2017-04-20 / Top News

Girls, girls, girls

ROOTED IN NAPLES

Girls. We have girls in the pool, in the bathrooms, in the yard. They plunder makeup, raid the pantry, excite the dog and scream. My God, the screaming.

It’s pretty awesome, if not a little overwhelming. You see, our daughter Julia finally solidified her girl pack and they’ve overrun the house. I imagine their parents are thrilled their unbridled energy has been more thinly dispersed with the addition of another family, because on weekends they tend to bounce among houses depending on whose mom gets aggravated enough to kick them out to someone else. I know this because after I got on their case for emptying the peanut butter jar onto a dinner plate and having a tea party on the driveway on my Pottery Barn throw, one of them said, “Uh-oh, another mad mom!” and they scattered like confetti from the concrete and I didn’t see them for the rest of the day.

Luckily, Julia’s friends are nice girls. The oldest plays Twilight Sparkle to two Pinky Pies, meaning that when one of them refuses to wear shoes while cycling, she’s there to say “I told you so” when the shoeless one scrapes her foot on the chain. The party girls — which includes Julia — are reasonably managed by a wiser, more experienced friend who can see the danger in snaking my expensive eye shadow when Julia has perfectly good play make-up herself. Twilight is happy watching the younger two paint their faces with hot pink eye shadow to transform themselves into characters from “Trolls.” She’s far too dignified for that — and she’s not going down over a stolen palette, anyway.

For the most part, though, it’s fun.

It’s been a long time since I was 7 and had the time and opportunity to spend an afternoon skating with friends around my own neighborhood or concocting absurd culinary confections with some poor parent’s carefully budgeted groceries. Kids are weird and fun; it’s nice having a role in their bizarre pastimes without having to actually eat what they bring out of the kitchen. We will, however, get on our bikes for a jaunt down the road when they have something to show us at their hideout, and we do comment on their silly conversations at the dinner table.

Friends are fun and we’re happy Julia can indulge herself more frequently now.

Most importantly, Julia’s friends don’t require play dates to see her. Play dates, as most parents know, are a form of parental purgatory where you have to sit and make small talk with other adults you would normally never be friends with all for the sake of properly socializing your offspring. If it goes well, you feel obligated to keep doing it because now you’ve established a rapport with these people and they might think you don’t like them — or their child — if you don’t keep reaching out. I’m thrilled that Julia’s social life requires less micromanaging and I can show up in my yoga pants when I’m called into duty. And I can kick them out — still wearing my yoga pants — when I’m annoyed. It’s beautiful. ¦

— Lindsey Nesmith occasionally goes privately crazy like Miss Hannigan with her bathtub gin. Little girls!

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