Saturday, January 07, 2006

Family Date Night

Recently, I had the idea to write about finding the perfect playdate. For those of you who are not parents, or have not reached the era of playdates, this may sound like a simple task. But, oh, it is not easy my friends. Playdates can take all sorts of turns with the wrong mix of kids. Personally, I try to prescribe to the one-kid-at-a-time playdate, if we can help it, unless we can be outside or at a park.

So, finding the right kid that meshes with yours is a delicate balance. My son is very easy going and gets along well with most everyone. However, he HAS had more than one playdate from hell where the invitee acts like a total brat, bosses him around or doesn't share, tattles on him for breathing, does sneaky-ass stuff, instigates trouble, cries and whines, etc. He's also had the "needy" playdate, who came to me every 5 minutes asking me questions, needing my help to set something up, etc. All of these kinds of playdates are high-maintenance playdates you want to avoid them at ALL COSTS! You will end up more exhausted than when you have to entertain your kid by yourself. And, hello? Every Mom KNOWS the playdate is all about two Moms getting some free time while their kids play happily, right? (Or is this some big Mom secret we aren't supposed to talk about?)

No, the perfect playdate is one where the two kids literally jump for joy when they see one another. They may not have the same exact interests, but both will play at each other's games happily and then switch to please the other one mid-way into the afternoon. Perfect playdates are sent from heaven, my friends. Add to that a daughter who takes a nap during this time, and you're talking feet on the coffee table and a little help from Oprah to "find your spirit." This rarely happens, but when it does I sure relish it.

Well, tonight I was thinking about this. Good couple friend dates are not that different from kids playdates. Before we had kids, it might have been easier to go out with friends, but that doesn't mean we didn't have our share of misses. The couples who always cancel, show up late, act weird at check time, try to "compete" and one-up you the whole night, etc. Now, add kids to the mix, and in essence you have to have the perfect couple date AND the perfect playdate all in one. And, how impossible is that, I ask you?

We have some fun friends who live near us that we'd would have a blast with anytime. However, our sons, I am quite certain, might strangle one another by the end of the evening. Then, there's the issue of not meshing with a spouse or a spouse not caring for you. This is huge. This happens often, and it just makes you sad when it does. I have been on all ends of this one. There's a whole slew of variables that have to really be there for the "family date" to work.

Tonight, we had such a night. The stars were all in alignment and we had a great time. Husbands--both into classic cars and high tech--check! My friend and I both have the same interests and are both doing Weight Watchers right now so there was a lot to talk about there--check! Kids of the same age--check! Kids who GET ALONG of the same age--big CHECK!

In short, it was lovely. It was the kind of evening you think, why don't we do this more often? And, hopefully our friends had just as good of a time and we will be able to do it more often. Because you have to go through a lot of misses to get a hit family date night. And when you do, it is truly worth its weight in gold!


Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

There sure is a lot to every moment in this life, isn't there? Glsd you had The Perfect 'get together' tonight! It must truly be comltetly gratifying, indeed!

I'm here from Michele, tonight!

11:10 PM, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Plain Jane said...

And I thought finding another dog for my dog to play with was rought. ;)

Hello, Michele sent me! :)

11:16 PM, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Karen said...

Isn't it great when everything works out so well?! Yay for great dates!

Michele sent me....

11:19 PM, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

I totally loved your post - we had a stellar playdate the other day - by complete accident. I watched my girlfriend's 3 kids and while the 2 boys went upstairs and drowned themselves in Lego with my oldest, the daughter played happily with Troll Baby. It was HEAVEN. I told my girlfriend she should drop them off every morning!

And I so get the couple/family dates - we haven't had one in a while...sigh...

11:26 PM, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Mama B said...

Enjoyed reading your blog. Michelle sent me. Have a great weekend!!

1:05 AM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Those perfect family dates are rare, indeed. When I was married and had a stepdaughter, many years ago, we only had one family we could enjoy like that. It's sort of like trying to take a good group photo; there might be one good photo out of twenty where everyone is smiling!

11:04 AM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Muchele sent me back again today Crazy MC, and I was don't have to have kids to have Playdates...sort of...And the "mix" is just as important or a bad time will be had be all, you know? (lol)

Just a thought.

1:42 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

How wonderful! I'm glad you had such a good time.

In our little family, my kids do fine on their own. Its their poor pathetic single mom who needs someone to set up play dates for HER! LOL!

8:11 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a perfect night! I'm jealous.

I hope your family is able to hook up more with this family. Friends ROCK!

8:32 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Tyra said...

It is hard to find something that works all the way around. We have become friendly with another couple who we really enjoy but there oldest daughter loves to pick on our son, it's one of those I like you so I'll pick on you kind of deals.

Glad you had a great night!

7:39 AM, January 09, 2006  
Anonymous Theresa said...

Good for you!! I've had so many misses on that front, I just gave up!

9:14 AM, January 09, 2006  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

That is AWESOME. We have a few couples we do things with like that, but it's never really a perfect fit. *sigh*

8:39 PM, January 09, 2006  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

It is so hard to make couple friends and have each spouse happy! There have been so many times that the hubs and I are like, "We really like her (or him)" but we really don't care for the spouse. Our kids are finally getting old enough that they have their own friends and prefer not to be included on mom and dad's play dates.

6:51 AM, January 10, 2006  
Blogger Dipu said...

It always seems to me that part of the appeal of getting married was to finally get past all that awful dating crap. I guess it never really ends; it just evolves.


(Still, glad you at least managed to find at least one gem in the family date arena).

2:04 PM, January 10, 2006  

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