When Jean and I finally gave in and decided to throw a party for Sasha’s second birthday, I was expecting doom. Disaster. An armageddon of tears, bonked heads, cupcake-frosting stains, and parents so offended we’d have to change schools.
Luckily, things went okay. We rolled up the carpets in the living room, bought a bunch of drinks and snacks (some suitable for kids, others for grown-ups), and fired up the “Children’s” playlist on my iPod. Five kids came over, along with most of their parents, and while some were shy and others were in their own world, they generally got along.
But at one point, something unusual happened. Katerina—Sasha’s classmate and best friend—took Sasha’s toy stroller and started racing around the house, circling through the kitchen and living room, followed close behind by Sasha herself. The kids were… playing together! Amusing each other! It was shocking, exciting, enthralling, and terribly, terribly cute, especially when they spotted me with a camera, paused in their face to smile at the lens, and shouted “Cheese!” The parallel-play era, in which kids do the same things next to each other but rarely interact except to gain the notice of their parents or teachers, was showing cracks, hinting at a day, perhaps not far off in the future, when we won’t have to supervise their every move.
Eventually, our downstairs neighbor, Earle, joined in the circular race (he’s 2, in case you’re wondering), and we adults just stood back and watched in wonder as our babies grew up before our eyes. Sniff, sniff.
[In case you’re wondering, no, Dadwagon has not been hijacked by sensitive people. We’ll soon return to our foul-mouthed cynicism, so don’t worry. Just bear with us for a few more moments while the holidays work their mawkish magic.]