Sigh. Playdates. Somehow between the time we were kids and the time we had kids -- they turned into such a freakin' production. Remember back in the day when you'd call one of your friends (from the land line on the one phone in your house) and ask for him/her to come over -- and as long as both of your moms said it was fine, you had, like, an entire day of fun together?
Yeah, that's just not the case anymore as far as our poor kiddos go. Nope. Instead of play time, they have play "dates." That have to be scheduled and such.
Oh, and they also seem to have a set of rules that go along with them that simply cannot be broken.
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Here are the seven unspoken guidelines for playdates. You damn well better be following them.
- You must provide at least two weeks notice -- Don't even think about trying to book a child to come to your house within a 14-day window. That's just stupid. And pretty insulting to the kid's mom, because duh -- she has a life, you know.
- Clear your calendar -- If your child is invited to a home he/she has never been to before, there's a pretty good chance you will be expected to stay at said playdate in the event that the children do not mesh well together. And there are no guarantees that you and the mom will hit it off, so be prepared for a few awkward, silent moments.
- There's a two-hour time limit -- Yep. Two. Hours. That's all the time your child is allowed to stay at a friend's house, and vice versa. And two hours is the magic number in between drop-off and pick-up, so you'll need to build travel time into your busy schedule. Two hours. Not a moment more, not a moment less.
- Snacks are strictly regulated -- If you have not received a list of what little Johnny is and is not allowed to eat, you need to play it safe when bringing out the snacks. And that means whatever you serve needs to be all natural, organic, with no traces of dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, nuts, meat, or anything else remotely delicious.
- There must be imaginative play -- It doesn't matter if it's pouring rain and the kids are starting to get a little edgy and bored. Do not even think for one second of popping in a DVD or allowing them to play a (gasp!) video game. They need to explore, create, dream, or a combination of the three during every minute of that two hours.
- Reciprocation is expected -- If your kid goes to Johnny's on Saturday, you better go ahead and invite Johnny to come over to your house two Saturdays from then. It's only fair. And you'll really look like an asshole if you don't extend an invitation.
- A thank-you text is also expected -- Or email. Or Facebook message. Hell, even a tweet telling Johnny's mom what a wonderful time Scotty had at his house on Saturday is an absolute MUST. If you don't send one, she'll think you a.) are an ungrateful bitch, and b.) don't want your kid associating with Johnny ever again.
Do "playdates" drive you bananas?
Image via Mieke Dalle/Corbis