Monday, March 27, 2006

On the Job Training: Motherhood 11 - Play Dates

So this is the new dating game.

I've been seeing articles about this in parenting magazines so I'm reassured I'm not alone in this. There's a lot of anxiety involved. The kids like each other and are "new best friends," but does that mean I have to click with the mom too? I have enough friends, do I need more?

With Annika's first friend T, it was good. Her mom, D., is very outgoing and social, and we found ourselves chatting up a storm. In fact, we went out to wine tasting dinner (sans kids) with D and her husband. We had a great time, and even the guys had a good connection. Think we've found a nice match. Girls are in the same dance class, so we chat every Saturday morning. Things are good.

Now, Annika's in the new preschool (and doing pretty well) and has a friend Allison. So, Annika & I went to Allison's house one afternoon, spent two hours there and Allison's mom and I had fun chatting. It was great because we shared training/discipline tricks, kindergarten information and other things. I felt more informed when I came out of there; she later told me she started doing some things I had suggested. I guess our daughters' personalities are similar so they would work.

Now we have a play date with Hannah. So, I coordinated with her mom and took her there one Sat afternoon. We stood in the foyer, and I kinda waited wondering if I was going to be invited inside or not. Then Hannah's mom, H. said, "Annika are you ok if mommy leaves for a little while." So, H. was comfortable with having the girls play without entertaining me. I was thrilled! I figured she'd be ok since Hannah has an older sister and both parents are teachers. I rushed off to Target and other stores to do errands. I was quite sad at how quickly 2 hours flew by.

At Our House
Out of courtesy, it was my turn to host Hannah and let them have 2 hours of peace. She dropped off Hannah last Sunday and let me know that she had been sick last week. She lived on juice and water for 4 days and is now ravenous. That's fine.

I told the girls, "Let me know when you want a snack." as they were playing. Fifteen minutes later, Hannah said "Annika's mom, I'd like to eat a snack." So I gave her some mini-muffins and Annika had some cookies - the two of them dressed up in princess garb.

An hour later, she returned hungry. I gave her more muffins. Annika did not want to eat at all.

About an hour later, she told me she was hungry and opened the fridge. It was almost lunch time and I didn't know what her mother had planned. I told her "No, your mom is coming soon and you'll have lunch at home."

I turned around to get Annika to start putting away her toys and I looked for Hannah. She was gone. I started yelling her name, running up and down, opening and closing closet doors, basement, garage. My heart was pounding -- I lost the child 10 minutes before her mom is coming! What kind of play date parent am I?! Annika was running around looking for her, too. I was getting a little furious at this hiding game.

Finally, I found her in the dining room. Under the farthest chair, her pink tutu revealed itself. She was crying and I pried her up. I asked her what was wrong and why did she hide?

"I'm hungry." she said sadly.

I quickly jumped up to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Her mom came a short time after I finished. She didn't take off her coat and made some small talk. By the way, I told her about the hiding and she said Hannah doesn't hide often (maybe new environment?) She said I should've called. Anyway, she was nice, but no chemistry between us.

So, is this what I should expect going forward? More to my nature, I'll just play it by ear and see how all this goes.

Social Calendars
So, every now and then Annika wants one of her friends to come over. However, by the time I coordinate with the moms and given everyone's hectic schedules, it could be tomorrow or it could be two weeks from tomorrow.

We have such a busy life - we've got friends and family commitments, home renovations (another topic for another blog!), work and the need to just chill out every now and then. I really didn't think a 5 year old could bring obligations to the calendar.

She's got back-to-back birthday parties this Saturday; actually will be cutting out of the Nature Center early to make it to the Dance party in time.

I, on the other hand, have no plans for Saturday night.


Anonymous said...

:-) 5 year old anxiety. This is the reason I suppose in the Indian culture they say to have kids back to back. They keep eachother company and busy and don't bring so many social obligations from outside. But then again if you were in India you'd be coordinating social obligations with family. It doesn't end.

Ashini said...

Yeah, I don't think this is a matter of breeding your own social circle ;-)

I think this is a big deal in American society now. Even when I grew up in the 70's, you could run around through the neighborhood, go everywhere.. I was in Queens, NYC and now I'm shocked to think of where my parents let us run around!

Now, everyone is so closely guarded. The world has changed and our communities have changed. We're more isolated I think - you have families with dual careers, kids with more extracurricular activities. So it's very different.