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Advice for the Virgin Playdater!

I know last week I was all, "NEXT week I'm going to tell you MORE about my FABULOUS! PARENTING! SUCCESSES!" But, uh, I have a Fret-Filled Issue and I need opinions STAT. As in, there better be some comments by ten o'clock Pacific time. No pressure! Because at ten o'clock Pacific time I will be eyeball-deep in OUR VERY FIRST PLAYDATE.

I think I might barf. 

Okay okay, not our very FIRST playdate, but our very first playdate in which the people who know each other best are the kids. Fret! Until today, the only playdates I ever planned were with kids whose mothers I've known forever and ever. And these playdates, truthfully, were for the mothers' benefit. You know how it goes. 

Friend 1: "Are you guys doing anything this morning? Because OMG I am going to put these monsters out on the sidewalk with a For Sale sign around their necks."

Friend 2: "Oh, I KNOW. Mine are driving me NUTS. Yeah, let's hang out! Your house or mine?"

[insert five to ten minutes of "oh we can totally go to your house!" and "oh, but we could totally go to yours too! whatever!" nonsense]

Friend 1: "All right, we'll see you as soon as I can get everyone dressed."


But THIS time we are playdating with Jack's BFF from preschool, and adorable little kiddo, and the two of them playing together is the cutest sight. I caught them a few times at preschool - two little boys, same height, same weight, same dark hair, same light up shoes, chasing each other around the playground. His mom and I have brought up the playdate idea a few times (all right, SHE brought it up every time, I just stood there fretting) but we've never actually done it. And now that it's all planned out and settled, I'm realizing I don't know how to playdate. 

I have a few friends who have asked me if I've done the playdate-minus-the-parent thing. And no! I haven't! That is a WHOLE NEW WORLD! It's never even occurred to me, because playdates are still something my friends and I do to entertain EACH OTHER. Quite frankly, having someone else's kid over for a few hours without the benefit of the kid's mom around to talk to seems like, well, WORK. Oh no, my friends tell me. It's AWESOME. Our kids are old enough to play by themselves for HOURS. It's LOVELY!

But here's the thing that is most stressing me out, Internet: it was not clear whether I will be 1) dropping my kid off or 2) staying to chat. GAK! I BARELY know this mother. I know her well enough to not mind dropping my kid at her house for a couple hours in the morning, but we aren't exactly FRIENDS, you know? But maybe it's totally WEIRD to just drop your kid off at someone's house for the first time when you don't really know them! Plus, I will have Molly with me. Molly, who always does whatever Jackson does, and this complicates things further. If we GO, it's fine. But if we STAY, is Molly in on the playdate too? I can just picture it now:

Jack's Friend: "Dude. Why is your baby sister all up in our Legos?"

Jack: "Sorry, man. My mom's playdate stupid."


And! And! I have this embarrassing problem where my kids always, and I do mean ALWAYS, want to eat before the other kids we're hanging out with want to eat. This is because my kids will not eat breakfast like normal people. (ANOTHER POST ENTIRELY.) So I start fending off the lunch questions at TEN, people. TEN! And I'm already worried that Jack is going to march up to his friend's mom and ask for a snack or lunch five minutes after he shows up. Again, if I'm not there, it seems simpler. She'll figure it out and I won't be around to be embarrassed. But if I AM there, what do I do about lunch! When kids come to my house they always stay for lunch, but what if lunch isn't part of the program? 

CLEARLY my phone conversation with this woman was not long enough. Although if it HAD been, she might now be regretting inviting us at all.

Here is what I'm thinking so far: 

1. When we show up, I will cop to being playdate stupid, without, hopefully, ACTUALLY being stupid. I will say something about "Here we are!" and the mom and I will chat and because we are both thinking adults, she'll probably invite us to stay and I will use my Powers of Observation to figure out if it's a real invite or an out-of-politeness invite and go from there. I should be able to figure this out, right? 

2. The Molly situation will just have to deal. Either it will be fine or I can use her as an excuse to get out of any awkwardness. 

3. Even though we won't be going to that preschool anymore, it's still awesome to know someone who has a little boy (we hardly know ANY little boys!) who's been looking forward to hanging out with my kid all week.

4. I will bring a huge bag of fruit and mini blueberry muffins as a thanks-for-having-us-over gift/ways-to-stave-Jack-off-until-lunchtime tool. Morning snack! Everyone likes those. 

Please do share your Virgin Playdate experiences! I know - I KNOW - I'm making a huge deal out of what is sure to be a fun and easy thing for all of us. I just don't want to ASSUME anything, you know? And I would REALLY like to come off as the sort of mom who would NEVER write an angsty fret-filled blog post on about her very first honest-to-goodness playdate, because seriously, who would want to hang out with HER?