Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Does every playdate end like this?

I've joined a stay at home parents' group here in Columbia, Maryland, called Parents AT Home or PATH. The group is made up of parents and other caregivers who have decided to stay at home because of the great value it has for the child's or children's development. One of the activities the group promotes is play groups.

Play groups are small groups of similarly aged children who get together once or a few times a week to play together. The group can meet at parents' homes or go out to activities. The group I was placed in is going to the library on Fridays for story time. Also, we met today at my home for a play date, where the kids play together and learn to interact socially, or even just get used to other pint-sized people playing with their stuff.

Our group is small, just three children: Jacob, Chloe and Caroline. We played in the family room since that had the most toys and is the most kid-friendly room in the house. Things went pretty well. The children played together mostly. Occasionally one would wander off to a different part of the room. The headless musical rocking horse was popular but only once did Jacob and Caroline want to ride at the same time. They played with the musical instruments. Chloe would have decapitated one of her playmates if they had been in the line of the cymbal she threw. Whew, no one suffered from separation anxiety this time!

But toward the end of the playdate, Jacob and Chloe were playing with the blocks by the window and we parents weren't paying attention. All of the sudden, Chloe was crying. Well, not at first. She had that open-mouthed, look-like-I'm-crying-with-no-sound-coming-out face for about 20 seconds and then she hit the high notes. I think Jacob might have whacked her with the block cart, but there was no real evidence. Her mom comforted her. Caroline came over to give Chloe a kiss and hug, but she tripped on the way. Then she started crying in pitch with Chloe. I watched for Jacob to fall next. He didn't. I picked up Jacob. Chloe began to calm down. Chloe's mom brought her over to Jacob to give him a kiss. I was bending over holding him. Chloe clonked my head and started crying again. We parents had a good laugh; I hope the kids understood. We decided playdate was over.

I hope all playdate don't end this way. I hope even more that it wasn't just this play date that ended this way!

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