Ninety: Playdate

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato

Monday, March 31st

I’ve observed that children in my daughter’s kindergarten class have a playdate ritual. The day of the after school event, the two kids will pair up for every possible activity together. It’s as if committing to the hour and a half of play wasn’t enough – they want to be ultimately sure that they took every possible step to make this a day devoted to the other. I like that! (If only my romantic dates had that same fervor and intensity when I was dating…well, one suitor lived up to that bill and I married him.)

Let me rewind a bit. My daughter’s playdate was with a friend’s daughter. Her mother and I met in a class, and then we found out we both had daughters entering kindergarten. Independent of maternal influence and meddling, our daughters and husbands met at a summer playdate for incoming kindies…and the girls became buddies. They haven’t been the inseparable pair they were on those first few days, but they like one another enough.

My friend had an afternoon appointment and asked if a playdate was possible. Her daughter would ride the bus home with mine and they would play their hearts out for the afternoon. Easy peasy, right? My daughter was a little nervous about the play date. Then on the day of, I received a text from my friend saying that her daughter had some anxiety over the playdate. They talked it out and drew a plan of what might happen and the daughter agreed it was a good plan. Uh oh. Now I was waiting by my phone for the call that they play date just wouldn’t happen due to irreconcilable differences. But the call never came. And wonder of all wonders, when the bus stopped two little smiling faces popped out of the first seat and onto the sidewalk to look at the roly-poly my son and I had found. YES! It’s on!

The crowning moment of glory was finding out that the girls had buddied up all day together. They participated in the tried and true ritual of their peers, and through that had bonded. It was super sweet. The playdate rolled along. In fact, I was surprised when I saw my friend at the other end of the sidewalk. The kids were still playing. Drive around the block and wait until they’ve dumped all the bubble fluid all over their cute little outfits before you come to pick your daughter up. Please.

That was yesterday. Today, you would never have known that they’d even met before. Each child was engaged in her own activity to settle into the classroom. There’s something interesting about that. Children can certainly live in the present moment in a way that an adult often fails to.

Do you truly and honestly give your company your undivided attention?

More…

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