone has amazing news or someone is sick. The arrival is always met with: "How ARE you?" and "What can I do?"

A couple of favorite stories about the ladies and their adorable children:

There is one whose two year old daughter has taken to wearing her older brothers' clothes and shoes. We all remark on her delightful ensemble. The other day she had on a ball cap, striped shirt, pink leggings, one Mary Jane shoe and one boys' sneaker that was distinctly larger than her foot. We all congratulated the mom on getting out of the house with her children. Smile, laugh and sigh.

Then there is the child who is sensitive to noise, stimulation and sensory things. We are all sure to keep her safe from other kids when everyone is running around like crazy children in the morning before school starts. We shun her away if a kid seems particularly hyper and ready to charge.

There is the young boy who has a sour puss face on most mornings and often needs his space. We say: "Hello" and if he smiles, take that as a cue for safe interaction. If not, we let him be; he will come around.

There are the boys who want to run with the big boys and often surprise the big boys by knocking them down.

There is the boy who got a mysterious illness and we cheered as he took his first steps again in over two weeks.

These kids are not related to me, (ok one of the bruisers of the big boys is mine) but they are in my heart. When one is sad or having a bad day, we feel it. When a mom is at her wits end, we jump in to give relief. When a mother can't take it another day because her husband is deployed for the third time,  we take time out to talk, offer relief or maybe just a Coke Zero.

And we rejoice together too:   when the mother welcomed her husband home from Afghanistan, we sighed relief and cried tears of joy. When the mother of two boys is finally having her girl, we squeal with delight. When a child gets potty trained or an older child gets a treat for not talking in class, we congratulate them. Together.

But seriously, the best part is dishing late at night on social media about designer bags, dream homes
 and of course our children. I don't know what I would do with out these ladies. They are often my sanity, my personal cheerleaders, my compadres in the trenches.

Oh and one more thing, I really want a donut. So ladies, you know who are... Monday?

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