Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Today I went to a new playgroup, this one for FCC: the San Diego chapter of Families with Children from China. This is a national group with outposts in many major cities to support families who have adopted from China with regularly scheduled community events. For some time, I’ve been following e-mails on their bulletin board about an East County Playgroup and, since nothing was on the calendar for today, I thought we would attend.

It wasn’t until I was halfway to Rancho Bernardo (at least a 20 minute drive from our house) that I noticed that the directions actually read “North County Playgroup.” Well, that would explain why we weren’t going somewhere in East County. Really, it’s amazing that I can get myself dressed in the morning anymore; I’m so addled with the blows of motherhood. Then it began to drizzle, the sky a heavy, disconsolate gray. It didn’t seem too promising.

Indeed, it became even less so. We arrived at Rancho Bernardo Community Park, which was huge, with rolling lawns that required a big sign reading “No Golf.” I could make out a play structure in the distance, sandwiched between tennis courts and baseball diamond. I could not, however, make out a paved pathway to that structure, so we foraged ahead through the wet grass. Jarrah bumped along obligingly; indeed, she was very quiet in the car, unusual for her.

When we reached the playground, there wasn’t a Chinese baby in sight. There were two pregnant women pushing toddlers in the swings, and an Asian dad with his son. Jarrah jogged around a bit, exploring, which included some fondling of the wood chips underneath the equipment, and some straddling of a low wall, pretending to ride it like a horse. Eventually she moved over to a great cache of sand toys thoughtfully provided by the mom of one Nathaniel, 2, both of whom were more than generous towards our little miss. An hour went by and I didn’t see a single Chinese person of diminutive stature. I decided to give Jarrah a snack and go. That way if she fell asleep in the car (a certainty) she wouldn’t get too hungry during her nap once I’d swiftly transferred her from car seat to crib.

Our stroller was parked near a gaggle of moms with infants. I felt a little awkward, not wanting to make a statement by rolling away, but also like I was eavesdropping on them, we were so close. Their conversation amazed me—do I ever sound like this? It was all about who sleeps where and for how long, and who eats what snacks and how much. Everyone took a turn dutifully reporting their little angel’s stats, nobody really interacting, just waiting their turn. I was glad when Jarrah started to fuss and I had an excuse to wheel her away.

While we were at the park, I became aware—not for the first time—of the types of “mommy speak” I can’t be a party to. One gal, during the obligatory “how old is yours?” conversation, told me—inexplicably—“But his head is probably much bigger than hers. Both of ours were born with the biggest heads.” There was nothing I could add to this nugget, so I was quiet. Later, during another identical exchange, I commented (for lack of anything better to do, “My, he’s very tall for two!” and the mom said proudly, “Well, both his grandfathers are very tall.” Again, I had nothing. I could pipe up, “Jarrah was the heaviest AND the youngest in our travel group!” or “We’ve noticed she has sensitive skin because citrus fruits give her a rash around her mouth!” but that might be construed as changing the subject. Sometimes the subject is just genetics, and that’s what it is.


Amy said...

So did you ever figure out what the deal was?

I have added a few posts with new pics recently.

Miss you! Let's get together soon!

Kim said...

In some strange (and not as severe) way, I kind of understand what you must feel like when faced with these situations... it seems like everyone we meet wants to know if "my husband has blue eyes." Sometimes I just say, "No," and sometimes, when I am feeling a bit more honest/mischievous/ballsy, I just say, "I don't have a husband and neither of their mothers has blue eyes." Perhaps I should just go with something like your cirtus fruit bit... "Green beans make the gassy." :)