City kid in the suburbs.

And we’re back! Sorry it’s been a while, we’ve been in a sort of moving black hole.

But we did it! (with a lot of help from our friends!)  And we love our new place (a post about the new house will follow as soon as I dig up the USB cable).

We were lucky to move right next door to a super cool family with a 5 year old boy so Max is in heaven. In fact, there are several families in the neighborhood all with boys ranging in ages from 4-8 which is great. On his first full day at the new house Max was already playing at our next door neighbor’s house. When I picked him up he was happily watching his neighbor play Star Wars on some sort of video game system we definitely don’t have.

It was yesterday that I realized silent anxiety over this.

Not that he was watching this 5 year old boy play what in our house is called a “shooting game” — not allowed. Or that they were inside on a gorgeous day (they had been outside for a while playing soccer).


What if he’s a dork.  Or rather, what if he’s not accepted.

And even more concerning…

What if it’s my fault.

At our old house in “the city” Max has been pretty isolated. I mean, he’s had friends from Montessori school and the JCC, but some of the friends he loves the most are adults.  Despite not being that big of a city, you can’t just go out and play in the neighborhood so playdates are well organized, by email, a week in advance to fit everyone’s schedules. In the suburbs and in this neighborhood there’s more of a “go out and play and be home for dinner” mentality.

And here comes my vegetarian, dinosaur documentary loving boy who has no idea what the rules of soccer are, calls Darth Vader “Dorth Vader”, kept calling basketball “baseball”, uses words like “automatically” and “challenging ” rather than “by itself” and “hard” and knows the prologue to Romeo and Juliet. In some ways so typical and in some ways not.

I realize three things:

First, there is absolutely no evidence that Max is about to become the reject of the neighborhood. In fact, his next door neighbor likes him.

Second, my insecurities about Max not knowing Star Wars and still watching Dora are utterly ridiculous. Max is 4. He’s still really little. It’s okay that we don’t play “Shooting games” or watch shows with guns (aware that he will be exposed to that type of tv in other homes). He’s really young. What he plays with and watches are perfectly appropriate for his age. Let him be 4. His birthday is in August so with a September 30 cut off date he’ll be one of the youngest most of his life. And at least he has the advantage of being able to keep up when they study Romeo and Juliet in 9th grade.

Third, that this really isn’t about him. It’s about me and my insecurity as a parent — I feel like the uncool one making my kid uncool. And, if you want to get all psychoanalytic, my own horrible, petrifying fear that people wouldn’t think I was smart or cool that started in kindergarten and stuck with me all the way through high school.

Here I am projecting all of that crap on my 4 year old son who just wants to go next door and play with his “best friend” (who he had played with now twice).

So, in true Sarah fashion 3 hours after realizing how anxious I was about Max not being accepted, and about 30 seconds of sheer panic, I was over it.  I gotta let it be.

Max, oblivious to my entire 3 hour crisis, will be fine.

Tomorrow is kindergarten registration. I told him this morning and he looked at me with wide eyes “I need to be prepared! I gotta get to work!” and demanded I bring him a worksheet or something. I told him to come sit and watch Curious George with me instead.

I think he’ll be worried enough for the both of us.  I need to be the one to say “everything will be fine” and I need to mean it.


10 thoughts on “City kid in the suburbs.

      • There was a lot at my house as well. Still is. Jonathan didn’t have a “gaming system” until he was 13 & that was only because I realized that boys “bonded” in a different way then girls. If they couldn’t go out & play because of the weather, Jonathan would do his own thing (because he could easily entertain himself with oddities that didn’t interest others his age) & his friends would be bored. So I finally broke down. Not a proud moment for me, but I held out for 13 years!


  1. This just made me cry. As a former uncool kid turned Mom, I worry about the exact same thing. And then I do my best to let it go. Repeat.


    • I think you have the right attitude. It’s tough, you worry about it but then, you gotta let them find their own way. It won’t help him to see me worried about it.
      Most of all, I want him to be himself, because, if he isn’t cool, (which I am sure he is) it will be for all the things I really love about him.


  2. I think that is every parent’s fear: that their kids might not “fit in”. But really kids always do find their own crowd eventually. I’m happy that Max is fitting in great and making new friends fast, how could he not with such winning personality!


  3. glad i was there for some of the three hours of aniety. Hope it helped. There’s cool and then there’s really cool. And there’s just growing up to be a decent human being, which is on a whole other level. Max will be all three!


  4. Like your whole blog, I love this. I always fear that my kids will not fit in, whether its my super smart one for being too smart or my super quiet one for being shy. I think you’re doing a great job and undoubtedly Max will be fine.


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