Friday, October 9, 2009

Playdate Shmaydate

Kate and her "best friend" Molly are in the same preschool class with another neighborhood boy named Jack. Since Molly and Jack are both youngest children, when they are in school their moms have actual free time. So they arranged when school started that they would take turns - on Wednesdays one would drive to preschool and then take them home for lunch and a playdate. The other would take Fridays. I was offered to take part. I am reluctant, to put it lightly.

First of all, since they have Weds/Fri, I believe the assumption is that I could take Mondays, but we have a playgroup Monday mornings we've been doing for nearly 3 years (although now just Miss E and I go). The last thing I want to do is have that whole day taken by obligations. Also, since I have orchestra on Sunday nights, I often spend Monday afternoons trying to get the house back in order after a weekend of less-than-impeccable cleaning habits.

Secondly, I am a big believer in harnessed car seats. Kate's will allow her to sit harnessed until she's 65 lbs., and I don't care if I have to wrestle her 7-year-old body into that chair, I will. They are the safest way for children to ride in a car. These moms aren't moving car seats around - they are just using booster seats with shoulder belts - even though our kids are still just a bit too young and small to use booster seats. When it comes down to it, I don't think I'm quite ready to let someone else drive my kid. Heck, I haven't even let her grandparents do that, yet.

Thirdly, I don't want to sacrifice a big part of a day each week to take care of those kids so their moms can have some kid-free time. I guess that's in part because I wouldn't get the same benefit. I don't get kid-free time - I still have Elizabeth around. I'd rather have Kate here Weds/Fris than do this rotation. When it's just my kids, I can still get things done. I can clean, do exercise, do laundry. I can live my life. With three 3-year-olds I will be busy the whole time making sure they don't destroy the house. It's an afternoon gone every week.

Last, but far from least - I'm not in such a hurry to "get rid" of Kate. She's already apart from me 3 mornings/week - that's a big change for us. This would add 2 days/week when she would be gone several more hours. She's not even four! I left my career to be home with her - to make her lunches and just be there. It makes no sense to me that 2 days/week she'd be 5 houses away while someone else feeds her - and I'm right here feeding Elizabeth. It's already going so fast - why speed it up even more?

I've made a lot of arguments against it. The big argument for it? Kate wants to go. They very kindly offer for Kate to come over for the "playdate" portion of the day, but I don't feel I can let her do that without reciprocating. And Kate really, really wants to go. She wants to play with kids all afternoon - even though when she does she is overstimulated and CRANKY. I feel like a totally selfish and mean mama that I don't want to have her friends over here all the time (at this age - later, I hope they practically live here). I feel sort of stuck on this.

So, friends, tell it to me straight. Do I need to get over myself, and have these kids over? Do I need to chill on the whole driving/booster thing? Am I entitled to think that 3 days of preschool is enough time away and it's OK for Kate to have the down-time at home?