November 25, 2009


A phenomenon I don't have a great love affair with is playdates. When El Fuego was a baby, I enjoyed getting together with new moms like myself to chat, have coffee, and enjoyed getting away from daily grind of infant care. As my chubby baby that rolled around on the floor and drooled grew into a wild toddler that ran around people's houses reconfiguring their computers and house alarms, I started to decline the invitations of play. Not that I didn't enjoy meeting up with other moms and their children, it just wasn't worth the work I had to put into the event. The other parents were all calm and oodling over kid cuteness while I was running after a determined redhead and working up a sweat. It wasn't enjoyable.

As we added to our small family unit, our kids had ready made playmates at their disposal, so the need for getting together with other families for the sole purpose of play wasn't at the top of my priority list.

Now that the "big" kids are older and in kindergarten and second grade, they are making friends and asking for playdates. This is a huge obstacle for me. I don't want to deprive my children of playtime and great memories, it's just that I know very little about the friends' families and lifestyles. This fact makes me nervous. When the kids are away from me, they are away from my protective bubble. I think I am very good at looking relaxed and easy going, while all my feelers are at full attention and constantly monitoring my environment. I have a knack for observing situations and people without them knowing.

This past weekend, a friend of El Fuego's called to ask for a playdate that afternoon. Thinking on my feet, I asked if the friend could come to our house after school instead. The mom agreed and the boys were excited. All went well. I chatted with El Fuego's teacher about the arranging appointments for our children to play. She agreed with me that the world today is a scary place and parents have to be extra careful. And, how play time for kids is different from generations past.

Little by little, I meet parents and things click and my feelers relax. El Fuego's friend's visit yesterday was a good experience for all of us.

1 comment:

Amy Heller said...

I hear you, dear! Lauryn has all these new friends in her class that she talks about and wants to play with, but I basically have a no going over to anyone's home without me knowing the parent's first policy. That's one of the reasons I became a room parent for her - so I could see how the kids acted and had the opportunity to be forced to get to know many of the parents, and luckily the kids she's interested in playing with are just as involved as I am, so that makes me much more comfortable. But even our neighbor, who Lauryn is great friends with, I don't like her going over to their house in the winter when they go inside, because then I can't see them and I know they yell a lot. And that's fine with her, since she wants the girl to come to our house rather than going over there anyway. In the summer when it's nice and they are outside, I let her go over there. But I'm totally with you on this - you have to have those feelers out. I'm glad that Griffin was able to play at your house and hopefully you were able to meet his parents afterward. :) Happy Tofurkey Day, lady! :)