The Babies In William's New Playgroup

William had a good time at the first meeting of our new Crozet playgroup on Wednesday. There were five women and five kids (including us), although two of the other moms are expecting their second children later this year.

There are three older girls (in the vicinity of 2 years old), and a younger boy who is 4 months old now. He is the one William was most interested in. The girls were running around playing, but Hudson & William just sat on the rug in a quieter part of the room and looked at each other. Hudson is nearly as large as William is, it's a little odd to see such a young baby stand (when his mother holds him up) nearly as tall as William (28" vs 29"), and the baby is less than a pound lighter than Will. But he seemed fairly good-natured, as much as you can tell at 4 months anyway.

The other women were talking a lot about what it costs to rent their homes and utilties and stuff, and I found this extremely curious. Several of their husbands are in graduate school here, so I can sort-of understand why one would choose to rent in that situation, but I think most of the other married people I knew who were in grad school bought homes for the 4+ years they'll be here, and sold when they graduated (if they left the area, a few could find jobs here and stay). I was already facebook friends with the woman who organized the group, but the others fb-friended me afterwards.

Now I realize why they are all renting, and why costs for basic necessities like shelter are a topic of conversation. They are all little baby adults. I think they're all from ten to twelve years younger than me (yet three have kids over a year older than mine). I wasn't talking as much to the mothers of the girls, but I think one just had a home built, so they are transitioning from renting to owning, but I only partially heard that conversation so I'm not 100% sure. And they all will have student loans to pay off since their husbands are in school now, so they might be renting for a while.

Now that I know how old (young) they are, I anticipate that we won't be able to personally relate to a lot of what's going on each others' lives. Neither Terry nor I went to graduate school, so we can't relate to being burdened by student loans. We did rent, but it was a long time ago and I'm not familiar at all with the local market anymore. We've finished our careers while these girls (or actually their husbands, I think the girls plan on mostly staying home with their kids until the kids are in school) are yet to really begin theirs. Not that any of this is going to make a difference in how much I enjoy playgroup. It's more for William than myself, anyway. But I like the other women, they all seem very nice.

We can relate to children's issues. For example I got advice from one of the moms about where to get Snappis (fasteners for cloth diapers) in Charlottesville. And tips about different local activities for the babies, etc. That's very useful, and the other ladies actually know a lot about it since their kids are older. Mostly I am grateful to be included in a group that is in my neighborhood. All my friends closer to my own age with kids are a 30 to 50 minutes drive from here. These women are right in Crozet, about 10 minutes. Much easier to fit into William's schedule.

I wonder if they realize how old I am. In general, like when I meet new people at parties, etc., I think people guess I'm four years younger than I really am. I suppose I'll find out in time. I don't feel compelled to share the information. I did feel better about my inability to carry William around anymore since it's straining my rotator cuff when I found out the mother of the 18+ lb 4-mo-old is in physical therapy since she did something to the muscle around her scapula, she also suspects it is from carrying the baby.

After about a week of rest, I have started picking up William again (I really made Terry pick up William EVERY TIME until the tingling in my back went away). But now when I pick him up I make sure not to use my arm/shoulder/back muscles. I pick him up and throw him over my shoulder so his weight is on my skeleton and not on my muscles. It's much easier to just use the muscles to keep him from falling off my shoulder than to hold his whole weight. It is not as gentle a position for him, but I figure it's better than me not picking him up at all, which is the alternative. If I'm standing still I can bend to the side slightly so he can sit with his weight fully on my hipbone, but I can't walk around like that without using too much of my back muscles. I'm eager to get back to ballet class (we had this week off) because the stretching and lengthening activity really helps me feel better. I feel great after dance class, it kind of hits the "reset" button on my body from all the aches I get from handling the boy. I am finally on board with Terry, getting eager for William to walk on his own. He's pulling himself to a standing position, and can even balance standing for a second or two at a time, so I don't think it will be too long now. Another month or two I guess and he'll be cruising at least, if not walking on his own.