Thursday, June 3, 2010

Play Date Dilemma

Okay shouldn't playdates be simple?  Kids get together, they play, they go home. 

E has made a friend at the new school. Unfortunately, however, it's a boy.  A nine year old boy.  E is 6 (turning 7 soon).  We'll call him T.  Now, I wasn't sure about this from the start.  He's older and he's a boy.

Call me oldfashioned but I'd prefer her to make friends with the girls.  I don't mind if she has boy friends, I just would like her primary friend to be a girl.  Why?  I guess it boils down to girls play similar games, think about the same things, talk about the same things and when they get older I won't have to worry about anything inappropriate going on.  As both hubs and I experienced abuse in our childhood, we are completely paranoid with this. So when E started singing about how she loves T and that he's her boyfriend and T wants to take her out on a date etc.. that set off alarm bells in my head.  She's only 6 for crying out loud. 
Which is probably why the whole older boy thing bothers me. Still I allowed her to go to his birthday, despite the fact that she was the only girl invited.  Because it's not about the special needs factor, it's not.  He's a sweet boy, polite and while he's a little rambunctious most 9 year old boys are.  So hubs scoped out the house and the mother and told me he thought it was fine.  Okay then.  Since then E has been a little less gushy over T and I thought maybe it was waning a little.  Either that or she knew it was irking us when she'd proclaim her love for him so she stopped doing it. 

He'd been calling for a playdate. Finally, I worked out a time that was convenience and we invited him over for a playdate.  At first he said yes then his mom called back and said he changed his mind, that's what he does.  E was crushed.  She actually cried because he had changed his mind.  Then they called back about 15 minutes later, he wanted to come after all. 

So T comes and plays and the only real hitch is that every time he's a little annoyed with E, he tells her he never wants to see her again, he never wants to play with her again etc. and he seems more interested in playing with O than E at times.  Well, O is a boy.  E said that T quite often says things like that to her at school.   While we assured her he was either joking or not serious it still was hurting her feelings and spoiling the playdate for her so she didn't want to go and play with O and T.  Well, we aren't comfortable leaving a relatively strange boy play with our 3 year old so we encouraged her to go back and play. (See the paranoia I was talking about). 

Finally, I had to step in and explain to T that he was hurting her feelings and to stop saying those things etc.  He said sorry and from then on the rest of the visit went just fine. 

So it's two days later and there's an event at the school. We all go, it's crowded and we see T.  He says hi over and over and over again to us and we say hi while trying to still look at what we're doing.  He said hi to O and O shy in crowds drew back a little and you could tell T didn't understand why O wasn't all enthusiastic to see him etc.  I see T's mom in the hallway and I smile and say Hello while I'm trying to manoeuver my kids through the crowd to the gym.  While there, T climbs up in the bleachers behind us, we smile but we're focussed on our kids and watching E's class perform. 

A little lengthy I know, but I am going somewhere with this.  Later on when we got home, I received a phone call from T's mom wanting to know if I was "pissed" at them.  ?!?!  Pardon me?  Well, she said it seemed like I was a little pissed with them and wondered what T had done at our house, if he didn't behave etc.  I was flabbergasted.  I was very firm with her when I told her that not only had I said hi to T repeatedly, I had also smiled and said hello to her as well in the hallway while I was trying to herd my three children through a very crowded room.  That I was sorry if she thought I was being pissy but I was focussed more on keeping track of my kids.  She backtracked a little and then said well T kept asking her if E's mom was mad at him etc. and that she said hello to E and E didn't say hi back.  Give me a break.  She was in her class line-up walking into the gym, she was probably more focussed on trying to find her parents in the crowd than saying hi to T's mom.  Still, she does have a tendency to be off in her own little world. You think she's aware of someone but she really isn't and I have to prompt her to answer. 

We ended up chatting a little, making conversation. I assured her that T was fine when he was over.  Did mention to her about him saying not wanting to be friends frequently and she affirmed that he does do that.  That's it. 

I've only met this woman once when I dropped E off at the party.  It's not like we were in the habit of seeing each other. So I don't really know what she expected of me.  Did she expect that I would stop and have a little chat with her?  In my mind, really, I was trying to get the kids into the gym so we could find a seat to watch E perform.  That's it

After talking to K, he's completely changed his opinion of the situation and is now against letting E go over and play.  Partly because earlier in the day we had a message on our answering machine asking if we'd seen T.  Apparently he had gone to someone else's house after school and his mom couldn't find him.  He rides his bike to and from school and is fairly independant that way.  So he should be. He's nine.  E, however, is not and the worry is if she goes to his house, will his mother let them go and do anything they want?  E has a hard time remembering her address and phone number so if she got lost, she'd be at a real disadvantage. We're working on the whole memorization thing but it just takes E a little longer to get it.  So now I'm both paranoid and controlling. 

Anyways, this thing just totally bothers me that this woman would call me up like that.  On the one hand, it was good she cleared the air but on the other hand, it makes me want to draw back from the connection completely.  She may be being overly sensitive on behalf of her kid but still usually you give the benefit of the doubt and see what happens the next time you meet.   As my mother would tell me.. it's not always about you, Zee.

Am I totally crazy and oldfashioned in not wanting my daughter to really play with an older boy?  Was she completely off her rocker to put me on the spot like that?

I don't know.  I guess I'm going to have to let it fester a little and hope he doesn't call this week.

3 comments:

  1. I might have a little different perspective than most -- my son has Asperger's and does a lot of the same stuff this boy does. He just doesn't get social stuff at all. He is very naive and plays with much younger kids.

    That said, I go to great lengths to teach him what is appropriate and what is not. It is not OK to tell someone you never want to see them again, etc. He needs to follow the rules just like everyone else.

    It sounds like a little time a part might be a good thing. It might be time to set up some play dates with some of the little girls in the neighborhood.

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  2. Your daughter and my son are close in age. Last summer there was a neighborhood boy who kept coming around to play...he was a couple of years older. I really watched that closely because of the age difference. I did finally have to say to my son that I didn't think it was a good idea for this child to come by and play anymore. A couple of years when you are small are a real gap. So I don't think you are out of line to try to guide your daughter in her friendships. It's tricky to do. But I think having friends of a similar age is benificial for our kids.

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  3. I agree with you...not only is that a big age difference in kid years, but boys and girls are so different. See how her feelings were hurt, but little boys just don't "get" it? Little girls her own age would be better, don't feel old fashioned about feeling that way.

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