Up until now Little Bean’s playdates have been pretty successful. She hasn’t had loads of them as I have either been heavily pregnant or with a new baby since Little Bean started at school but I had tried to invite friends as and when I can for her because I do worry that she isn’t making great friendships at school. Little Bean is very much a social butterfly who flits from one group of friends to another but then gets upset when she sees other friends with close friendships when she doesn’t have one. She is a very sensitive little girl and she thinks about things deeply but she can be very bossy and likes to control play which doesn’t always work so well with others. Already we are hearing her teachers repeating phrases which we have heard from Curly’s teachers previously “she plays with friends according to what she wants to play that day”. For Curly this has meant that he spends a lot of time on the outside of circles and never having one true friend and I think that is how Little Bean will be too. Does this worry me? Yes, very much so. Nobody likes to think that their child will be lonely but I don’t know how to help her change this.
Anyway, getting back to this evenings playdate. I collected two very excited little girls from school who quickly abandoned their bags, coats and shoes before retreating upstairs to Little Bean’s bedroom. I took the boys into the lounge where we had only been sat down with a book for five minutes before Little Bean’s friend came downstairs to say that Little Bean “won’t let me play downstairs”. I told her that they could play wherever they liked. I called up the stairs to Little Bean to “play nicely please” and her friend returned upstairs. All was pretty quiet for another 10 minutes or so before LB’s friend came down again to tell me that LB wasn’t playing with her. I popped upstairs to see what was happening only to find LB firmly seated in her rocking chair watching TV with her back to where her friend was playing. I asked her to turn the TV off and play with her friend when all hell broke loose. LB went into complete meltdown and began screaming at me that I was a “horrible Mother”. I told her that perhaps if she wanted to behave like this it would be best if I called her friend’s Mum to pick her up, this created more screaming and shouting. In the meantime, LB’s friend had gone downstairs and was now happily playing with the boys, good for her and for the boys but now LB began screaming that she had no-one to play with. Completely her own doing but I felt completely embarrassed both for her and for me.
I tried to think of an activity we could all do together and so I brought out Twister and all was going well until LB had to make a move which made her fall over. Once again, she went into meltdown the game was packed away. I really didn’t know what to do for the best, I wanted someone to wave a magic wand to make everything ok. I retreated to the kitchen to make them drinks and snacks to try to distract them for a little while only for LB to knock her whole drink all over the table and herself, cue another meltdown.
As a last ditch attempt at rescuing the playdate I suggested we build a den in the lounge and thankfully they all thought this was a fantastic idea. We built a den big enough for all of them to play in where they then played happily together until tea time. Sure there was the odd little squabble where one person couldn’t fit in, or they didn’t have the right cushion to sit on but at last we had found something to keep them all happy. Now all I needed was a big glass of wine . . .
Please tell me I am not alone, what are your worst playdate memories and how did you make it through to the end?