I was a city girl for the better part of my life, but then I got married and had kids. Suburban life was inevitable. Now that I'm a suburban mom, I am perplexed by the unspoken rules of the "playdate." Ever since I got a call from a complete stranger telling me she's the mother of so and so and her daughter would like a playdate with Carmen, I have been submerged into this business of playdates. The neighborhood schools even enable parents to initiate these playdates by creating "playdate-friendly" school phone books that have students' names, parents' names, phone numbers, and addresses all listed according to grade and teacher.
Playdates do have its advantages. I can actually catch up on my "Grey's Anatomy," while Carmen is playing with her friend and Rachel is trying to move in on that playdate. But I'm not that kind of parent who's trying to fill their child's every waking hour. For the most part, it's other parents who call me to set up playdates. And that brings up another issue of whether I have to call back to be polite to initiate the next playdate. My biggest issue is when a complete and total stranger invites my daughter to their house for a couple hours. Am I suppose to be okay with that? Admittedly I have done it. How do you say "no" or even awkwardly ask if you can attend this said playdate? The weirdest was when a divorced dad was sitting in my living room with me while Carmen and his son were playing in the basement. Stranger moms can be a little awkward, but stranger dads...now that's just too much.
Well, this weekend I came upon another drawback of "playdates." It's all well and good, until Carmen says, "There is no way I'm hanging out with her." She said this with a lot of flourish and some hand gesturing. Here's the story: I get a call this weekend, and it's icky Bella from the bus. She put her foot on Carmen's coat, and Carmen has disliked her ever since. What to do?!? I'm wishing my husband didn't pick up the phone. I politely tell her I'll call her back and panic as soon as I hang up. I tried to get out of it by saying we were going out for the day, but she politely responded any time would be okay. My husband and I, the cowards that we are, told Carmen to tell Bella that she wasn't able to have a playdate and her reason was, "I don't know. My dad said so." We tried to be as vague as possible because Carmen, the sweetheart that she is, did not want to tell her a boldface lie. Carmen even suggested she just tell her that she did not want to have a playdate with her. But this girl seemed the clingy and jealous type, and I didn't want to make her an enemy. End solution: avoid her calls 'til kingdom come.