Age Shock

by doodaddy on August 24, 2009

You know how every dog year is supposed to equal something like seven in human terms? Ever since having kids I’m aging at a dog’s pace, too.

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Where’s my playdate?

Yesterday the girls and I stopped at one of those tiny playgrounds that UCSF stuffs into empty corners of their student housing lot. It was barely room-sized and frequented more by diarrheic cats than children, but still, a slide’s a slide and Fern wasn’t about to let me pass it up.

After a few minutes, we were joined by a mom and her two girls. I’m an age range slut: I scope out families with kids (and these days, preferably girls) who are roughly as old as Fern and Claudia. Like magic, here they were, at Park De Cat Litter — a baby and a late 3-year old! Yay!

The older girls hit it off instantly — love those social preschoolers! — and the babies were, well, babies and I thought, wow, I’ve got to get to know this family! But then I noticed — mom was, I dunno, like 50 years younger than me. How do people get parenting licenses at that age?

We chatted and everything we talked about would seem to have made us great playdate buddies. They were recent transplants from L.A., even, so I might have been a welcome new friend. Nevertheless, I didn’t even offer my number, which I never fail to do when I meet potential playdates. (Gotta get rid of those cute flickr cards somehow!)

And why not? I’d venture to say that not a single mom I’ve ever met in my line of stay-at-home daddying has ever thought that I was hitting on her, so what’s the issue? (“Harmless” is my spec-i-al-i-ty.) And yet, the idea of exchanging digits with a woman closer in age to Miley Cyrus than to me — well, it just felt a little smarmy. Or that it might be perceived that way, anyway.

You’d think that years of acting like a goofball in public to entertain toddlers would have cured me of my paranoia that others see me, a dad, on the playground, as a fish out of water: annoying at best and a menace at worst.

And you’d be wrong.

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