I don’t believe I didn’t blog about this very blogworthy event. The only reason I remembered it, is because it’s come up again, and I am in as two minds about it now, as I was the first time. Liam, the social butterfly was invited on his first official parent-free play date about a month ago.
So I sent my son to somebody’s house alone, somebody who I only know because we happen to drop and fetch our boys at the same times at school. My husband has spent an afternoon with her and her husband at a school party, but I was not there. I know nothing about this family, other than the usual pleasantries one exchanges with the other in between the school run. Oh, I can feel the condemnation from my readers as I write this. DON’T JUDGE! The school approached me and asked if it was ok to give my number to Amit’s mom, of course I was ok with it and I figured it was to arrange a play date. When Amit’s mom called I was expecting her to ask about what my weekend’s look like, if we could meet somewhere and let the kids play… or something along those lines. But she went straight for the jugular. The conversation went something like this: they live one road down from the school and she usually fetches Amit at 2h30pm and would it be ok to take Liam home with her and I could fetch him at the normal time from her home, so the boys could play together. Ok, right there, I should have been like NO! Let’s rather meet in a public area together so that I can ascertain whether you are an axe murderer / child molester / alien. THEN we can go through the interview process. THEN I will first have your kid over at my house to suss him out to make sure he isn’t a Krazy. THEN you can give me a police clearance certificate, your last three payslips and three references and THEN, only THEN, will I allow my son to come over for a visit. But instead I said that I’d need to check with my husband (an avoidance tactic) and that I’d come back to her. I was scared, I don’t know these people, I don’t know what they could do to my Liam, in this day and age who just sends their kid to some stranger’s house, are you crazy? Don’t you read the newspaper? Don’t you know the horrible things that are happening to children by people they KNOW, let alone strangers. My husband thought I was completely overreacting, he insisted that I chat with Liam and if he wanted to go, I should send him. What? Of course he wanted to go, which three year old says no to going to play with his buddy and all his buddy’s fancy toys?
Ok so the point is, I let Liam go. I called Amit’s mom and we chatted and I tried not to interrogate her too much. We agreed that she’d fetch the boys at 2h30pm, and that I’d fetch Liam from her at whatever time I could get off work. For some strange reason I thought I wouldn’t tell her what time I’d pop in, so as to keep her on her toes. Foolish, I know! She assured me that I could call at any time to chat to Liam (I don’t need your approval to call, lady) and that she’d call me if there was any hassle or if Liam wanted to leave (what, my social butterfly, puhleeze). Liam was behaving like he was going to visit Prince Charles, he was so excited. I kept explaining that I wouldn’t fetch him from school, that Amit’s mom would take him home so he could play with Amit and that mom would fetch him from there. He rolled his eyes at me after the fifth re-telling.
On the day I felt quite queasy, I gave Liam lecture upon lecture about behaving, about touching people’s stuff and about saying please and thank you. I really didn’t want to scare the child by reminding him about people trying to harm him, so I just left that topic out. And just like that, I sent my lamb to the slaughter. I only called once and spoke to Liam for about 3 seconds during which time he was laughing and yelling a lot at whoever was in the background (Amit, I assume) and he abruptly told me that he was playing and hung up. Sigh. I raced over there at 4pm. Amit’s mom was carrying the baby on her hip, a gorgeous little thing and the boys were making a racket at the dining room table while colouring in, playing with puzzles and laughing at poo and doodee jokes (it’s a three year old thing). She had laid out a kiddie’s feast for them and they were playing happily while nibbling on the goodies. She gave me a tour while we chatted about our lives, our husbands, our kids. She is really nice. After 45 minutes of begging Liam to tidy up so we could go, we finally left. Once in the car, I drilled that child like an annoying reporter. I asked him what he did, what he said, what he ate, what Amit’s mommy did, what Amit did, where was the baby, where was the helper, where was Amit’s dad, where was the dog. He gave me a blow by blow account and when I was satisfied that he was ok, I left him alone.
So now I’ve received another invitation for Liam to “play date” with someone else. Although I am a little more at ease with this whole play dating thing, I think I will stick to public areas for now. This kid’s social life is fast overtaking mine.