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Thursday, March 10, 2011  

Dance Card

Remember play dates when you were a kid? Me either. In fact, the first time I ever heard the phrase was on an episode of Friends. For a long time, whenever I heard it I would also hear Chandler in my head telling Rachel, "You just turned [Ross] on and sent him on a date with a stripper." Eventually, though, I got over that, and now you'll have to.

But it would be awfully get-off-my-lawn of me to complain about how what used to be "Can I go over to _____'s house?" has evolved into a ritual of scheduling and preparation not unlike arranging multilateral peace talks. But it has taken a while for us to get the hang of it.

Maybe part of that is because we're lucky enough to live on a block with a half-dozen other children under eight, so we haven't had to work at it all that hard. Indeed, it's not at all uncommon for M. Edium to ask, "Can I go over to _____'s house?" anyway. But none of those kids, even though we consider them all his friends, goes to either of his schools. He has friends there too, so why shouldn't he get a chance to hang out with them as well? Hence the play date thing.

Trash and I had good intentions, but got off to a slow start. I was on a field trip with his Montessori school and so had plenty of time to work up the nerve to approach the mom of one of M. Edium's favorite classmates to set something up. And when I had, I realized that I had only the vaguest idea of when to schedule it. Mainly out of blind luck, I managed to come up with something that slotted in between school, karate, gymnastics, and swimming, and felt pretty proud of it. Trash would have been prouder if it hadn't been on her birthday.

Not that Trash has a perfect record either. I won't get into details, but although she did a fine job of getting one of "her" first play dates on the calendar, it was with the wrong kid.

Turns out it's much easier with kindergarten classmates than with the Montessori kids. They're all in afternoon kindergarten class just like M. Edium is, so they tend to have their weekday mornings free. M. Edium goes to Montessori four days a week, so he only has Friday mornings free. Thus we have developed a friction-free system whereby a different kid (or kids) can be dropped interchangeably into that handy slot on the weekly schedule. It's just a question of picking a kid and determining whether it's going to be at home or away. Like scheduling a high school football season for one team, except you only have to do it a week or two at a time.

Through this system, we've had a play date for M. Edium every Friday morning going back to mid-January. Some have been at our house, others at the other kids' house, and a few have already been reciprocated. The only problem is keeping them all in our heads, because you don't want to be talking to one parent about a play date and have to say, "Oh, sorry, we can't do four Fridays from now because he has a play date with Tucker that day because his original play date with Chloe got cancelled after Aidan and Hayden and Jayden had to reschedule with the Ians." I don't know the etiquette, but who wants to come off that slutty?

posted by M. Giant 9:34 PM 0 comments


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