welcome to the jungle

dear playdate/person who’ll be here for the next two hours which will seem like an eternity,

evidentally, you never received my first letter to a playdate.  if you had, you’d know about my expectations and rules for having a safe, fun, and happy time in my home. if you can, review those rules. but if not, i will be glad to share a few quick pointers here.

please put down that giant branch. while i’ve been known to wing it when it comes to attempting minor medical treatments, i’m not really confident about my abilities in the area of emergency DIY eye surgery.

bless you for taking your shoes off before coming in. you didn’t listen to me as i shrieked about not going in our neighbor’s yard; you ran through it, anyway. besides the fact that good neighbors tend to not run through each other’s yards, i should point out that that particular neighbor’s lawn is a veritable minefield, as it appears he permits his dog to poop all over his lawn (as well as other lawns from time to time.) therefore, who knows what dreams may come/what delights may attach themselves to the bottom of your shoes. and i would prefer to not have such substances on my hall floor.

why certainly you can have a snack… oh, you don’t like peanut butter cookies? how about…oh, you don’t like freshly-baked butterscotch oatmeal cookies either? how about cheesey crackers? no? hmmm… no, we’re not having chocolate now… no, i just baked that cake for after dinner. if you would like to join us for dinner, you may have some afterwards… oh, you don’t like what i’m making for dinner? here, take this phone number. call it. see whether mcdonalds delivers to seven year olds.

great — you’ll eat graham crackers. i’m surprised you ate half of the box on your own, but i guess you are one hungry fellow. please don’t play your kill the graham crackers game in my house. you may have nannies who willingly clean up all the crushed crumbs that trail in your wake, but around here, i am the nanny. no one pays me to clean up after you.

is it really necessary to invoke a holy war over whether pokemon or bakugan is superior? both consist of cheap, plastic crap from china and cards, all promoted by half-hour-long commercials posing as cartoon shows. and the whole point of either? machines of some ilk basically fight each other.  if you really want to see some serious fighting, you ought to hit up someone’s house around holiday time. now there’s some really awesome battles. watch two siblings fighting over some long-forgotten feud. take a ringside seat while uncle joe and auntie mo talk about fidelity issues. maybe you could give extra points for people who are artificially medicated or take away points from people with certain baggage.

then again, you don’t get to a lot of these topics until later on in family life education, so just take my word for it — if i see plastic and cards flying around in a tantrum, you will really see some excitement around here.

no, the pinball machine still hasn’t been fixed. yes, i know — it wasn’t fixed when you were here before the holidays, either. no, i don’t know when i am getting it fixed. how are you at fixing pinball machines?

my son is banned from the wii for the next week. since you asked, he was banned because he continued to not listen when he was completely sucked into the game. it won’t be forever. you know, we have all sorts of board games. and he did want to go play outside, which you refused. so sorry if my house is the vortex of boredom.

how nice of you to mention that your neighbor will be home from his vacation on saturday and that you’d rather be playing with him. i know it makes my son sad to hear that; clearly, you haven’t yet developed the empathy gene to make you think how it would feel to be the recipient of such news. but i will be glad to see you happy with your neighbor friend.

for you see, there is another playmate in the wings who follows about 85% of my aforementioned rules.  i’m thinking 85% is a damn good number.

have a nice day,


9 thoughts on “welcome to the jungle

  1. Love it. We are hosting on Friday, though thankfully not yet as willfully disobedient, there are seem to be that child….or children that you just don’t like, much as you try. Happy New Year my friend! XO

  2. I knew this would be good. Unfortunately, my kid will be the one refusing snack (POLITELY!) if someone offers it, but to his credit, he knows he doesn’t like most things, so he won’t actually ask you for a snack. He will ask you if he can have a glass of water. And if he’s super duper hungry (which he won’t be, because I feed him before he goes places) and he sees a piece of fruit sitting on your bar, he might ask for that.

  3. As usual, you are too flipping funny.
    We’ve been pretty lucky with our playdates. Some have kept kosher, which is nice. I do not offer them anything to snack on and they don’t ask.
    Most of the time, we have enough crap, that any kid would be happy with a snack at our house. I do not enforce the “healthy snack only” rules on playdates. You can have chocolate right before you go home to your house.
    Thankfully, my older child has been parented well and is gracious and polite at friends homes.
    My little one, who knows?

  4. you guys are so sweet– and so funny 🙂 FWIW, playdates were easier when my kids were little. the hardest part of those was making sure the kids were supervised and not doing something potentially dangerous. (i can’t imagine what would be dangerous, but i have learned with child #2 to never say never.) it’s that early to middle elementary school age which seems to me to be a tricky place. somehow, between the ages of about 6 and 11, kids know their own minds (a good thing, of course) but haven’t always developed the social niceties to deftly maneouver through playdates. obviously, i am not expecting perfect behavior (i have two kids, after all, and i am familiar with their work 😉 — but they do know to say “no thank you” and “please” and certain other key phrases and actions when they are guests… as they know mommy will call them on it later on if she hears otherwise… which, when they are together at my neighbor’s house, playing with her kids, i will hear. oh yes, i do sometimes hear… from my eldest, reporting on my youngest, lol.

  5. This is hilarious because it wasn’t my house. My oldest had one friend who was like this when she came over to play: picky, whiney, difficult, brutally honest, prone to tripping over dust bunnies and needing a ride home immediately. There wasn’t a moment’s rest until that girl was safely buckled into her mother’s van.

  6. when the nanny called to say that she needed to pick him up earlier than expected, well, i took it as a sign from G-d that i had done my duty for G-d, country, and parents everywhere.

    the best moment was when i got off that phone call, saying i could get the child ready so that he could leave as soon as she got there with the other kids. i hung up, turned around, and saw my older child sporting a “shining” grin that would have creeped out jack nicholson. if only she knew how her friends annoyed him once upon a time…

  7. You know, boys have such FUN playdates! While I’ve had a few snotty girls here and there, they’re easily nudged into place with a smile and smoldering eyes.

    I love your letter, Sher!!


  8. LOL! I am crying, I’m laughing so hard! Any mom who has had that nightmare playdate for her child can relate to this sort of fiasco!

  9. thanks 🙂 there are days when i think my kids are a nightmare… then i meet other peoples’ kids and often have a greater appreciation for my own, warts and all 🙂 (of course, i’m not perfect, either!)

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