Play-date Lessons Learned
1) When toddler boys use chalk on the patio they are not simply drawing haphazard blue lines. The intensity with which the chalk repeatedly and steadily hits the pavement and the iron clad clenching grip is actually an indication of a vividly clear and rather violent imagination. Although they have yet to be able to draw figures to clearly express their mental visions to the limited imaginations of adults, the chalk drawing theme was a shared understanding, and far from politically correct.
“Mine is a bad guy,” Bailey said.
“Yea, mine is a bad guy too. This (line that looks like all of the other lines) is his gun,” said James.
“Wow, that’s a good gun.”
“Yea, it is.”
And the implications of early exposure to Darth Vador ensue…
2) Even if breakfast occurs 45 minutes before the scheduled playdate, if snack time is initiated by an adult, 6 children 3 and under will demolish 12 smoothies and a container of peanut butter pretzels before I can get my baby up from her morning nap.
3) Children are ready for the pool as soon as the sun shines for more than 5 minutes. And when the oldest child takes after his mother’s dego side, he will be dripping sweat from his hairline to his toes with cheeks so very bright red and slightly swollen within 45 seconds of sun/heat exposure (referring to my son as “dego,” isn’t actually derogatory because according to urban dictionary “dego” originated from the spanish/italian name for James. Appropriate name if I ever heard of one.)
4) Three year olds and almost three year olds are terrible at sharing. This is an especially relevant lesson in regards to my three year old. He was an awful kind of terrible. My apologies to all playmate participants from today until he leaves for college.
5) My son is not nice to girls yet. Whip lash pushing, ramming riding cars into fences, stealing objects out of hands, hoarding entire bowls of grapes, etc, etc, etc. He will probably apologize once he realizes that befriending his girl cousins will greatly behoove his high school social life. Until that day, however, the carpet on the time-out step is going to wear rather quickly from being sat on so frequently.
6) At a play-date, announcing “I have to Poop” is perfectly appropriate and acceptable behavior. Such an announcement is actually appreciated by the mother as she in charge of wiping, and poop surprises are the worst kind.
7) The first time James said, “I’m nervous,” and thats the reason ” I hit/pushed/was terrible all day” was slightly impressive. He identified his feelings using a descriptive word. The 10th time he said it, however, is only an indication, that I, his mother, was well worked by toddler manipulation and should have kept to “stay in time-out until you are ready to play nice.” From now on, I realize “I’m nervous,” should be put into the same category as “I’m too busy,” “My back hurts,” “My feet are swollen,” and “I have a headache,” as things James says when he wants to get out of doing other things that he heard his mother say first to get out of things she doesn’t want to do and makes Jim do instead.
8) The self sufficiency of Josie and Rita is awesome. Rita pretty much lays down anywhere she is put, and Josie asks for nothing and cleans up granola bars and glasses left on the patio. Josie’s post-play date decision to learn how to open locked doors when she is napping, however, is not appreciated, and if someone, anyone could tell me how to keep her in bed I’d maybe remain sane!!!
9) Play-dates with other moms who put their crawling babies on dirty floors, and don’t care about messes/pushing/hitting/high sugar intake are the only ones I should ever attend or host. They are also the most fun.
10) Children (my children) most want to have a play-date once it is over. While playing with other children who don’t live next door remains an option, its all “she stole my toy, I’m so nervous.” As they are piling in the mini-van ready to go home, its “stay, I want to play, you are my friend, smile/giggle/smile/giggle” Grass is always greener, even when you are three.