South Beach Playgroup
This week I took Locke and Lola to a playgroup hosted by another mother of twins. The event was held in their giant backyard that was tricked out with three wading pools, a big swingset, numerous plastic slides and playhouses, a sprinkler, beach balls, t-ball, and one big plastic castle. It was truly a wonderland for toddlers.
When we stolled in the yard, all the other kids were already racing around in their swimsuits, laughing, playing, drinking juice from sippy cups, or being changed, slathered with sunblock, or otherwise having their fun momentarily compromised by their mothers. No one even noticed us roll up in our double rig.
I began to unshoe and undress Lola and Locke, one by one letting them down onto the lawn to go search of fun. It took them a minute to want to leave my side but soon they were off in different directions, exploring the toys, playing in the wading pools, and chasing after the resident dog, a sweet black lab who greeted each person with a friendly sniff or, in Lola's case, a sloppy lick on the cheek.
As I walked around to keep both Lola and Locke in my sight, I watched them exploring and interacting with the other kids. Lola is fairly reserved, preferring to seek out her own fun in the pools and playhouses, while Locke is very much a social animal. He sat in a pool, making eyes at a leggy blond about twice his age. Soon she joined him in the pool, seemingly having quite the conversation. It must have been fairly one-sided, since Locke isn't talking yet, but neither of them seemed to mind. He gestured off into the farthest regions of the yard, presumably pointing out the dog or a toy to his new friend. She used words, and used them well. He was obviously smitten.
Eventually the girl left to be reapplied with sunblock or to have a snack and Locke joined Lola in a playhouse.
I realized, watching them, that this playgroup isn't too different from a day on Miami's South Beach. A bunch of scantily clad youngsters walking around with drinks (do they make umbrellas for sippy cups?), wading in the water, eyeing each other's toys. The boys played mostly with the other boys (again, like South Beach). But even on SoBe there's a girl-crazy boy or two. At the playgroup it was Locke.
Once he was positively reinforced by the cute 3-year-old, his confidence was was overinflated. He began chasing after all the girls in their irridescent swimsuits. Not the least discouraged by the fact that he was literally half their size, he followed small groups of preschool girls as they ran into the sprinkler. He didn't quite understand why he was getting sprayed with water, which made the whole situation even funnier. Then he followed them onto the double swing where one pointed at him and told him he was too little to play with them. Still undeterred, he continued to pursue the big girls until it was time to leave.
Lola didn't interact as much with the other kids but she had a great time playing in the water, rolling the beach ball back and forth with me, and exploring the playhouses. At least she wasn't running after the older boys. Not yet, anyway.
I'm looking forward to the next playgroup. Locke and Lola are finally at an age where they enjoy playing with other kids, not just by them. I guess it helps that they've always had each other to play with. And by.
Author's note: I've been trying to add pictures but Blogger doesn't seem to want to cooperate. If, at a later date I'm able to add them, I'll do so. Otherwise, you'll have to use your imagination.