Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The "Real" Play Dates

Ok, I'm the first to admit that I've never set up The Dictator on a Play Date. (She's turning three in October.)

This is because there were certain terms I hate after I gave birth, ("Putting her down for a nap," was one. I loathed when I heard people say, at nap time, "I'm just putting her down." Then again, I've had one too many pet dogs who had to be "Put down.")

Before, um, yesterday, I never understood the term Play Date. Really. Should I be calling my friend V., who has a child around the same age as The Dictator, and say, 'Let's have a Play Date?' when really, we both knew our children wouldn't ever "play" together, so much as each play with their own toys at the opposite end of the room and scream when one of them banged their head on the coffee table?

Up until yesterday, The Dictator, quite frankly, couldn't give a rat's ass about other children. At first, I was all like, "Hey, she's just independent. She doesn't follow the crowd!"

Then, as she got older, I was like, "Hey, I wonder what's wrong with her? Why DOESN'T she want to play with other kids?"

Show my kid another 18 month-old and she was way more interested in a stick. So I suppose I would "get together" with other mothers, but I never used the term "Play date" because there was no playing going on.

But, yesterday, we went to my Aunt and Uncle's cottage, where The Dictator's second cousin - no wait, um my first cousins daughter - does that make her a second or third cousin? - whatever. I think second.

Anyway, there was another 2 year old there. And I swear to good, they were bestie friends from the minute they met to the minute we left.

There's just something about the first time your child really, and I mean *really* plays with another child that makes so you fucking happy....and kind of sad.

For the first time ever, The Dictator didn't come up to me a million times a day, she didn't insist on sitting on my lap, or that I walk around with her.

I was like, "Hey Babe! I'm going on a boat ride," kind of expecting her to say, "I wanna come too!" or, "Don't leave me mommy! I need you forever!"

But I didn't get any of that. I got a, "OK, bye!"

Because The Dictator was too busy running around naked with her new friend to care about me going off.

She was so happy, which made me so happy.

Pretty soon she'll be putting on her own socks, and where will that leave me?


Anonymous anne nahm said...

This is terrible, but I love using the phrase, 'putting her down' because it reminds me of boxing, when one person knocks the other person out.

If my kid is screaming, I say, "I'm putting her down" and what I mean is, "she may beat me to death by the end of the day. But this round? She goes down for the count. Ha!"

8:32 AM

Blogger bubandpie said...

"Down for a nap." Ha ha ha! I remember when that phrase haunted me too - what is this "down for a nap" of which you speak? Does it count as "down" if the baby's asleep in the swing? How about the Snugli carrier?

And seeing your child really play - you're right. It's such a joy.

8:32 AM

Anonymous anne nahm said...

This is terrible, but I love using the phrase, 'putting her down' because it reminds me of boxing, when one person knocks the other person out.

If my kid is screaming, I say, "I'm putting her down" and what I mean is, "she may beat me to death by the end of the day. But this round? She goes down for the count. Ha!"

8:33 AM

Blogger Mother Bumper said...

it will leave you in the dust, in the sad mommy dust. You have writen about one of my fears. I'll be a crying heap when it happens but I will also be ordering a pitcher of beer and margaritas to cry in while she learns to have fun with others. Bittersweet, n'est pas?

9:08 AM

Blogger Pendullum said...

Good on you...
Your baby is sprouting wings...
The world is your oyyyyysssttttaaa baby...
Playdates rock...
they are my saving grace in this battle of life...

11:03 AM

Blogger livingcontradiction said...

Ahhh her first friend- how cute!

Eek, imagine when she goes to school.. My mom said my first day of school she cried and cried, expected me to do the same but the sand and pet fish kept me more than entertained while she wiped her eyes and left...

1:57 PM

Blogger Kirsty said...

After dinner tonight the doorbell was the little girl across the street who's about 6 or 7 asking if Liam could come out and play... Liam's 16 months old - too cute

7:34 PM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

'Putting down' - YES. This is one of the most unfortunate terms associated with child-rearing. Except, perhaps, 'child-rearing.'

7:56 PM

Blogger Haley-O said...

That is so sweet! And, I totally agree about the "Put her down" phrase. "Put her to sleep" is also a bad one....

And, it's great that your daughter found a friend. :) When she starts putting her own socks on, you'll be in some other great place. There'll be new things about her that you'll fall even more in love with. :)

8:50 PM

Blogger Sara Bingham said...

After playing with our neighbour's little girl, Natassia, all afternoon, Sabrina (age 3) and I headed to the park afternoon dinner where there was another 3 year old little girl (another neighbour). I encourage Sabrina to play with her...Sabrina started to whimper and quietly said "I can't Natassia will be sad". Talk about breaking my heart with cuteness!

I also don't like the phrases "putting the baby down for a nap" AND "giving the baby a feed". What is up with that!

9:04 PM

Anonymous Naomi said...

I'm with you. I HATE the phrase "putting down" for a nap or what have you. Like you, I think about what I had to do with my cat.

I just say time for bed, or time for a nap. My husband just laughs at me for despising the phrase.

Friends are good. Play dates are good. But crying and being sad is also good. Bittersweet!

4:10 AM

Anonymous Mum downunder said...

In reference to play dates:
We moved about 6mths ago, but prior at our old house 'high maintenance' (who's turning 4 in October) had a friend who she would play with about 3 times a week.
We kept on telling her leading up to the move about 'going away', being in a different place from her friend (who was called Tellie). But it seems no amount of prior warning could have avoided what followed.
A few months after we moved and after high maintenance continually asking 'when is she going to see tellie', one day she just burst into tears and said "mummy, Im never going to see tellie ever again am I?"
So I guess my point is dont under estimate the power of 'play dates' or friends when they're young (not saying that anyone is, just sharing our experience).
My attitude towards the situation and tellie's mum's attitude was "they'll be fine, give them a few weeks. Kids bounce back bla bla bla......
This was mainly because we we're neighbours and we werent 'friends' like the kids we're, so we had no intention of staying in touch. 6mths later she will still ask for her every now and then. Hubby and I are definatley planning to handle anything like that better next time!!

6:40 AM


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