Monday, January 28, 2008

Other Kids = Free Babysitters

A delightful development has come along for Nutmeg in the second half of her third year. If she has a friend to play with, she doesn't need me.

In the toddler years, "going to a playgroup" might as well have been a euphemism for "going to a masochism session." Your toddler played with a toy, another toddler came along and snatched it, or vice versa. You leaped up to stop the carnage, cooing some singsong idiocy to your child such as "share, share."

Parents of babies and toddlers, let me tell you now: Four-year-olds are just grasping the concept of sharing. One-year-olds? Save your breath.

Anyway, this weekend we had the great pleasure of having a longtime friend and his wonderful wife come stay. They brought their 3 kids: one Pebbles' age, one close to Nutmeg's age, and one a bit older.

Sure, there was chaos, choking hazards such as discarded nut shells were sprinkled were liberally on the floors, and the downstairs was periodically turned into the world's smallest greyhound track.

But WE didn't have to play. WE weren't even wanted. Once the babies were in bed, we sat back, enjoyed a glass of wine and some Thai food, and took the kids' games as entertainment. It was heaven.

Nutmeg had a playdate last week with the same results. Both times, she was playing with 4-year-olds. One thing I love about her playing with slightly older kids is she learns new games. This weekend the 4-year-old had her playing "camping." Other kids in the house also rejuvenate Nutmeg's interest in toys she's had around awhile, like her play kitchen.

Somehow -- probably because of help from the other parents -- the house wasn't even that messy afterward.


babyboyg said...

I laughed at your description of play dates. I used to suffer through them solely for the chat time. And I'd just pray that they kids never actually got near each other because "playing" usually meant "fighting and crying" which, frankly, interrupted my chatting :-)

Alex is 2 and, while things are getting better, I look forward to this time you are describing!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 6 and playdates now are just dropping her off at a friends house. Talk about free babysitting! Of course, that still leaves me with 3 at home.

To Do: get boys more friends whose parents will like playdates at their house

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