My daughter had a friend over today and I realized…play dates suck. For the most part, they’re like babysitting except you don’t get paid. You’re responsible for someone else’s kid for however long they’re at your house and you can’t yell at them or let them get hurt. In a way, it’s worse than babysitting.
My kid started laying the groundwork for this play date by annoying the ever loving crap out of me a few days beforehand. “Can Abby come over on Saturday?” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent)
I bit my lip. Saturday was going to be my “free day”; the day hubby was working and not following me around the house or insisting on accompanying me to the store. On free days I like to get my nails done and buy stuff online cuz he’s not breathing down my neck. I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to or even shower. I get to watch whatever I want on TV (once I bribe the kids to let me actually have the remote) I certainly didn’t need another kid thrown in the mix on a free day.
“I don’t think so,” I replied. “We’re busy Saturday.”
“But whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?” She demanded to know. “What do we have to dooooooooooo?”
“Clean,” I retorted. “We have to clean.” And buy boots at DSW and get a pedi, I added silently. And take a nap. Oh, and go to the gym.
Before you call me selfish, just remember, she sees her friends five days a week at school. She’s on FaceTime with them for hours a day. I get one free Saturday a MONTH. One blissful day full of potential and it’s usually taken up by baseball games or some sort of practice. And cleaning. So nah nah nah poo poo.
Well, that didn’t sit too well with the princess. She cried, she stomped, she begged, she pleaded. She did her chores without being asked and cleaned her room. (Sort of)
After following me in the bathroom while waving the iPad with her friend on the other end of it in my face (yes, I WAS on the toilet), I finally broke down, scrambled to rearrange my “relaxing” day and let her have a damn play date.
That word makes me cringe, by the way. It sounds so…planned. I remember just hopping on my bike and going to friends’ houses. There was none of this formal arrangements. There was no discussing with the other mom. Ugh, that’s one of the things I REALLY hate about play dates; talking to the other mother on the phone and making idle small talk while you wait for the kid to find the shoe they’ve so conveniently “misplaced” when the mother comes and picks them up. Oh and that, “what time should I come and get them?” question. Grrrr. I don’t know how your kid is going to behave, lady. I might want you to come get them before you’ve even left the driveway.
Usually though, it’s NOT the other kid that makes the play date unbearable. It’s the circus in which I reside that makes me want to fling myself into traffic when I hear those two little cringeworthy words uttered.
First off, the dogs are a force to be reckoned with. The little one absolutely, positively does NOT like strangers in her house. She’s small and cute and kids who haven’t met her yet think she would be great fun to play with but by God they are totally wrong. She’s a Bitch with a capital B. I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t bite the kid’s hand off when they try to pet her.
The big dope is another story. He LOVES guests! He wants to sniff them and knock them to the ground so he can lick their faces and any other body part unfortunate enough to be exposed. Most kids are appalled by his 99 pounds lumbering at them and they do NOT appreciate their butts being forcefully invaded by his nose. I have to keep him in a restricted area which breaks his heart, resulting in him literally crying and whimpering for the entire play date.
If that isn’t enough, my daughter turns into a blithering idiot when she has friends over. Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s not nice, but it’s SO true. All of a sudden she is a hundred times more annoying and obnoxious than she already is on a normal basis. She talks in a squeaky baby voice. She wants to go outside and jump on her pogo stick in the rain. She drags the friend into her brother’s room and hides under his bed to spy on him which results in him screaming. She jumps on couches and leaps off of beds. She brings all the toys downstairs into the living room which results in my stepping on a Lego in my bare feet. I’ve even found her in my bedroom going through my underwear drawer once when she had a friend over. It’s like she is getting her rebel self out while she knows I’m not going to flip out in front of her friend.
Meanwhile, all I can think is that this kid is gonna fall and split her lip or the dog is going to rip her apart and she’s going to need stitches. I am all of a sudden sleepy with a headache and I can’t nap with another kid in the house or discover I need to run to the store and I can’t leave the stranger’s kid alone with mine. I smile when they ask for a snack. Of course, being the good nurse I am, I always make sure they don’t have allergies. I can just imagine the headlines: “School nurse gives allergic kid peanut butter sandwich for snack”. If it’s summer, I stare at them while they’re in the pool, certain that if I go to the bathroom, they’re going to drown. I clench my teeth and pace while I hold my bladder and count the hours till they go home and I can relax again. The whole thing makes me want to open up a bottle of wine.
I hate play dates. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. It’s too much responsibility! I can’t take it! That’s it…no more play dates…my kids will just have to be antisocial.
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