When my daughter was 3 or 4 years old, she started having playdates. Most, if not all were playdates where I was friends with the other parent, and the kids would play while the grown ups would bitch about parenting, husbands, etc, with a nice glass of wine or coffee. Good times….
But now she are in kindergarten. A whole different world. Everyday I hear, “Can I have a playdate with….”. Or the kids who live on our street want her over for a playdate. Even little boys are starting to ask her over for playdates. My daughter has a busier social calendar that I even had in my 20’s.
Before we hit this new milestone, I had a very specific and calculated envision of how I would handle my daughter making new friends and playdates. I mean, there are a lot of psychos out there. And as far as I am concerned, you may be a druggy, child rapist until you prove otherwise to me. Yes, I am paranoid. Yes, I trust no body with my child. And yes, I will come after you with a shotgun and bury your body under my house if you touch my child in any way. I felt like in order for my child to be left at your house, I would need a full background check, your driving record, proof of insurance, a signed contract of the schedule activities of the playdate, and a list of 3 references of other families who have kids where you have hosted a playdate. I want to know without a doubt that that you aren’t snorting crack in the bathroom while my child is playing with your kitchen knives. Or that your unemployed horny uncle isn’t living in your basement, watching the children, while you run errands.
Luckily my daughter attends a co-op elementary school. Us parents work in the class together. We get to know each other in parenting classes and school meetings. So I feel like in order let go of my fears, I need to learn how to trust a little more. Maybe those parents are as paranoid as I am. I guess I am hoping that the fact that other parents are trusting their kids at each others homes, then maybe I should. Of course I would never leave my child at a home that felt sketchy or felt unsafe in anyway. And of course people can have skeletons in their closet and their outward appearance can be different than what happens in closed doors. But maybe I need to let go of the anxiety and live by the fact that “It takes a village”.
I still try and live by the general rule that we invite the child to our house for a playdate first before having my daughter play at their house. I invite the parent in and ask if they want to hang out for a while for a cup of tea or whatever. Shit, maybe they are freaked out that I am snorting crack in the bathroom, while I let the kids play with kitchen knives. It isn’t like we introduce ourselves and ask, “Um, can I please check out your house before I leave my child with you. I brought my police dog with me. You don’t mind, right?”
Now the day will come where she will make a friend and I despise the parent. Oh, not looking forward to that day.