The Third Play Date

Hot on the heels of the second one, no less.

There is one girl in school that is consistently the last or second-to-last kid to get picked up at the end of the day. She alternates with nooshkin for those positions.

Naturally, the girls have become serious frenemies. Like, to the point of one day they play really nicely together, and the next day they have bite marks on their respective hands because they couldn’t share.
It’s great, this parenting thing.

So on Sunday, I was schmoozing with other mother about these girls and their crazy relationship. Turns out, other mother and I have very similar parenting views, key among them that we understand how much energy our daughters’ have and they need an expressive outlet for it. Guess who’s going to start jazz dance after Passover?

Anyway, as we were talking and occasionally keeping eyes on our kids, nooshkin and the other girl were playing quite happily in the park. As it gets later and later we wrap up the conversation and tell the girls it’s time to go home. They both come running up to us, their words tripping over each other, just like their feet: “can we play together at my house today? please please pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?

(yes, it really was that drawn out. Also, I really need to come up with some better pseudonyms for all these other kids and mothers)

Other mother and I looked at each other and said “Sure, but not today. Later this week would be better.”
Nooshkin immediately turned to her friend and said “What day is better for you? Tomorrow or Friday?”

After some hemming and hawing, it turned out that Wednesday was the best day for the play date.

The whole week, nooshkin would ask me “I’m going to play today?” and I would have to respond “No, today isn’t Wednesday.”
This conversation was on loop for three days, multiple times each day.

Finally, Wednesday dawned. Nooshkin could not contain herself; but, she knew that she needed to be on her best behavior from minute 1 so she could go play with her friend.
And god bless her, she was.

Per her request, I went to school to meet up with other mother and escort the girls to her house. Everything went super smoothly, and other mother and I exchanged details. I walked home by myself and marveled at how much both the nooshkin and I had grown since the first play date. I do think I’m beginning to get the hang of this.

Well, sort of. I still kept my shoes on, but at least I wasn’t constantly looking at my phone.

The Hubby came home to find me cooking dinner in a quiet, clean house, and was definitely surprised when I said that nooshkin was still on her play date. Five minutes later I received the first whatsapp of the evening – “We’re on our way to you, nooshkin was great!”

At this point, I have no doubt that there will be many more play dates, at home and abroad. I finally think I can handle them (and without an entire bottle of wine too).

oh, happy days!

oh, happy days!

The Second Play Date

The nooshkin has, naturally, been asking for more and more play dates since the first one.

I, naturally, have been trying to postpone the next one until her tenth birthday.

Usually she corners me as I pick her up at the end of the day. There are always a few other kids waiting for their parents, and therefore her choice du jour changes each day.
Naturally, exhaustion (hers and mine) convinces her to come home with me. That and promises of yummy food and/or a play date with the neighbor across the hall.

This time….she caught me off guard. Because this time, the choice du jour‘s mother was there. And she didn’t mind.
And just like that, the nooshkin was on a completely expected, totally impromptu, very last-minute play date.

I walked with them to their house and went up for a few minutes at the nooshkin’s request. She practically threw me out a few minutes later, having been fully introduced to her friend’s collection of markers.

As I said goodbye, I exchanged numbers with the second other mother and asked her when I should come back. Her response? “Oh, you know – whenever.”

The only thing worse, I discovered, than a play date that doubles in length, is one with, seemingly, no end in sight.

I got back home and was fully expecting a repeat of what had happened the previous play date. But, as luck would have it, about an hour later I got a text message from the mother that read:
Nooshkin is sad, can you come pick her up?

My response: Of course (naturally)

When I arrived, the mother explained that it was bath time and her daughter wanted nooshkin to join her, but since nooshkin didn’t have a change of clothes she couldn’t, and both girls dissolved into hysterical tears. Once the girls calmed down, nooshkin said thank you (so did I), and we promised that next time her friend could come to our house.

Nooshkin promptly asked: “Can she take a bath with me?”

My response: “Nope”

P.S. the next morning I received another text message from the mother, basically saying that her daughter loves nooshkin and wants her to come over a play all the time. Yay?

(update: links are working! I’m a genius…)

The First Play Date

Well, it’s been about two weeks since it happened, and I think I have calmed down enough to document what happened.

As the title suggests, my nooshkin had her first play date a few weeks ago.

