I am now crawling into bed
I'll share my jello!

Just humor me, okay?

In lieu of seven quick takes, do you mind if I FREAK. OUT. on you for one little second?

Okay. So. I was looking out my dining room window today (this is funny because my dining room window would also just be called The Big Room In The Middle Floor Window) and do you know what I saw? MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS HAVE A BRAND NEW BABY. !!! A baby so tiny and spindly and red he was probably born YESTERDAY.

AAAAAIIIIIEEEEE!

You would not BELIEVE the rampage of thoughts that blasted through my head at that precise second. A few weeks ago I told the Parenting peeps how nice it would be to have a mom friend in my neighborhood. Someone who would not require packing or driving my car, where travel time would not factor into when to hang out, who I can see for five minutes or two hours. So in between the time I see a white-haired old lady (who has been hanging out next door for DAYS now, making me wonder if I was missing some kind of holiday requiring family visits) changing the new baby's diaper in the window, and five minutes later, when I finally realize it's just not done to be staring into your neighbor's window (at least not so OBVIOUSLY), I've already decided that Mrs. Neighbor and I are going to be BFF.

And here's the part where I tell you why I am not BFF with my next door neighbor, and why I have never even met her in PERSON.

We were living in our house about a year when they finally tore down the crappy apartment next to us and built another set of townhouses. We'd gotten to know the neighbors in our set of four townhouses because we all bought and moved in at the same time. Plus we were all at the same stage of life. I often wonder how many Youngish Couples are squeezed into townhouses with a baby or two because now none of us can afford to move. BUT WHATEVER. The townhouses that went up next door to me weren't part of our set, and even though our "dining room" windows are 10 feet apart, there's a big fence separating the property and, you know, it's SEATTLE. People do not invade each other's space!

But I baked some zucchini bread and left it on their step with a welcome note because I thought, you know, if I'm going to be looking into their house on a regular basis it might as well be on good terms. Then I found a thank you note on MY doorstep (inviting us sometime in the vague future for drinks! my people!) but that's the last we ever communicated. Since then we just don't pay attention, although the curtain in my kitchen window is there because we were getting awfully tired of Mr. Neighbor washing the dishes without a shirt on.

ANYWAY. I've been thinking about it all day (in between the times I am not throwing up because NOTE TO SELF: when getting over stomach flu do not assume you can eat an ice cream bar the next day, just because it's the only thing that sounds good, YOU IDIOT) and I am feeling Rather Waffly. On one hand: we could be BFF! And on the other: I could get totally sadly rejected. And be terrified of being in front of the window at the same time they are. WHICH IS A DAILY OCCURENCE.

I don't mean rejected as in, "Like I'd ever be friends with YOU." This is SEATTLE. People are outwardly nice! No, I mean a sort of, "You're cute, but I've got my quota of mom friends filled, thanks. Also, I can totally see your kid picking his nose."

AND, I don't know if I've MENTIONED it, but I am not the most outgoing person in the world. I try, because people say there's no way to get over that other than to just BE OUTGOING, but more often than not I come off like a stuttering dork. My brain goes faster than my words, I make stupid jokes, I am WAY too enthusiastic: I AM A DORK.

But whatever. I am plotting. I was thinking: what about a nice "couldn't help but notice your gorgeous new baby! congratulations! here's my digits!" note on her front door in a week or two? I even thought about RINGING THE DOORBELL AND INTRODUCING MYSELF. "Hey! I know you know me, but I thought I might as well tell you my NAME. Oh, and I've got babies too! Come have coffee at my house!"

I don't know. Dorky?

I was excitedly sharing my news with Phillip and he was just looking at me sort of doubtfully (because he is very familiar with The Dorky) and he said,."What about just letting it be organic?"*

Which: okay. I see his point. I mulled over the organic point this afternoon too (when I was not throwing up) but I decided the organic point is moot. BECAUSE. It's been what? Three years that they've been the people whose house we can see the most of. We have NOT ONCE run into them "organically". I suppose I could wait till summertime when both of us seem to spend a lot of time in our teeny tiny yards and make up some reason to talk to her ("Oh! Look at the baby! When did HE show up?") but really? Should I?

