If you have children it's inevitable that, at some point, they'll make friends. Which, of course, means they'll want to hang out with said friends outside of school or daycare. You know what I'm talking about — playdates. Ugh. After years of failed playdates, the word still haunts me. While it's great that my kid is being all social and stuff, there's no denying that the most annoying parts of any play date are the things that keep me from wanting to, you know, do it ever again. Is that too harsh? Maybe. However, in the past kids (and sometimes their parents) have created environments that make for less than stellar times that have essentially scarred both me and my child forever.
It may seem dramatic but when my daughter started preschool at the ripe, old age of three, she gravitated towards the meanest girl in the whole class. She was the wolf pack's leader in true Mean Girls fashion. At first, I passed off her "unique" personality as simply part of being a 3-year-old toddler. Perhaps the girl needed some more experience in social settings to learn how to live in a civilized society. Or, maybe she'd eventually become a bigger bully. I tried to teach my daughter differently, hoping she'd learn how not to behave. If we can't learn from being around someone so, err, different, we can't possibly evolve, right?
Through the course of the two pre-K school years, my daughter and this girl had a dozen playdates and sleepovers because this is what you do when you have kids and tell them to make friends (no matter how awful it feels at the time). As they "graduated" from this stage of their lives, we said goodbye knowing my daughter would attend a different elementary school and, well, it wasn't worth all the effort. She'd make new friends — hopefully a little more kind — and I'd secretly celebrate the absence.
Now that I'm having to go through it all over again with my son, I'm noticing that not much changes on the play date front. It doesn't matter if get-togethers involve different people or kids, the most annoying parts of supervising a play date remain. In the end, I think it helps to walk into the situation with your eyes wide open, so here are all the ways your child's "friend time" will probably make you want to grab an afternoon martini (or three).