Why is it that “playdate” is not considered a compound word? My spelling skills happen to be atrocious (thank you spell-check for the assist with atrocious), so I typically don’t have a leg to stand on in these matters. But for some reason I feel strongly that playdate should be one word. This grammar/spelling conundrum is somewhat irrelevant, but I would like to share a tale about a playdate, and therefore am prefacing it by stating that I will henceforth intentionally ignore the annoying red squiggly lines.
So about this playdate…It had been awhile since my friend Cari and I got our kids together outside of school or birthday parties. We were motivated to put something down on the calendar after chatting about a post I wrote on intentionally bringing boys and girls together. A Friday morning in early November was the date we set for our mix-it-up playdate – her 3 boys and my 2 girls – and it was on!
I was looking forward to this get together for a few reasons: 1) I really like chatting with Cari (and playdates are as much for us parents as the kids, right?); 2) I was hoping the kids would have fun; and 3) I figured I’d get some good material for a post.
I will confess that I did have some concerns over #2. I was hoping the kids would have fun, but I wasn’t entirely sure. After all, this agenda belonged to us moms. Cari and I wanted our kids to play. The kids were not initiating the plans. While their ages match-up – our oldest kids both nearing 5 and the three little sibs all age 3 – they are not in the same classrooms at school. In fact, it’d been about two years since we last got together with the little ones, which meant Cari and I were the only ones with memories of those good times.
While I worried that the new and unfamiliar territory would create apprehension among the kids, I have to admit, I was also concerned that gender would play a role in complicating matters – especially with the 5 year olds. I’ll be honest….I thought there was a good possibility that the older two would have issue with one another. I was prepared to field comments like, “I don’t want to go to a boy’s house.” I was all set to intervene if they said they didn’t want to play together. But I also reminded myself that it’s all in the delivery!
Me: “Are you excited to go to Isaac’s house? I’m excited! You know what, Mol, Isaac was the very first friend you made at school.”
Molly: “No. Olivia was.”
Me: “You knew Olivia before you were born…Isaac was the first friend you made on your own. It’s true. You probably don’t remember, but when you and Isaac were Gracie’s age, you two were in the same class and you used to play all the time….I can’t wait to see their new house! He’s probably going to be so excited to show you his new playroom. This is going to be fun!”
I don’t know if this set Molly’s mind ease or not, but I did catch a glimpse of a smile in the rearview mirror….
So the long and the short of it is the kids all had a great time. Molly and Isaac were slow to warm-up at first, but I attribute that almost entirely to personality, not gender. With just a tiny hint of parental involvement…
Me: “Isaac, do you have transformers?”
Me: “Hey Molly! Isaac has transformers!”
…they were off – happily at play, engaged and enjoying newly discovered common ground.
Two hours later, it took over twenty minutes to say good-bye – always a mark of a successful playdate. With hugs and promises of playing together again soon, we headed out the door discussing the fun we had and making birthday requests for some pretty sweet Autobots.