Anatomy of a Play Date

Giggles erupt from the other room. I smile, loving the sound. Emmy is having a playdate with one of her preschool friends while Lily is at school.

A playdate isn’t necessarily a break for Mommy. I often think it will be, but in this case I am making lunch or bringing out yet another activity. I love how Emmy’s guest exclaims at every “new” toy she sees, “I didn’t know you had THIS!” as though it is the most wonderful toy she has ever played with.

Four year olds have an amazingly short attention span. I stop what I am doing to look for the mate to a sparkly dress-up shoe. I never find it. I can’t find a matching pair of dress-up shoes ANYWHERE. How can this be? My daughters have every single pair of princess dress-up shoes ever made, including Tinker Bell slippers. (I don’t really consider Tinker Bell a princess, but Emmy inform me that Tinker Bell is a fairy princess.) Fortunately, our guest has no problem with wearing a blue Cinderella shoe on her left foot and a yellow Belle shoe on her right.

We stop playing to eat lunch. They are done with their mac ‘n cheese and carrot sticks before I even have a chance to sit down with them.

I change the batteries to a walking dog; I bring out musical instruments for a “princess parade,” and then, after they each scarf down a sprinkle-covered cupcake, we go outside.

I think I will be able to sit on the porch and relax, but I am needed. I put on bike helmets, take off bike helmets, get out scooters, pull a wagon, and bring out bubbles.

A whirl of activity surrounds me. Just as I sit down, they make the request to go back inside to play for the last few minutes of the playdate. I get back up.

I am smiling as I write this post; Emmy’s friend has gone home, and Emmy is resting as she watches Clifford, the Big Red Dog. I think about the future. How long until there are two teenaged girls giggling up in Emmy’s room? How long until the word “playdate” will disappear and “hanging out” will replace it?

I don’t dread those days; they will just be different. But will I long for these four-year-old days again? Maybe. I also like to think I will relish those teenage days ahead just as much as I relish these four-year-old days that will soon be behind me.

Simple BPM
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16 Responses to Anatomy of a Play Date

  1. Although we don't use the term "playdate" here in Ireland (just call it 'having a friend round to play'!) I do love it – even though it can definitely be more work. I find it fascinating watching my kids interact with others, and some of the conversations they have are hilarious. Recently my 6 year old was giving a friend a guided tour of the house, and of my jewelry workroom/ dining room said "my mum makes jewelry, but it's not a proper job"!My eldest is now a teen, and it definitely IS different, but she loves to cooks, so often she and her friend will prepare the dinner – so they tend to "hang out" (although as a mum I am forbidden to use that phrase!) down in the kitchen instead of up in her room. It is s good way to get to know the company they keep, especially when they make new friends outside the smaller circle when you knew all their friends and parents. Sometimes having a friend over can cause a bit of friction as siblings want to get in on the action so a bit of negotiating is required – gentle reminders about when their friend is next over they too will want some peace!

  2. Perfect.Seriously, you perfectly captured that day and the emotions and the meaning and the future.I love it.

  3. Wait are moms supposed to sit down and stop moving? I mus have missed that :-)I love watching my four year old on playdates. With out her older brother it's so fun to see the little person she becomes when she gets to be in charge. Great moment!

  4. How sweet this is. Glad she had a fun time and it won't be long before those teenager will be giggling in your home. Honestly, when do moms get to rest?

  5. So nicely written, I love the end line about play date to hanging out. I like what Alita said about when they get older and not having to fetch this or that. I can't wait for that day!

  6. I love reading about you and picturing you.I wonder if I shall ever be able to meet you.I am so proud of you and what you have become.I only knew you as a young girl. But I loved yourparents so much. I'm afraid I missed our seeing all your talents. I love you bunches.A good friend

  7. Most of the time when Sprite has a playdate over, adults are banished from the room. I allow them to mess it up however much they want,but the rule is before the guest leaves, everything must be picked up and put back. No exceptions. If the date disagrees, she's not allowed over anymore. If Sprite disagrees, she's not allowed to have anyone over or be over anyone's house for 2 weeks.

  8. I don't think I ever went on a play date! There would usually just a friend at the door asking me and my brother whether we wanted to come out and play. Which we always did! And if we were to play indoors due to the weather, my Mum would not be as helpful as you! Different times!

  9. and I thought my kid keeps me busy. those really active days are ahead and I am not sure if I actually look forward to it 😉

  10. I can't believe you thought you could sit back and relax during a playdate!! HAHA! I'm sure we will miss these days when they are older … because we will have forgotten the hard parts!This was a really lovely post.

  11. Oh, I think you will love it too. The person they are growing into is more clear…though if you listen carefully you can hear clues even now.And you will miss this stage too! I miss it everyday, but I wouldn't trade my teens for anything.

  12. This sounds like our play dates around here except MUCH LOUDER. Girls play so much differently, eh? And yes, I understand what you mean about not being able to relax. But the busyness only lasts while they are young, too. Once they are teenagers we won't be fetching this or serving that. It will be different, right? I'm hoping that I love it just as much as I love this, too. Alita

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