Toddler Fest 2011

June 18th, 2011

This afternoon, I had ten toddlers, four infants, sixteen adults, and one big brother in my backyard.

What’s that?  Yes, on purpose.

And no, I don’t need your psychiatrist’s phone number, thank you all the same…

It was Toddler Fest 2011, a gathering of the families of Miss Mouse’s friends from school.  Now, I know that “they” suggest you limit the guest list at kid parties to one kid per year of your child’s age.  We surpassed that ever so slightly.  But since it was really my party and I’m 29, it came out about right.

I had been feeling frustrated for a while that I hadn’t made very many connections with other parents at Miss Mouse and Buggie’s school.  One of the things that had appealed to me about the daycare was visions of play dates and mom time with other families at the school.  But there I was, two years later, and I had only formed a few relationships and knew only a handful of parents by name.

And so I took action, in the form of an open letter to all of the families, inviting them to exchange contact info. I then invited everyone for a potluck picnic at our house.

It was awesome.

The toddlers frolicked and gamboled and raced around the yard together.  The parents chatted.  The babies sat around looking adorable.  Considering the high concentration of two-year-old-ness in my yard, remarkably few brawls broke out.  There were a few squabbles over a doll stroller (interestingly, the most fierce was between two boys!) and a good bit of jockeying for position at the swingset, but on the whole it was shockingly tranquil.

The families themselves were terrific, too.  We moms immediately bonded over the shared experience of working motherhood and traded advice from our efforts at juggling family and career.  An enclave of dads holding infants formed, engaging in a mix of diaper blowout tales and sports team discussions.  Many hugs were exchanged at the end.

My hope is that Toddler Fest 2011 (t-shirts forthcoming.  Or not) is just the beginning.  One of the moms is organizing a Mom’s Night Out for later in the month, and another made noises about hosting the next big family gathering.  We’ll definitely be there!

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