Monday, 18 October 2010

Play hate confession

Don't get me wrong, I love my friends children.

But there is nothing like having a chum over for tea to create mayhem.

It started the moment we got out of the school gates.

'But I want to sit right at the back of the car,' moaned The Peaceful One.

'Well, I promised the girls that they could sit there today.' I explained.

Cue ear-piercing scream and a very red-faced child with angry tears streaming down his face, throwing himself around the car.

Then The Goddess woke up from her nap and cried so hard that her car seat started rocking.

Minxy and her pal then proceeded to poke fun at The Peaceful One for the duration of the very brief, yet stressful journey home.

In my head, I was thinking 'Here we go again.'

I was always under the impression that having a friend round was supposed to be fun.

The big deal for the guest is always to play in the other person's bedroom, eat food you don't have at home and leave having had a great time.

The reality is sometimes different.

In my experience, the guest is usually well-mannered, eats everything you give to them without complaint, and is generally easy street.

Whereas my kids have forgotten how to share, eat nicely and at some point there are tears.

Minxy often forgets she has a brother and ditches him like a hot potato. With that there is much door slamming and hastily made notes saying 'No boys a loud' (I ignore the spelling as she is only six), which is pretty tricky as they share a room.

He then comes protesting that he's being left out, I then try the 'let's include and not exclude' approach. That works for about five minutes until somebody comes running to me because they're upset.

It's pretty exhausting to be honest, but who am I to deny my children a social life?

I'm more than happy to do an activity with the guest (park, baking, making) but I like the fact that children can have a moment to themselves without the ever present adult watching over them.

To be fair, Minxy and her pal decided to try and write a story together, which was lovely, but we had a right ol' hoo ha along the way.

I'm going to try and have double play dates in the future, just to ease the 'integration issues', but I'm guessing I've got years of this to come.

What do you do to make play dates go smoothly?

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