Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Play Date-Gate – the Great Debate!

Most days when I pick up Grace from day-care, I have to scrape off a half-dozen or so extra kids who want to come home with us. They then all ask simultaneously when can they come to Gracie’s house for a play date. I have to shake the last kid off my leg and make a run for it before another one suckers on.

I find the whole concept of a play date kinda weird. Especially as a working mom. I haven’t seen my kid all week, and on the weekend, I don’t feel super-great about sending her off to a friends house for an afternoon. I know SHE would probably rather be at a friends house playing, but I would rather her at home with us. I could invite her little friends over to our house, and I have done so countless times, but again, as a working mom, I have to pack a lot into the weekend (cleaning, making meals, etc etc). Sometimes holding court over a gaggle of five year olds doesn’t fit into the schedule (or jive with a possible hangover). And, there are also the personality types of the kids, some kids can be pretty high maintenance. I have them pretty much broken down by category:

1) The Klinger – this is the child who would rather be with me than my child, much to my child’s disgust.

2) The Big-Sister Wanna-Be’s – these are the girls who would rather hang out and nurture Edie (Grace’s little sister) than play with Grace.

3) The T.V. Watcher – these are the kids who would rather sit in the basement, glued to the idiot box, much to Grace’s chagrin.

4) The Idle Threat Kid: this is the kid who marches upstairs every two minutes threatening to go home if she doesn’t get the nicest Barbie, do the puzzle she wants to do, get to wear the prettiest princess dress etc. etc. This kid bugs me.

5) The Kid Who Isn’t Fed at Home: This is the kid who just wants to eat us out of house and home the whole time she is over. (I have a feeling I was a lot like this kid when I was little!)

6) The Bossy McBossy Kid: This is the kid who irks me the most. This is the kid who bosses me around in my own house (well, tries to). I have to establish my status as leader of the pack pretty quickly with these little wolverines.

I’m sure I’m missing a few other types, or I haven’t encountered them yet.

And what is play date etiquette? If Grace is invited one weekend, what is the turn around time for us to reciprocate?


Alissa said...

I'm too busy to have anyone over. And I don't really want to, anyway. I kind of feel like you do--I see my kids little enough, and they spend the rest of the week with their friends. Our time is ours, at least until they're a few years older.

We do have their best friend Callie (the dog) over to play once a week. Does that count?

alison said...

What I hate is that the request for a playdate always seems to come when I'm frazzled at the end of the day, bent over and buckling Rae into her booster seat and she'll say, "Can Cameron come over tonight?" Ummm, no.

I do like the occasional playdate on the weekend. Being a single mom who has pretty well 24/7 custody, playdates at other people'e homes is kind of a sanity break for me. Unless it's just one kid gone, then, instead of playing together, I end up having to entertain the one that's left behind.

My girls like to have friends over, and I like that too, once in a while, to encourage their social sides and to reciprocate play dates. This is especially welcome around Christmas. I'll have your kids over to play so you can go shopping and then you can take my kids. When we have kids over, I like to plan something to do, like go toboganning, or make cookies or have a craft, so that they are engaged and the day doesn't devolve into bored bickering (learned that one the hard way).

I try to reciprocate within a couple of weeks, but occasionally the girls are at their dad's on a weekend and we can't always do it right away. And I do like my weekends of just us girls.

Oh, and one of the little visitors to our house is a combo of Idle Threat Kid and Bossy McBossy Kid. I call her The Prima Donna. The Prima Donna is primarily identified by her repeated call of "It's not fair...that you get *that* Barbie, it's not fair... that you get to be Dora when we play Candyland"..etc.

mamatulip said...

I can't comment on playdate etiquette...I'm pretty ignorant on etiquette in general, LOL.