Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Solo Playdate! Hooray!

The other day a fellow preschool mom, whose daughter is in Julia's classroom at nursery school, called out of the blue to invite Julia over to play tomorrow morning. Alone. And stay for lunch. This mom even offered to drive Julia back home afterward, which I refused since it's hard to get to our house these days due to a massive road-construction project going on right outside our door, and it just seemed, well--too nice of her. She's going to have my kid over, feed her a meal, AND navigate a construction detour all over creation to bring her back home? The least I can do is spare her that last part.

This is our first drop-off playdate experience, and I'm not used to someone else offering to WATCH MY CHILD FOR ME. For free. Someone who's not even related to me. Someone I hardly know! (Although, I should emphasize, we've known this family superficially for over a year now and they are extremely friendly and sweet, just not anyone we've socialized with outside the preschool hallways.) Apparently Julia's little classmate has been asking to have Julia over to play. How sweet is that? As for Julia, she's super-excited. I wondered if she'd be hesitant, since we've never visited this family before and she's never played one-on-one with this child, let alone eaten a meal at her house, but right away Julia was thrilled with the invitation. I hope she's as eager tomorrow morning when Genevieve and I drop her off.

Now I just need to find someone who wants to spend a morning with GENEVIEVE.


Mnmom said...

That day will come. Once in a while John and I find ourselves ALONE in our OWN HOME for hours at a time. We're still not used to it.

What's up with Mom's in your generation? We had preschool playdates and watched each other's kids all the time! In the winter another Mom and I took turns taking them to Wendy's for lunch then over to the skating rink for the noon free skate. Is this not done anymore? Mores the pity.

Shan said...

I don't know--maybe moms DO do it, but my kids just aren't the age yet where they do? Maybe most moms wait till 4-5 or so? I don't know. Mine are 2 and 4 and no one wants them. ;) No, seriously, I do think a HUGE factor is that this generation is busier than previous ones. Most families I know have their kids signed up for multiple organized activities--ECFE, baby dance, preschool tumbling, swimming lessons--and after all that there really isn't much time each week to take someone else's kids. Not that we don't play with each other, we do, but it's definitely more of a spur of the moment thing: "Hey, we're not doing anything, want to go to the park?" Whereas to take someone else's kids you really have to make a plan and arrange schedules ahead of time. That's my take on it anyway.

Shan said...

I should add that I HAVE had a couple of offers from good friends to take one or both of my children during a particularly busy/difficult time (thank you, friends who know who you are!). So far it's never been a day/time/circumstance that has worked out for me to take them up on it, and among my social group it definitely isn't a regular occurrence. Not that people aren't good-natured and well-intentioned; but I do think most families I know are very "scheduled." I'm not blaming anyone; the thought of reciprocating and watching TWO 2-year-olds and TWO 3 or 4-year-olds at the same time makes me want to run screaming in the opposite direction.

I should also add to my comment above, for the record, that OUR family is not very "scheduled." Right now we're doing zero organized classes/activities outside of preschool, though when it gets too cold to play outside every day I'll look into a toddler/preschool dance, swim, or tumbling class for some exercise for them. But among folks I know we are a total anomaly. Everyone else I know is doing at least ECFE and/or a regular playgroup in addition to preschool for the older kids, and I really think after all that most moms are too busy to do many of the trade-off playdates too. I'm sure, however, that this changes as the kids get older. I mean, kids always play at each other's houses once they're old enough to no longer need constant or at least frequent adult supervision, right?

Rob Hardy said...

When Will was in first grade (he's in eleventh grade now, so count backwards), we asked him if there was anyone he would like to invite over to play. He said, "Jordan." So, we called up Jordan's parents and invited Jordan over.

Jordan's parents ended up becoming among our best friends in Northfield. It's lovely when you start making connections through your children, and when those connections endure and grow stronger.

Shan said...

To Rob:
Nice. I can definitely imagine something like that happening in the next couple of years. Who knows? Maybe it's already happening, now, with this little 4 year old friend and her outgoing mom. It's fun to see your kid make friends on her/his own, too--not just because you as the parent met another parent you liked and so decreed that your kids would play together. A new stage!

Mnmom said...

I hear you. I was a SAHM Mom in Northfield from 1997 - 2006. We also were less scheduled than others but it seems this next wave of young families has taken it up a notch. Read "Take Back Your Kids" - I know ECFE has a copy. Speaking of ECFE, usually a group of us would head to a park just after class or over to someone's house for a potluck lunch in the winter. Even carpooling to preschool eases your workload.

donna said...

It's been my experience that sometimes it just takes one parent to initiate the 'exchange' and once the kids have a great time, then the kids keep asking, "When can I play with __?"

If you want to start other playdates with other children, maybe you just need to initiate. (And you can specify whether the child is dropped off or if it's a visit. When we do playdates with my son's friends, we leave it open. As in "you're welcome to drop him off if you have things to do, but you're also welcome to stay, just let me know so I can plan for how much food to have." So each playdate is different.)

Speaking of which... It's time for me to email my son's friend's mom to set up our next playdate! (We've been doing them about once a month.)

Shan said...

Yeah, we do tons of playdates, but so far--again, I think since my girls are only 2 and 4--they've all been the kind where the moms stay and the kids play together while the moms talk. I love those, too.

I have a feeling Donna is right about initiating it once and then having it continue b/c the kids have so much fun. Julia's little friend from today is coming to OUR house to play and have lunch next week! And the girls thought it should be TOMORROW, not next week!

donna said...

I would agree that your girls are on the young side for a drop-and-go playdate. But, that will change as the girls get older. And even if you are only dropping off one girl (vs both), it's still a 'luxury' to only have one child to care for!

(Looking forward to hearing how next week's playdate goes!)