My cousin, her husband, and her toddler (a boy who is almost exactly one year younger than Pumpkin) were here visiting over the weekend. We had a great time, which I won't describe in any detail because I'm lazy.
We went out to dinner to our local pizza joint on Friday night. The restaurant has a play area for the kids, so it is a great place to go with children. The new toys keep them distracted until the food arrives. While we were getting ready to eat, Pumpkin looked up and said "Oh! There's A. with his Mommy and Daddy!" Now, A's name sounds a lot like my cousin's son's name, so we said, "Yes. B. is here with his Mommy and Daddy, D. and N." Pumpkin shook her head and said "No. There's A. Over they-er." (All words ending with the -air sound are two syllable right now.) We looked over to a neighboring table, and recognized the little boy who was sitting there. Hubby recognized the Daddy, too. The little boy goes to Pumpkin's day care. He is in the 18 month-2 year room (Pumpkin is now in the 2-2.5 year room). I asked Pumpkin if she wanted to go say hello, and she did, so we went over to the other table and chatted for a minute. Then we went back to our table, shaking our heads at the fact that she knows all the kids (and their Mommies and Daddies) by sight, and can name the kids and associate them with the correct Mommies and Daddies. We, on the other hand, struggle to remember which grown ups go with which kids and to put names to cute little faces.
On Saturday, we went to the beach. We had arranged a play date with two of our friends from Pumpkin's day care before the visit by my cousin was set up, and my cousin said it was fine to go ahead with it, since they wanted to go to the beach, too. Then one of the other day care Mommies decided that we should invite Pumpkin's entire day care class, which we did. Three other kids showed up. We had a blast. It was fun to watch the kids interact with each other. It was particularly fun to watch the reaction as each new child arrived. Pumpkin would call out "Oh! Its E!" and then run over to greet the newcomer. She is clearly a very social little girl.
While the kids splashed in the shallow water and played in the sand, the parents started to get to know each other. By the end, we all agreed that we should arrange these "class play dates" more often. It is nice to talk to other parents who have similar careers (Pumpkin's day care is near an area of San Diego known for its concentration of a high tech and biotech companies). Yes, we were networking through our children.