See, if it were ME? I would totally want my next door neighbor to show up. I like people, believe it or not. I've had to work on it, but for the most part I like knowing people and spending time with people, especially when they can relieve the boredom and/or drudgery of taking care of your kids. But I don't know if this is one of those situations where I should do what I'm afraid to do because I would want someone to do it for me, or if I am (wait for it) A DORK and I'm DORKING OUT.

(I am especially interested in what one of my old neighbors has to say, since she is intimately acquainted with The Layout Of The Neighborhood. Although you see she has to comment on my blog under an assumed name since when she had HER baby she MOVED AWAY AND LEFT ME and possibly I have yet to forgive this transgression.)

Anyway. What would YOU do? Think about that while I am eating bananas AND applesauce AND rice AND toast for dinner.

*It occurs to me that Phillip's preference for "organic" plays heavily in the story of How Phillip And I Started Dating, by which I mean: IT TOOK FOR FREAKING EVER.

Comments

Meghan

Maggie, I say ring her doorbell at a time that you think is good based on all your mom knowledge, then introduce yourself and say "I have a baby, you have a baby, we're neighboors, please bring your baby over whenever and let's chat." I get the hesitance, cause I don't like new people and don't warm up quick and don't and don't and don't. But you are neighbors! With babies! Just do it. I have a good feeling, and if it doesn't work out? You tried and good for you. Right? Right. I love your blog and love to read about your funny stories, who wouldn't want to be friends with you? I want to be friends with you and I don't even live there anymore. Love, Meghan

Michelle

Seriously, introduce yourself. If there's one thing I've learned about new-mom-hood, it's that everybody is looking for new friends. It's just like starting college.

But don't ring the doorbell. I hate the doorbell - it's too loud!

annie

Totally introduce yourself. Organic, in my opinion, just doesn't work...especially for us shy types. I would have LOVED it had one of my neighbors knocked on my door with cookies or even just SMILE after the babies were born. Especially once my husband was back at work and I was all by my lonesome with this new little person. You know as well as I do that it's hard to get out and be the one to do the visiting and the introducing and the reaching out when you're so bogged down in the newness...but it's so nice to be the recipient of someone's kindness and outgoing-ness. You know?

Carrie

Definitely go for it in some way- either ring the doorbell and introduce yourself, or leave more zucchini bread or something!

I'm excited for you! It would be great for you to have another mom so close. Let me know how it goes. The people across the hall from us and the ones upstairs are having babies and I'm trying to figure out the whole introduction thing too. Let me know what works!

Ashley

Definitely introduce yourself. For all you know, she is a loyal reader and already wants to be friends with Mighty Maggie (as we all do!) but has yet to realize that she is living next door to The Legend. I have to agree with Michelle on the doorbell thing, though. Loud noise + tiny new person = not good.

Liz

You're motivated to meet her! Ring the doorbell. Do it, do it, do it, do it!!! As long, of course, as it doesn't take away from the time you spend with ME. Adam would vote for organic. I say that could take 4 more years.

Elizabeth

I am terrified of awkward social interactions, just like you, so I would do nothing. But I would LOVE it if you just showed up on my doorstep and forced me to hang out with you - so I say you just march on over there and go for it. That's what I would want to happen, even though it's not what I would do.

Lindsay

Maggie you and your entourage seem like a good time. Surely this neighbour will dig you guys. More and more I think trying to find friends as adults is like dating in high school.

lauren

I say go for it - everyone secretly wants a dorky friend :).

