Friday 26 August 2011


With Lil-lil starting preschool this year, a new phenomenon has entered my life – the playdate.

Sure we've had plenty of playdates with people who are my friends and the kids get told: "These are your friends". They're fine. They're great. Our kids can play, I feel I can relax confident in my parenting style. I get to have a good chat or catch up with someone I like.

It's these new playdates I'm not so fond of. The ones that involve Lil-lil's friends from preschool. I've done a few and it always feel a bit weird. I have to make small talk with the parents, who aren't always people I'd choose as friends. I hate small talk, more than anything. There's always that awkwardness of how far can I go? I don't want to look like a delinquent parent and it seems that most of Lil-lil's friends have quite conservative parents.

Example: "Little XX came home from preschool the other day and said 'damn it'. I couldn't believe it."
I sat there wondering what the problem was, when I suddenly realised it was the 'swearing'. Then realised it was probably my kid who was teaching the colourful language and probably much worse.

Then Goosey usually ends up in some sort of altercation with the younger sibling of Lil-lil's friend. Which is embarrassing  and then you have to do that whole song and dance and the poor kid doesn't really want to be there anywhere.

If they're at my house, the house is usually completely trashed. There's always some sort of argument over toys. The whole thing is more hassle than it's worth.

The latest thing that happened this week was Lil-lil was invited over for a sleepover. Personally I think she's too young to stay over at someone's house I don't know well. It just doesn't sit right.

I write this as I'm procrastinating about calling a new friend of Lil-lil's who left a note inviting us over for a playdate.  As much as I'll dread it, I'll call and organise a time, cause Lil-lil will have the time of her life and this is what kids do. I'll suck up my shyness and loathing of small talk. Who knows, I might even strike gold and meet a parent who can become a friend.

Soon enough, she'll be old enough to do the dump and run. Then, of course I've got at least another five years with the other kids. Sigh.

Do you do the whole playdate thing? Do you love it or loathe it?


  1. You are right, that very soon it will be super easy (until it gets tricky again with 8 year olds being allowed to do radically different things eg. crossing roads alone, seeing M rated movies etc etc). It is tricky with preschoolers though, isn't it? I must admit that if it is a parent that I don't think will become a friend, I have a quick cup of tea, leave for an hour or so then come back to pick up. And the sleepover! Mmmmm.

  2. Hello Corrine

    I've found your children become friends but that doesn't mean you become friends with the parents. some you may - but a lot you won't.

    Don't forget in a child's life they can make a friend in 5 minutes (and I mean that) and it can take well 5 months to 5 years to find a really really good friend (well hey that's me).

    My greatest recommendation is a park! Parks are the place to meet - they are neutral ground and then you can excuse yourself anytime you want and leave for what ever reason. No mess to clean up and no mess left for you either. Free swings and equipment.

    Sorry but my 2 cents worth here but
    NO (I hope I said it loud enough)
    no sleepovers yet -way too young.
    No one ever ever looks after a child as much as the owner does. (eg parent) - I am so concerned these days with pedophiles etc.

    you take care - you sound a bit overwhelmed these days. :)


  3. Great post :)

    As far as I'm concerned, the playdate rules are:

    - Feed your kids before you leave home so they don't look like seagulls
    - Bring something for morning tea (preferably healthyish)
    - Shoo the kids outdoors if you can (less mess)
    - No tv ... we go over people's houses to play, not watch TV and be antisocial
    - Don't brag about how shit hot your kids are. Every parent thinks their smalls are amazing.
    - If they fight over the toys, take them away
    - Stay for about 2 hours. Three is pushing it
    - Clean up before you go

    But sleepovers? I'm saying a big fat no there. Who the hell are the parents? I like my kids in their own beds, thanks.

    And is dammit really a swear word? I once said 'crap' in front of my boss's 8 year old and then my boss said 'Oh, P23 didn't mean that .. it just slipped'. It took me a minute too to work out WTF was going on. And then I thought my boss should loosen the fuck up.

  4. I haven't really done playdates, except with people I like and am already friends with. When playdate time comes, I think I'll stick to the park/backyard and keep it to a 2 hour maximum, less if I don't get along with the other parent. And I don't agree with sleepovers for little ones either. I wouldn't think of those until 7 or 8 years old at earliest.

    As for "damn it", seriously? I say that without thinking. Regarding language though, P has been saying "I kill you", "Kill Mummy/Daddy" etc a lot lately and pretending to shoot us or other people with sticks or popper straws. That freaks me out more than any swear word and I'm certain it's one of the older kids at his child care centre who has taught it to him.

  5. I agree on the playdate dislike. I had one once which went for almost 5 hours & I was DYING inside. However, I have no idea how to ask people to leave, it seems so rude.

    Once school started they were less an issue because so many parents work & with the new baby there is no way I am up to having extra kids over my place after school.

    Any get togethers on school holidays are now strictly at the park. That way I can make it last as long as I want.

  6. I probably won't get any playdates. My nearly three year old exclaimed 'What's that fucking noise!', when I put the radio on in the car the other day! Bad mummy :(
    Hope you are feeling ok and resting. xxxxx

  7. Ha ha ha. Sarah above - you made me snort my camomile tea!! :-)

    Oh Corinne, I seriously had a 'moment' when Magoo got his first invite for a playdate with a child from daycare.
    He was only turning two at the time. I swear I broke out in a loc so-not-ready-for-this sweat.
    I was so used to knowing every single person he knew. How did he go and make a proper bona fide friend without me??!!

    Turns out the family are lovely and we meet fairly regularly. I haven't done the invite here because they have another child who is a student at my school. I obviously still have a couple of boundary issues to work through on the Mum/teacher bit.

    No, no and no some more for sleepovers.
    Not. A. Chance.
    No offence to any individual, just a blanket rule until he's, um, thirty!!!


  8. The only play dates we're involved with are with friends of mine and their kids, at the moment that is. Thankfully I haven't had to deal with any 'outside' play dates and I don't expect to for a while anyway, as my eldest is only 3 and a half. I totally get the awkwardness though, it's a strange dynamic to be involved in, because all of a sudden your 'babies' are making their own friends... and not always ones you would choose. The sleepovers are a definite no for me, until the kids are much older. I was never allowed to sleep over anywhere when I was little, it used to upset me a bit, because it seemed all the other kids were doing it. But it all comes down to what you're comfortable with, if you're having doubts, then don't and hold off until you're ready xo

  9. Yes, playdates with school friends are awkward to say the least. I went to one recently, took something yummy for us all to eat & their stupid dog kept jumping on the lounge & sniffing the food. I would NOT be friends with these dog loving people! Why did my little girl & their little girl have to be such good little buddies? Then I wondered whether they planned it that way & knew from now on I would insist they come to our house for the playdates, which is sans dog, to inevitably trash it. Sigh.


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