We parents are experts at convincing ourselves that something is awry when things are actually as they should be. It gets even worse when things merely fall smack in the middle of the spectrum of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Due to my work-at-home position, I recently worked myself into a frenzy about Nola’s lack of skill when it comes to playing with other children.
At the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw (put me out of my misery!), I began to wonder - does being a work-at-home dad really work for a child’s social development?
I had no real evidence to support my theory that Nola was as good at playing with other kids as Gwyneth Paltrow is at being your everyday, average mother. There was one play date with a dear friend of ours during which Nola was more concerned with playing by (and with) herself than with our friend’s daughter. Suddenly my own insecurities about our current setup hit the proverbial fan, and I was scheduling as many play dates as I could squeeze into my already overflowing schedule.
It didn’t take more than two play dates, however, to realize that the only person in need of some fixing was me. More specifically, my crazy, insecure, “am I failing my daughter?” head. It has been wonderful connecting with the other parents in my building and sharing our common frustrations (I hate unloading the dishwasher , too!). And it certainly was good for Nola to share space with other kids. But to be honest, the best thing that came out of it was the realization that kids at this age don’t really play together. They play adjacent to each other. They share toys, offer each other crackers, and then sit back down to sort the ovals, crescents and triangles into the appropriate slots.
We will be keeping our standing play dates because you can’t beat some good old-fashioned socialization - both for dad and daughter. But let’s be real here - there’s nothing wrong with Nola. Well, except for that unceasing Taylor Swift addiction. That would be her, below, carrying around the remote saying, “Taylor, Taylor, Taylor. NBC.”
But again, whose fault is that one really?