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Play Dates Bite

I love the idea behind a play date. Children get some time to socialize with their buddies on their own turf, outside of school, soccer field or camp walls. I think that’s an awesome way to promote important things like sharing, learning new games, and just having a good ol’ fashioned time.

School just started last week and my friend asked me to take her sweet and well behaved child home. All was peaceful for about ten minutes. I was completely reconsidering my “no play date” rule from years past (We’ll get to that in a minute!). But then, all hell broke loose.

Here’s the deal: my kids are insanely close in age. Sometimes it’s awesome, and sometimes not so much. This is one of those not so much times. You see, there is fresh meat in this house (in this case sweet Liam), and everyone wants a piece of it. They want to show Liam their toys, comic books, and skateboards. Oh, and astrolabe. Don’t forget the astrolabe. And Liam gets a bit overwhelmed by all of the excitement. He wants it all, and could you blame him?

So, the boys start fighting. And because Liam is officially the littlest guy’s friend (they are in the same class and all), Little Man wants his brothers to disappear. Except, it doesn’t really work like that. So, here I am trying to keep the peace. But things are hard enough with three boys, and I’ve just about lost it with four.

The house is in shambles, and the decibel level is through the roof. But things have calmed down for a bit. I’ve separated the older boys to give the younger kids a little break. But then, the doorbell rings. Liam’s mom has arrived.

And that’s when things go crazy. Liam doesn’t want to leave, and the older boys have been pining for some time to play with him. And it gets LOUD. I know this because Liam’s mom confirmed it. Plus, she got a migraine. Liam’s mom looked at me and I knew just what she was thinking. Sometimes, words aren’t sufficient for the kind of absolute chaos us parents endure. This was one of those times.

She rolled her eyes and said “next time at my house.” To which I thought “and all of the other times after that for as long as we both shall live.”

Folks at my kids school, if you’re reading this, I want to be clear that play dates are always fine….at YOUR house. I promise to reciprocate with strong coffee, a bottle of wine and a handwritten thank you note. 

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