Friday, April 8, 2011

The Hit and Run Playdate

George and I were alone this afternoon with no particular plan. "Mom, let's do something FUN!" He looked at me with excited eyes. I paused for a minute, not wanting to commit to anything outrageous. I thought maybe a trip to the library, or perhaps a museum, although I didn't really feel like driving downtown. We haven't taken many field trips this year. "Can I have a playdate!?" I was almost surprised that he knew the word "playdate." Perhaps he had heard the mothers discussing the concept in the halls of the preschool. George doesn't really have playdates. Andrew, when he was in 3's preschool, still belonged to two playgroups and had playdates in between. George plays with his siblings and his siblings friends. Overcome by guilt, I pulled the preschool list and took out my cell phone. "Who would you like to play with, Honey. I'll call their mommy. They might be busy, but we'll try, okay?" "Bobby, Mom, I want to play with Bobby." I called and left a message. "Bobby's not home. Anyone else?" "Aiden, Mom." I called and left another message. "How about Allison?" I asked hopefully, I liked talking to Allison's mom in the hallway. "I don't like girls. Try Tyler's Mom." I called and left another message, and then another. I think I called five mothers in total and left messages with all but one. No luck, but we could go on a field trip. George wanted to go downtown to the 'ball pit' at the Science Center. Fine. We put on shoes and coats and headed out the door. The phone rang. "Oh, Hi, yes, yes, I called just a few minutes ago. No big deal, just wondering if the boys could play together. George has been so excited to play with your son." We talked. She wanted us to come over to her place so she could put her littler one down for a nap. Yes, we could do that. Her little one screamed in the background. It was the normal, tired kind of fussing, but she probably only caught a third of what I actually said. She suggested that I leave George to play, so I could get a few things done. I suggested that it was 'too much,' and I'd like to get to know her, it is really fine. We proceeded politely, with background screaming, until it appeared that it might be helpful if I left George. She could take care of a few things while the boys played and her other one napped - I remember those days. Sometimes two happy toddlers are easier than one bored toddler. Yes, I would leave George, but I decided I wouldn't hurry and leave plenty of time for us moms to chat. These are new preschool friends. I would be overly polite and try hard to remember what it was like when my oldest was four. George and I already had coats on, so I just grabbed the same preschool list with the addresses and proceeded out the door. I had never been to her house. We arrived and were welcomed in. They were finishing lunch, which she hadn't mentioned on the phone. The boys started playing soon enough. We talked for a little while. And then, eventually, we chose a good time for me to return and I left. At home, I ran around like a crazy person. I was on the phone, on my e-mail, and folding laundry all at the same time. One of the other moms called while I was on the phone, but couldn't click over. I'd call her back. I returned to pick up George on time - maybe even early - and the boys had played together wonderfully. The mom was pleased and seemed to have had a relaxing time with her little one, although the nap obviously didn't happen. But, that is how things go sometimes, right? She was super-nice and I left feeling like I wish I hadn't waited until towards the end of the year to get to know her better. I was home in plenty of time for Victoria and Andrew to get off the bus. The afternoon went smoothly. Andrew had a great day at school. He received a good report card. We had cupcakes and talked about school. The kids played their piano lessons. We went to Tae Kwon Do. The rest of the evening would be a huge rush to make it to cub scouts. I had a brief moment to check that message from the other mom. "Hi, this is Caroline. Just calling to check in. I figured you had gotten lost at first, but so strange that you aren't here yet. Um. Just hope everything is okay." Oh, oh, oh, oh DEAR. I called her back. "Hi, Caroline, how are you?" "Fine, everything okay?" "Well, I am a crazy person, but I think this morning I found the most gracious woman in Ohio." So, what is the correct protocol when you have invited yourself over to a new friend's house completely unannounced and left your child for a playdate? I mean, this does happen to other people in real life, right, not just on bad sit coms?