Dr. Maureen

Dude, ring the doorbell. I know it's incredibly hard, but MY next door neighbors rand OUR doorbell one time, and now we're friends-ish, and they have four kids, one of whom is old enough to babysit and shovel me out and two of whom are the right age to play with Jack. And Jack LOVES their house. And if she just had a new baby, she'll probably be PSYCHED. Although she will also be hormonal and therefore weird, so it may take some time for a friendship to take off, but, DUDE, even if you do not end up super good friends, you'll be able to at least babysit for each other in emergencies!

And tell Phillip we all say "organically schmorganically," because how does he think a friendship will grow "organically" if you two don't actually ever speak? Are you supposed to just hang around outside until she happens to also go outside and you "bump" into each other? He is confused, because friendships can grow organically at work where you have already crossed the first hump of seeing the people in person.

Microsoft! I will restart LATER!

Mary

Go make friends with her! I'd let her adjust for a week or so to having a new baby, or at least maybe wait until Grandma leaves their house. But after that, I'm sure she will be going stir-crazy in the house by herself with a newborn. I myself am going to be in her shoes in a few months and am so scared of the isolation. PLUS! you have mom-knowledge! You would be both helpful AND fun! Just go for it! "Organic" is just a fancy term for "too scared and/or lazy to make it happen." And anyway, "organic" doesn't seem to working for you (unless it's SUPPOSED to take 3 years to meet your neighbors). Really, what do you have to lose?! If it gets awkward, just put up curtains.

Amanda

I'm SO GLAD I'm not the only one who does this. We are "new" to our area, and I totally over think (but, obviously for good reasons... i think...) the "how to make new friends" thing.

I have no advice. But if you figure out how to de-dork your friend making skills, would you please let me know? I need to duplicate.

Christina

This is easy - especially since I am giving the advice and not having to act on it! Bring her dinner! Wait until after grandma leaves, then a day or two later show up in the afternoon with a nice casserole (or whatever is your favorite dish to share) and introduce yourself. You don't have to stay and make long conversation... just hi and you'd love to take a stroll with the babies sometime kind of thing... and I'd suggest writing down your names/number so it's not left with "see you around sometime" kind of thing.
And I totally feel your pain because I do the SAME thing - the stuttering, laughing too much, babbling on and on... oh kind of like this comment. Sorry.

forcryingoutloud

For crying out loud, forgive me! I'm so blog illerate..and I'm new to actually leaving comments. I usually read in peace and comment only in my head. I know too well the composition of the neighborhood, but less about window snooping. I would have had I had the opportunity. I think you hit the nail on the head. Although it can be an...interesting neighborhood to say the least, they are our people. Newly married baby making couples, right? I think motherhood is a lot like dating. Not that I was good at dating. But you have to put yourself out there. Yes, it's nice to meet people "organically" but the reality is, SHE'S the one probably looking for a friend even more than you. Remember how you felt during those first few hours, days, weeks, months and even now? Knock knock...who's there? It's Maggie, your neighbor.

Elaine

You sound exactly like me in these kinds of situations, and I would do exactly what you are doing now: wondering, worrying, and asking everyone else's advice. I would then take a couple of weeks to absorb the advice and try to decide what is best. Then I would make a Decision. Then I would decide that it has been so long since the baby has come home that I have missed the Window of Opportunity and would look even dorkier if I made a gesture at this point. Then I would spend the next week or two feeling guilty and stupid and wondering why it is so hard for me to just be friendly and outgoing like Normal people. That is what I would do.
But, probably? What would be nice of you to do? Is make some kind of dinner that they could stick in their freezer and say, "I saw you have a baby! Congrats! I know how difficult it can be with a new baby in the house, so I made you a dinner from the 'freezes beautifully' section of my cookbook" (okay, don't really say that -- are you even old enough to get that reference?) . . . anyway, "so I made you a dinner that you can stick in your freezer and pull out whenever you need it. If there is anything else I can do to help out just let me know! I'm usually home during the day. Here is my number . . ."

