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The terror of the play date

on April 7, 2012

Now I can’t profess to being an expert in organising play dates for my two.  One, because my youngest is too young to host them and two, because trying to arrange them is like entering into hostage release negotiations. When I was a kid, having someone over for tea involved nothing more complicated than playing with another child at school, enjoying their company, promptly asking them to come to tea and then informing our respective mothers at the School_Gates that that was the plan. The mothers would nod to each other and the ‘winner’ would take home her prize of 2 children whilst the ‘loser’ would shrug her shoulders, round up her other children (with any play dates she had accumulated for that evening) and head off home herself. We’d eat whatever was put in front of us, play upstairs and go home either when we were bored or it was time for bed.

Now, it’s quite a different story and the play date has turned into a regimented procedure that is run with almost Teutonic efficiency and goes something like this.

  1. Establish co-ordinates of target’s mother
  2. Approach mother with potential Plan of Action (PoA)
  3. Confer regarding possible dates, consult diaries, ballet schedules and football tournaments etc
  4. Allow 24 hours for affirmative confirmation

24 hours later…

  1. Commence initiation sequence
  2. Confirm date and issue password for collection at the School_Gates
  3. Establish dietary requirements, allergies and play preferences
  4. Draw up menu and request sign off by target and target’s mother
  5. Establish post-rendezvous collection time

Once I actually have these children in my home, I am amazed at the constant bombardment of demands bearing in mind I always thought that going to someone else’s house was supposed to be a treat. ‘Why can’t we eat in front of the TV?’ ‘I don’t like peas, can I have baked beans?’ ‘Why can’t we play in your (mum’s) room?’ And once, rather alarmingly ‘Why do you only have 2 toilets? We have 3.’ To which I replied, somewhat confused, ‘How many were you planning on using?’ My daughter, rather oddly spent much of the week following that date asking for another toilet to be installed in the house (!)

So, here’s the thing, I’ve decided that whilst having an evening free when my own kids are at after-school play dates can be rather lovely and relaxing, I’m not convinced that the pay-off of having to invite these children back to my own house is actually worth it. So there it is, decision made. I’m not going to have any more of my daughter’s friends over for tea after school unless there’s something in it for me which means a) I’m friends with the mum and we can sit and drink wine while the kids play and b) they’ve got less toilets in their house than us.

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6 responses to “The terror of the play date

  1. bubbablue says:

    Looking forward to reading some more of your blog. Hopefully will get some tips for what could be coming up with my LO in future! Found you on the ‘blow your own blog horn’ link up

  2. I promise play dates get easier as they get older, brings back so many memories reading your post!

  3. Yowzers, my daughter is only two and only three months into nursery, so still at the stage where a parent is always in tow. I am now scared, very scared, of what the future holds….

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