How do you feel about your children’s friends? Do you smile sincerely when they arrive at your home because you’re happy and grateful that your kin has found such pleasant playmates? Or do you grit your teeth and pray that this time, maybe they won’t drop the remote control in the baby’s diaper pail?
My children haven’t hit grade school yet, so I haven’t had a ton of experience with new playmates. The playdates we usually have are with my friends’ children, whom I’m already predisposed to adore, even if the kids are snot-nosed little devils wielding Legos like they’re brass knuckles.
But I am bracing for the day when one of my sons brings home a little friend whom I do not know … and end up disliking intensely. CNN’s Kelly Wallace assures me and the rest of the Internet that it’s practically inevitable: “If it hasn’t happened already, it probably will at some point: the moment you don’t like one of your child’s friends.”
In her article, Wallace talks to experts about what parents can do when such an uncomfortable situation arises. But with all due respect to the pros, I’m going to use my own strategy — I’m leveraging the power of the web to let prospective playmates know, ahead of time, how to best ingratiate yourself with yours truly.
So listen up, future friends of Saucer Eyes and Scrunchy Face. If you’d like loads of invites back to casa de Gomstyn, please consider observing the following rules:
1. No running in the house …
…unless the Publishers Clearing House people just knocked on the door with a giant check and I’m in the bathroom. In that case, run like you’re being chased by rabid chihuahuas and open the friggin’ door before they drive away!
2. Do not expect or demand junk food.
In my home, we encourage healthy snacks, like apple slices, string cheese, and tiny marshmallows purloined from a box of Lucky Charms.
3. Come to playdates on time, but for the love of God, never early.
Understand that I need time to do very important things before your arrival, like desperately search the Internet to figure out your parents’ names because I definitely don’t remember them. Was it Rita and Bill? Joanne and Max? Captain and Tennille? Steal that time from me and I might just greet your mommy and/or daddy with a very panicked “Hey, hot stuff!” which will be awkward for everyone.
4. Laugh at my jokes.
That includes the Captain and Tennille one. I don’t care how dated they are, just pretend that I said something really witty about Sponge Bob, ‘kay?
5. Don’t be one of those kids who is “too cool” to take proper safety precautions.
Like wearing a helmet while bike riding. You know what’s actually cool? Avoiding concussions. Trust me, because I’m clearly the authority on coolness.
6. Do not laugh when I declare myself the authority on coolness.
7. Be kind to my sons and to others.
Mean-spirited folks are not welcome in my home, unless you’re from Publishers Clearing House, in which case be as cruel as you want, just give me the check.
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