“Can I pleaseeeee go to a friend’s house?” is the first question I’m greeted with when I walk in the door. My favorite five-and-a-half year old has recently discovered the world of play dates and she is obsessed.
From our yard, I can see several other houses, so I’m comfortable with her riding her bike over to say hello when we see kids outside playing. However, this time when she rode back to give me the latest neighborhood scoop, she told me that so-and-so’s mom said she could stay and play and she’d be back in an hour. Wait…what? I didn’t say yes, and she has no sense of how long an hour actually is! Much to my chagrin, she rode off and I was left standing there wondering what had just happened.
What I had envisioned for her first play date was around the age of seven the other mom, with fresh baked cookies in hand, of course, would walk over, give me her rule book, and kindly take my daughter by the hand while assuring me that she would have a fabulous time playing dress up at her house. Then they’d leave, and I would have hours of quiet to sit and enjoy a glass of lemonade. I digress because that clearly didn’t happen, but a mom can dream, right?
Instead, I walked back to my house and thought about all of the questions that I had and how to address them in a way that didn’t seem too nosy or bossy or any of the other “you are the crazy” lady adjectives you’d like to throw in there.
She came back home (with the other mom and her friend in tow) and I could see how happy and excited and proud of herself she was. I asked the parent of her friend a few questions and invited her friend to come to our house next time.
Next time a play date happens, I won’t be so surprised. Rather, I will make sure to do my due diligence so I feel that she is safe. I didn’t expect to be floundering about trying to figure out the delicate balance between trusting others, and gathering the personal information about them that I needed to assure me that she was in good hands. Rest assured that if you invite my daughter over for a play date, I will show up with my questions ready!