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How Often Do You Get Together With Your Friends' Kids?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I wrote about the Importance of Playdates last week. We had a great one on Friday night with two of my besties, Sheila and Stephanie (they're identical twins) and their delicious little ones, Coby, 3, and Charlotte, 2 ½. I’ve been friends with them since college, and we all still live in the city—I get to see them fairly regularly, and Preston ADORES them. If it were possible Preston would want to see She She and Stephanie and “Cobes” and “Char Char” every day.

We put two extra car seats in Sheila’s 7-seater after work on Friday, piled the kids in, loaded up on snacks, juice boxes, iPads and DVDs, and drove out to Rosement, Illinois in the middle of rush-hour traffic, to see “Sesame Street Live.”

It was just the girls and the kids, no husbands. Just friends. It was fantastic. And it makes you realize how important friendships are, especially as you get older and life gets in the way of everything. There are always reasons why play dates (or adult dates) aren’t easy or convenient—I’m too tired after work, I have too much work to do when I get home, I’m too tired. (Wait?)

When my girlfriend Sheila called me earlier in the week to see if we wanted to go with them to see “Sesame Street Live” I almost said no. Just the thought of rushing home after work on a Friday, after a long week, then grabbing Preston and all his stuff, driving to her house (in the city but still had to get through traffic), moving his car seat into her car, then coming back late, moving his car seat back into my car, and getting him home late, and subsequently to bed late…sounded like too much work! But I knew everything that would happen in between all that would be great fun, and I KNEW Preston would have a blast with his buddies.

Was I exhausted? Hell yes! Did I have a very long day—and week—at work? You have no idea. But none of that mattered when I saw the smile on Preston’s face when we got to She She and Coby’s house. Those kids genuinely love each other, and are always laughing at what the other one says or does. Coby’s 6 months older so Preston pretty much imitates everything he does. Their conversations in the car ride are always interesting, this one in particular.

Coby: “Preston, I have two houses. Do you have two houses?”

Preston: “No, I have three!”

Coby: “Mama, Preston has three houses! I only have two.”

(Coby’s parents are divorced so he does have two houses. Not sure which three houses Preston was referring to…)

We didn’t get back in the car till 9 p.m. (don’t judge), then still had to drive to Sheila’s house to get our car. We went up to her house to get something, “for a minute,” but once we got upstairs I lost that battle immediately. Preston, Coby and Char were having so much fun playing with Coby’s toys, the kids refused to leave each other.

So we figured we might as well give them a bath while we were there—we threw all three kids in Sheila’s giant bathtub. Preston’s not used to sharing the bath with anyone, so it took him a second to adjust. “Excuse me, Char. Excuse me, Coby,” he said as he tried to navigate his way around the tub. At least he was polite about it...

Afterward, we put the kids in PJ’s and gave them a late-night snack of chicken nuggets, and Preston was pretty much refusing to go home. Coby came to his rescue: “Preston, you don’t have to go home, you can stay here!” he said with a big smile. Coby is also an only child, and he and Preston have been buds since they were born—I like to think of them as soul brothers. Their friendship is genuine; it’s not one of those forced “our moms are friends” type of friendships. The giggles were non-stop all night; they wanted to hold hands as we navigated through the crowded amphitheater; they both got the same twirly-whirley light-up Elmo toy, and were glued to each other's side all night. It was very cute.

How often do you get together with your friends and their kids? Do the kids genuinely like each other? I think it's especially important—and awesome—when your friends' kids grow up to be friends. I'm lucky I have so many friends with kids around the same age.

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