My four-year-old daughter does not allow grass to grow under her feet. In fact, I am sure I spend more time on her appointments than my own in any given week. She has ballet, too many birthday parties and of course her personal favorite – play dates. Some times her baby brother gets to tag along, but for the most part she prefers all girls play dates including dress-up, good snacks and lots of high pitch screaming. So imagine her surprise, when her 20-month-old brother spread his wings this week and had his first very own play date; no girls allowed.
“Why can’t I go,” she asks. “Because they are much younger than you, they’re babies,” I reply thinking the term was a deterrent. “Well, I know how to play with babies,” she responds “I do it all the time. I play with him every day.” That was just the beginning of a 5-minute dialog on why she should be allowed to attend his play date, but I wasn’t budging.
Now he attends a day care, three days per week and knows all his classmates by name, especially the girls. But his first play date was not with a classmate, it was with two cousins that he doesn’t get to see often. All three of them were born in 2011, one in January one in April and Garrett in July. One recently moved to Greenville and one lives in Georgia, the later was the motivation to get these boys together.
Their auntie, a dear friend of mine agreed to host their get together. I’m not sure Garrett knew what I meant when I picked him up early and said we were going to a play date, but I do know he was surprised his sister was not in tow. “Where’s sissy,” he asked on the way. “She’s still at school,” I said. “This is your play date.”
When we arrive he walks up the sidewalk kind of slow. He is looking at the open garage door, lots of toys and mini vehicles and two little boys about his size. He doesn’t speak, but makes his way to the bright red tricycle. Before he mounts, the oldest of the three approaches gently and asks his auntie “who’s this?” She makes the three way introduction and I ask Garrett to give the boys a pound. I know, I know, in some circles it may be considered a terrorist threat, but in my circle it’s a peaceful gesture. The boys are silent, give a few pounds and immediately make their way to separate toys to play. For two hours, they are quiet; pleasant, but silent and I am thinking this is a bust. They didn’t fuss, they didn’t hit each other, they were just chilling.
And all I can think of is how noisy Morgan’s play dates are compared to this one. How many times I have to remind her to use her inside voice and not to run and how come she can’t paint her nails for the 50th time. Are boys really that different? Is it their age? Will this be their dynamic when they are together? Were they just feeling each other out? Or are they psyching me out? I have no idea. But I do know that so far, so good. I made it through the first of many all boy play dates.