My children are (almost) four years old, and I am completely clueless as to how play dates are supposed to happen.
The only ‘play dates’ we have ever had have either been with family (cousins) or with the neighbours. And if I am not with them, my mom is.
So, when a brother and sister recently joined Adam and Kate’s school, and both my kids seemed to like one of the siblings, they seemed like the perfect kids to come over for a play date. We spotted them out recently and I asked the mother whether they would like to come over for a play during the holidays. She is newly single and has recently relocated to Cape Town after a long absence. I like her, and the kids liked her kids – perfect. I had visions of us sipping tea, eating cake and chatting up a storm while our kids played beautifully together.
We have been VERY excited for the play date. Every morning this week, the kids wake up asking if (boy) and (girl) are coming to play. Today was the day! We went to the shop and bought chocolate cupcakes for the kids and mini lemon meringue tarts for the moms. I tidied up, made the kids put on underwear and even made a reasonable effort with my appearance (i.e. my shorts and T shirt kind of matched).
Well, blow me down with a feather if the mother didn’t breeze in, drop her kids off and breeze out saying she would be back in an hour and a half to collect them*. I was gob smacked. What about our date? What about our tea?
I called Sister Mel to tell her about it and Sister Mel said it is normal, that is what is supposed to happen at play dates. I told her perhaps because my kids are twins and have each other that we have never been on a play date, we just aren’t used to how they are supposed to work. She said, ‘no, it is because you and Marko are antisocial fartbags and your poor kids have to suffer as a result’. Very rude if you ask me. But what about the mini lemon meringue tarts, I asked. Just bloody eat them yourself you nerd, she replied. I never really liked Sister Mel much, no respect.
I can’t imagine dropping my kids off at a play date and just leaving them there. Maybe after I had thoroughly inspected the premises, three times over, and run a background check on the parents and their direct relations. Sister Mel says I am an asshole. She might have a point.
The play date is going well’ish. Kate and (girl) are playing quite nicely. For the first time ever, Kate is playing with dolls because the other little girl is clearly more in the normal girl mode and wanted to play moms and babies. Kate is only too pleased to have someone to play with, that she is forgoing her usual dinosaurs, monsters and skeletons and playing with the dolls that have been gathering dust since two Christmases ago.
Adam is being a slightly less hospitable host. He has cried twice already, once because (boy) wouldn’t ride bikes with him and then because (boy) won the race and he didn’t. I am thinking (boy) is not going to be terribly keen on coming back.
Well, I’ve learnt something today. Apparently at four and six years old it is ok to drop your kids off for a play date unaccompanied. Apparently most parents are considerably less uptight and more social than I am. This should not surprise me, I suppose.
Well, I am
off to have a mini lemon meringue tart. On my own.
* To be fair, she did ask if it was ok. She had some things to do.
Edited to add: She has just been to pick up the kids and has invited us (including me!) over to their place next week. We have a social life, YAY!!
Another edit: I don't think she was wrong, at all. Any more than I would be wrong to want to stay at a play date, I was just surprised that's all. Thinking about it some more, it actually makes sense. There aren't many opportunities for any mom to have some time off, especially a single mom! What I have learnt from your comments is that this seems to be the norm in Europe, and this mom and kids are from Europe. So I guess its a cultural thing and I am more like the uptight Americans than I thought *grin*