playdate person who seems to have mysteriously landed here friend,
welcome to our home. we’re very glad you’re here! please enjoy your time with my child. let me tell you a little bit about what i expect, conduct-wise, when you’re in my house.
i am honestly delighted to provide you with a snack or lunch or whatever foodstuffs i might have on hand. please let me know whether you have any food allergies; i don’t have an epi-pen handy and would prefer the playdate not end in the ER.
also, regarding food, i have been teaching my eldest child that when she is a guest, she can indicate preference for food if her host gives her a specific choice; however, she is not to turn up her nose at things but try them unless they are pork or foods she knows she cannot have because she’s a red sea pedestrian. (i’m quite proud of the way she actually ate a sandwich on whole wheat bread the other day at a playdate and didn’t say boo about the bread. that’s one major leap for parentkind.)
how nice it is that your parents will make you a completely different meal if you don’t like what they’ve made for dinner. that rule, unfortunately, does not apply in my house. please, if you don’t like something, simply say no thank you. diatribes about how nasty a food is are not necessary. further, i’m sorry if you don’t like the brand of frozen pizza, peanut butter, or what have you. if it is unsuitable, i suggest you eat before you arrive.
you may not go upstairs and play in my room. that’s my room. i’m the mom, and i say so.
the vents come out of the floor. i don’t know why. that doesn’t mean you ought to pull them out. they actually are somewhat functional and probably aren’t appropriate for use as a child’s toy.
that pinball machine? it’s a vintage 1980s piece of our family history. my husband, BS, looked for three years until he found it and bought it. he carefully had it shipped first to the airport and then to our home, where it was put together. is it a little crazy to have a 20 year old pinball machine in your home? perhaps. but it is the same game we played when we were dating back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and it is probably among the top five of the most romantic gestures my BS has ever made for me. hence, while i don’t mind when you and my child play the game, i would appreciate it if you did not angrily bang the glass each and every time your turn ends.
do not act mean to my younger child. while he is a major bruiser and is known in these parts as hellboy, he is still nearly 5 years younger than you are and doesn’t take kindly to insults. as he is a boy of a certain age, he also may resort to physical expressions of his displeasure. and, if i know he has been provoked, i will of course attempt to stop him from such expressions, as i know he can probably hurt you a lot worse than you can him. and i will make a mental note.
despite the fact that casa de wreke usually looks like a bomb hit it, do not be fooled into thinking that the floor is a proper receptacle for trash.
love loved the pretty tulips. the ones you just trampled. is it customary to step on garden flowers in your own yard? please do not step on them in mine.
i truly enjoyed your explanation of how you get your way in your own home. it was especially entertaining to hear how you have taught your sibling your technique. i would humbly suggest that when that child is a little older, he/she will respond as hellboy would: he/she will whack you. worse, he/she will use it on you. just so you know.
i know you think i’m a mean, hardass mother. please be aware that i expect the same behavior and deportment from my own children. i really do like you, you know. but just as i am teaching my own children how to behave when they are guests in others’ homes, i am expecting that your parents have been doing the same. alas, to paraphrase something my BS often reminds me about others, i cannot expect that everyone in the world has been raised by me. (more’s the pity.) so don’t be alarmed if i gently remind you of our home rules as the situation arises. i am treating you, in essence, as i treat my own.
p.s. you’re not sleeping over.