I had a friend mention to me a few months back about the idea of setting up a …’play date’. This particular friend I love and adore and feel I am in my ‘safe place’ with and can let her know my true feelings about many topics, one in particular, my thoughts on the word ‘play date’.
Right after she dropped those words into my presence as we sat at the dinner table discussing our lives, the words ‘I fucking hate that word.’ fell right out of my mouth She was really puzzled. ‘What word? You don’t like the word ‘play date’? I realized right after she phrased it, the exact same way I had said it— just exactly how ridiculous it sounded.
YES! I HATE the word PLAY DATE. I don’t even understand what the word play date even means. Does it mean we are setting up a date for our kids to play? Do I hang out with you, too? Do I participate in the play date with the kids? Or do I just drop my kid off and bid ya all farewell? “Bon-voyage! I am off to sit in total peace while you entertain my off the wall crazy person who demands a particular chocolate chip granola bar every third second and who explains in deep detail her bodily functions and shares her thoughts about how her parents are raising her incorrectly because they won’t allow her to sacrifice a baby lamb and put its blood on our front door to save her family. (Exodus 12:13)
I vaguely remember the idea of ‘play dates’ coming up when I was a nanny in college. However, before that, there were no ‘play dates’. There were mothers telling their children to get the hell out of the house before they unleashed the wooden spoon from the punishment drawer. My mom would open the garage and throw the bikes and helmets into the driveway and tell us to be on our way. That was how she indulged in a moment of peace. Looking back, I realize that was a genius move.
I actually remember being Haydan’s age (roughly 1989) peddling my bike around the neighborhood…alone. I apparently hadn’t tied my shoe all the way and the lace had wrapped itself around the pedal of the bicycle. It was so tightly wound to the bike that I couldn’t get myself off the bike or remove my foot from the shoe. So, I just sat in the driveway screaming until about an hour later a neighbor came by and noticed me in a panic. She cut the shoe lace off, and I was back at it an hour later…with a different pair of shoes on. I wish I had a photo of that.
Nowadays, as a parent, I am forced to not only set up these ‘play dates’ for my daughter but I have to actually show her how to engage in play with her friends. If someone’s being a little jerk, we parents are supposed to intervene. Who am I kidding, I am sure I have done it! I remember a kid pulling my pants down as I was walking up a flight of stairs to a friends house in second grade. I was so mortified. However, seeing there was no parental supervision nor a parent to tell this little asshole kid that what he did was not cool, I had to handle the situation ON MY OWN. I turned around and socked him square in the jaw. Maybe it wasn’t the best approach, however, let me tell ya, he never once tried to pull my pants down ever again.
What about ‘mom play dates’? Does that just fall under ‘ladies night out’? I seem to not hear as much about ‘ladies night out’ as I do hear of the endless ‘play dates’. How about a night where the men take the kids and the ladies hit the town. Now that I am all for…
So I have compiled a list of things that I will do on my first ‘Play Date’ at my house:
- Welcome kids, this is Play Date at Ashley Alteman’s House. Today, we will start with one of the most entertaining activities on the planet: Scrubbing the toilet! Each one of you will get to take a turn with the magical wand and *scrub*scrub*scrub*. Not enough to go around? Problem solved, I have ANOTHER toilet where we can play this game too! Winner gets to scrub the tub! I even have a different shiny sponge for the tub!
- Second, this game is called—learn your bar tending skills. I will teach the children the proper technique to make a Raspberry Lemon Drop martini and teach them the proper shaker techniques. Of course, I will not let them sample the drinks, uh hello—that would be irresponsible. I will be the judge when it comes to the perfect cocktail and the winner will get the best prize of all—-A HIGH FIVE FROM ME! Not to mention, I will serve as a reference down the line when they apply for their first bar tending gig.
- Third: I think it is really important for every child to thoroughly know how to detail a car. Most kids have no idea that the tires need a good polish after a car wash and I have just the kit for it. The winner will get to take me for a spin around the block on ….the back of their banana seat bicycle. I might even throw in a bike helmet for shits and giggles—-SAFETY FIRST!
- Lastly, and quite certainly, most important- I will give them all the run downs for fake ID’s. I will let them know that the ID’s the check cashing joints sell for $8 a pop never work. And when I say never, I mean they only work at drive through liquor stores in Arizona…or at least they did for me.
Of course, I will also teach them the ins and outs of vacuum operation, dog poop clean up, and how to operate the washing machine…but those were pretty much givens.
I can only guarantee proper instruction—-it is your job to see to it that they actually follow through with all the grand tips/techniques I teach. Practices makes perfect, friends.
Welp, there you have it. I am certain after reading this that almost all parents are interested in signing up their kids for a ….’play date’….at my place.
All inquires can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d hurry, I am anticipating mass hysteria.
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I will make you a raspberry lemon drop martini