Trapped in Playdate - May 21, 2012

Pre-child, I used to look forward to Friday nights.  Maybe I would grab drinks with the girls and go dancing or check out a concert at the Fillmore.  I loved to collect the custom-made, band posters at the end of the night.  Now, I look forward to mommy and child playdates (especially, when there are libations involved) and collecting my daughter’s latest artistic creation.  Her pictures are abstract and there is always a lot of glue involved, but to me they’re masterpieces.


Well, I just discovered recently that I’m quite the picky-playdate Mommy.  A mommy snob to the core.  My daughter’s teacher summoned me again.  She told me that my daughter has a new best friend named Ray.  Naturally, I was excited, since my daughter didn’t seem to really connect with any one child up until this school year.  I always worried she’d be the weird one who ate glue in a corner by herself and spent recess picking her nose and staring at the gold she digged.


Now, she was just plain fickle.  Last week, she was bossing Timmy around.  Today, it was Ray.  If this is any indication of her adult-life, we are in t-r-o-u-b-l-e.  Sometimes, I forget I’m not talking to my daughter and I spell bad words out.  My husband and I have a new list that includes s-h-o-t, b-a-t-h, s-h-o-w-e-r and n-i-g-h-t, n-i-g-h-t time.  The other day I spelled out her classmate’s name, when I was telling a story, and she knew exactly who I was talking about.  Just our luck, she’ll be a spelling prodigy at three and we’ll have to learn sign language.


“You should arrange a playdate,” suggested her teacher.  “Ray’s dad is just inside.  Do you want to meet him?”


Dad?  Was that the creepy guy, who always looked down and uncomfortable when I passed him at pick-up?  “Uh, sure,” I replied.


One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand…  How long did I have to pretend to wait, before I booked it to the car to avoid the uncomfortable.  “Uh, we’re late to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, so maybe we’ll meet him later,” I said.


After all, I had kindly waited three whole seconds.  Of course, just as I was walking away, my daughter dropped her snack bag and all of the uneaten goods barreled down the steps.  What a three-year-old klutz!


The twenty seconds it took to clean-up was twenty seconds too long.  “Hi, I’m Sean.  It seems our kids have become really good friends.  We should arrange for a playdate.  Are there any parks you frequent?”


“Yeah, uh, we go to a lot of parks.  I meet some other mommy’s on Tuesdays and, uh…”


Ugh, why did I mention a day or even that I take my daughter to the park.  I should have just said we don’t like the sun and stay inside when she’s not in school.


“Oh, may I ask what park you go to?” he asked.


And, this is where my daughter did something wonderful.  She decided not to listen to me.  We have a rule in our house; she must hold our hand and look both ways, when we cross the street and in parking lots.  She decided she was going to walk in the other direction and I had to grab her.  “Listen to Mommy!  You have to hold my hand when we’re in the parking lot.”


For once, she caused a distraction at the perfect time.  That’s my girl!  Check!  You just made up for being a klutz!  “I don’t know what’s going on.  She’s just not listening,” I quickly changed the subject and exaggerated, like this was the first time she had ever disobeyed me.


“Oh, well, I guess we can just exchange e-mails later and set something up,” he said.


Phew.  Maybe I’m strange for thinking it’s weird he wanted to do a daddy/child, mommy/child playdate.  Personally, I think it’s an itty, bitty bit creepy.  My husband didn’t like the idea much, either.  We decided that if Sean mentioned it again, he would set something up for the weekend and go himself.


This is where I can’t decide whether it’s right to be selfish or to succumb, so my daughter has social time outside of school with new friends.  Since she’s only three, I don’t feel comfortable leaving her with a new parent.  I’m trapped.  I’m a factor in the playdate, which means I’ll have to converse with someone I simply don’t want to chat with for what could be an hour or more every week.
Ok, so maybe if it’s with another mommy I’ll make the sacrifice.  There better be wine involved!  But, with another daddy?  I don’t think so.  My husband can tough it out on the weekend, while I let Calgon take me away.


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