Rosemary

are you kidding me? I would have cried tears of joy if mighty maggie showed up on my doorstep as i was trying to figure out how to cope with a newborn. Tears of joy, I say.

You shouldn't even have to ask this question - go for it!

Jen

Ooh, I vote that you take her lunch some day. I have a baby here and I always forget to eat lunch. If you showed up at my door someday with a sandwich, I'd have to divorce Matt so I could marry you.

Charlotte

Oh my gosh, I would be freaking out in exactly the same way. I say knock on her door! Organic doesn't seem to work in my neighborhood either. I like the food idea, but I wouldn't let the food hold you back! (My neighbors across the street have a baby born at THANKSGIVING, and I STILL haven't gone over because I'm chicken and because I haven't gotten my act together enough to bring them food. It would have been sooo much better if I had just knocked on the door, even without the food.)

Becky

Definitely make an effort to make contact again - the thank you note she left you makes it seem pretty obvious that she's open to friends (even if that was a few years ago), so I say walk up with some banana bread, knock, and when she answers mention that you don't want to bother her but you were dropping by and would love to meet up... something like that. You could even make a joke about how it would be a "playdate" for the babies (like the tortilla chip commercial).

Have confidence in yourself - maybe she's dorky and unsure too. :)

Christiana

Oh, maggie, do something. Make a casserole or wrap up a onesie and take it over. Talk to her, if you can and let her know you have a baby a few months older than hers and hint that it would be great to get together for coffee when her help is gone and she is inevitably LONELY with only her couple of week-old baby to keep her company.

I wish the mothers in my neighborhood would reach out to me. There's a bunch of them and I just wish there had been someone to say "hey! Let me know if you need something!"

I say again that I'd be willing to come to your house in a heartbeat if we didn't live so far away. :) And I wouldn't care if it was messy or not. :) But, alas, I'm in FL. Couldn't get much further away from you.

Elsha

Definitely go introduce yourself. She is probably hoping to meet other moms anyway. Because really, how many of us are sitting around thinking, "man I hope I don't meet any possible friends today." Let us know what happens!

Charlotte

If you're nervous then put a basket of something in between you. "Congrats on having a baby" baked goods or whatever Molly's sleep schedule will allow you to toss together. Whenever I'm nervous I just bust out the ribbon and the bakeware and see what happens. Also, you could totally rehearse your conversation as you throw whatever it is together.

Kate P

I second all the encouragement here--put the ideas in a hat and pick one, and do it! :)

Lisa

I would absolutely go over and introduce yourself. Show up with some sort of little baby gift in hand...a cute onesie or socks...nothing big. But it gives you an EXCUSE. You can say, "Oh, I noticed you had a new baby in the house, and I just wanted so say congratulations. I'm your neighbor, Maggie. I have two kids myself. See, aren't they cute? But what a handful! Let me tell you about the time..." and go from there. The new baby thing is totally a good excuse. And who knows? A few days alone with baby and Mrs. Neighbor will probably be DYING for a new mom friend.

Tara @ Feels like home

I clicked on a headline under my BlogHer ad just now, and it brought me to this post on your blog. What a great one. I totally could have written it myself.

I say that you should ring the doorbell and invite yourself in. You'll either strike up a friendship or not, and in either case, you'll know that you tried.

The relationship might not be what you're hoping for right away, but something could develop over time. I have a mom neighbor across the street who is uber nice, and it has taken us many months to become friends. Now, though, we sit and chat while our kids play. It's nice.

Good luck!

Tami

I LOVE Elain's suggestion, but thought I'd add one more tip. If you're planning on taking a meal over, why not make sure one of the items is in a bowl that she'll have to return. Obviously you don't want to take the food in something you can't live without - just in case she's a klepto - but it will force the two of you to visit each other again, this time on her terms, which means she's more likely to have time to sit and chat for a bit.
Just a thought. ;>)

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