Perks of Anti-Social Children
Not that my kids are anti-social. They aren’t. They just aren’t party people, in a lot of ways. And I’m generalizing – because each one is different, but as a group – big loud parties with lots of strangers are not their cups of tea. Jessie is pretty relaxed, and after four hours or so, Sam loosens up as well. Julie usually follows the lead of which ever sibling is closest, it’s tough to tell how she is independently.
Every year, my kids’ elementary school has a spring dance. And yes, even though it’s frigid freezing cold, and next Wednesday is supposed to be another raging storm, spring is officially here and tonight is the dance. We are not at the dance, though, and I couldn’t be happier.
My history with the dance isn’t good. The first year, the year Jessie was in first grade (she had gone to a different school for kindergarten), that was a good year. I was hugely pregnant, if I remember correctly. Or I had a tiny new baby girl at home. Either way, I had a built in excuse to skip it (it’s possible that they inherited their dislike of loud parties from me). Jessie went with her older sisters, and her dad, and had a lovely time. At least, that was the story I got, and I’m not going to question it. The theme was beach party, if I remember it right, and she had big sunglasses and a halter dress.
The next year was… well, I had decided to embrace the volunteer thing, and had somehow signed up to head the dance committee. Why I thought that was a good idea is beyond me, because I hadn’t ever gone to a dance at the school, didn’t know all that many other parents, and had no real clue what I was doing. I think it went well – although I don’t know for certain. Because my kids HATE parties. Jessie was so not in the mood to socialize and kept trailing along behind me. Julie wasn’t walking, and I was still wearing her in a carrier. And my Sam was a hot mess. There was nothing at all he liked about the dance, the noise, the strangers, it was ALL BAD as far as he was concerned. I ended up leaving early – after some of the other moms took pity on me, surrounded by sobbing children, and sent me on my merry way, promising to clean up after the party.
But hope springs eternal, and I thought the following year would be different. Julie was walking, for starters, so I was already light years ahead of where I was the previous year. And Sam was actually attending school there that year. There was every reason to think it would go well… but it didn’t. It was crap. The same thing happened – all three kids stood very, very close to me all night long. Sam demanded to go home before we even got there, and Jessie started whispering that she was ready to go about five minutes after we arrived. Julie was not a lot better, because she follows the cues set by the older kids. And as a rule, if it’s something that Sam doesn’t like, Julie’s pretty sure she feels the same. I left again, super early, and trailed by miserable children.
On the way home that night, I vowed never again. Perhaps when Julie is in kindergarten, I’ll consider it. Maybe. But for us – every year on the night that the Spring Dance falls, we go out for Chinese instead. And this afternoon was delightful. I picked my two up after school, and we ran errands all afternoon. We dropped off a bulk mailing for the synagogue, and then hit the library for new books for me. We swung by Walmart, and then we got Chinese take out. There is little my kids like more than sesame chicken and white rice, a little chicken and broccoli and some chicken fingers (we’re big for poultry, apparently). Everyone was so happy and content, it was absolutely lovely.