Before you start thinking that this Restless Mama is horrible and deserves the most sarcastic Mother-of-the-Year award ever, the nooshkin has been on play dates before. The family across the hall has a three-year-old girl as well, and they happen to be in the same group at pre-school this year. They are really good together and are close to mastering the art of Frienemy-ship before they turn four.
Really, it’s an impressive thing to watch.

Anyway, they play together after school constantly and have done so for about two years (since the neighbors moved in). We take turns hosting, and because of the proximity the front doors are almost always open, so there’s a lot of back-and-forth. It’s cute; annoying, but cute.

It also means that, until now, play dates meant 30 minutes maximum and involved quite a few laps across the hallway.

So as far as I was concerned, this was the First Play Date.
Heck, let’s be honest, it was the FIRST PLAY DATE, caps lock and all.

The other mother and I had arranged this the week prior; I tried to remember play dates from my own childhood and from other mommy-friends of mine and figured that the girls would go home together after school, play for an hour or two, and then I would pick up the nooshkin and bring her home.

Well, I was right about the first part. Sort of.

The hubby suggested that I go to school at 2pm to facilitate in the send off, since it was out-of-the-ordinary for us (nooshkin is usually in school until 5pm). I met the dad of the girl she was going to hang out with, and we schmoozed for a bit while the girls got ready to leave. We all left together, and her suggested that I walk with them to their house. “Sure” I said. It’s not like I had anything better to do.

We all arrived safe and sound, and the girls immediately went to play. I was invited to hang out with the parents while they multi-tasked as only professional parents can do. In the span of two hours the girls played, I watched their newborn while the parents cleaned and made lunch and then ate said lunch since the girls were too busy playing.

It was a fairly relaxing play date; I was kind of happy with how it turned out and I was mentally prepared to have similar play dates at our house when the time came.

But then – the dad started packing a bag. With park equipment. And while I’m sure my face registered a mask of calm my insides were going “Wait one gosh-darn minute here!”

While the dad was packing the bag he said that they were planning to go to Park Leumi, a fairly big park that’s about a 5 minute drive away. I knew where the park was, and we had gone with the nooshkin a few times before. But I also knew that you don’t pack up a bag and put your kid in the car for a measly 20 minutes at a park.

Suddenly my two-hour chill session morphed into a four-hour plus adventure, complete with stale bread and ducks.

I did some quick mental calculations: we had already taken away the (initial) First Play Date with this girl because the nooshkin had misbehaved. But she had been so good for the whole week; I knew she was looking forward to this and she really had earned it. They had my phone number, and I had theirs.

So I smiled and said, “Sure. No big deal.”

I helped them take everything down to the car, and then pulled the nooshkin aside. I gave her a little pep talk, since she had never done anything with parents’ of a friend without either me or the hubby being within shouting distance. If she seemed nervous it didn’t show, and she gave me a big hug and kiss before she got in the car.
And they drove off.

There was plenty to do at home, but I didn’t want to get too involved in something. I kept telling myself that I was being ridiculous, that everything would be fine.

But I turned my phone on LOUD and kept my shoes on. I kept telling myself that it would be okay; nooshkin is a big girl, and she understood that this was something very extra special and was not about to screw it up.
But I still couldn’t calm down enough.

And then Whatsapp buzzed. And it was the sweetest, most reassuring sound ever.
Picture after picture after picture, of the girls at the park. Holding hands, feeding the ducks, running and playing.
The fist around my heart opened, and the worry evaporated and floated away like a lost balloon. I took a deep breath – I didn’t realize I was holding it! – and continued washing the dishes.

Time passed; I moved from the dishes to making dinner, to putting away laundry. And then I noticed that it was dark outside. But not pre-dusk dark; it was DARK. The clock said 6:10 pm and that lost balloon found itself attached to my wrist.

Trying to keep cool, I Whatsapped the mother with something innocuous like “Hey, how’s it going?” And I finally got a response five minutes later. “We’re on our way back, see you downstairs!”

The nooshkin was exhausted; the other mom said she was a really good girl and behaved herself. I beamed like the proud mama I am, said “Thanks, we’ll do this again soon!” and went inside.

I have no doubt that there will be more play dates in the future. But not for a while. Mommy needs to regroup first.