Friday, February 2, 2007

ugh, play dates

When I was a kid, a "playdate" didn't exit. You simply went outside, kids lived all around you, and you met in the center of the street to play in large herds. There was no scheduling, no parents transporting you, no background checks, and no sex offender lists. You went outside; you played. Today with my own kids - not so simple. We have not yet had the fortune of living on a street such as the one I grew up on. Schedules are consulted, mothers speak to mothers, calendars are compared, and if stars align - my kids get to play with kids that are not their siblings.

Okay. So here is my little rant for the day. We have a classmate of McKay's who is an only child. A very nice boy, to be sure, but victim of parents who decided to have children later in life - and only had one. Looking back on my own life, maybe an easier way to have done it, but not the choice I made. This particular child/mother combo calls us about twice a week just begging to get together.

I am not opposed to playdates in general, but there emerges a tricky balance when one is on the table. If one child gets to have a playdate, they all cry and scream for their own playdate. Suddenly, by ridding myself of one child, I am left with two resentful, unhappy ones. And bringing the playdate here does not always solve the problem. No, invariably three becomes a crowd and one of the brothers is left odd-man-out. It's a rare kid that can enjoy the dynamics of McKay and Chase equally (Sam W., you know I'm talking to you).

My kids play really well with each other. The boys will work violent sword fighting into any princess game so they can include Hannah. She will, in turn, happily mother her little soldiers and send them off to war. I sometimes resent this little world becoming unbalanced. I empathize with the poor mother of the only child - I'm sure he's bored to death and looking to expand his world with other friends. But we already have built-in friends. Why is it my job to make sure your kid is entertained? Mine are quite happy, thank you very much. And maybe if she called less often I'd be more willing to share my kids with her. I'm kind of selfish that way...

Of course, if someone is willing to take all three children...THEN BRING ON THE PLAYDATE, BABY. Otherwise, I believe this is why god invented caller I.D. (that, and to hide from the missionaries).

1 comment:

Marty: said...

The concept of the play date dates me. In my day it was called baby-sitting. We called a spade a spade.