We are in the era of the playdate, and every kid from a blanket baby to a tween goes on them. However, not all playdates are created equal, and there are as many kinds of playdates as there are varieties of wine to drink after them. Here are six types that you may recognize if you have elementary school kids, preschoolers, toddlers, or all three (for that last group: Wasn’t that dumb of us? Next life, space the kids 7-10 years apart).
1. The New Friend Playdate
This is when your kid, who may be a little bit shy or socially awkward, makes a New Friend, and you will basically move heaven and earth to ensure that this friendship continues, at least until next year when you can enroll her in chess club or science club or something where hopefully she finds her tribe.
Materials: craft kits, ice cream for sundaes, cookie dough for baking cookies, endless cheer and wit, Pandora’s kid music station, and a dollop of shiny hope.
2. Your Best Friend’s Kid Playdate
When your best friend’s kid comes to play, it’s a bit more laissez faire around the old homestead. Remember to look outside where your kids are playing every once in a while though, in between telling your BFF about your college ex’s new wife that you saw on Facebook.
Materials: wine for you, juice for the kids, a patio door that shuts firmly, a port-a-potty so the kids don’t have to come in the house for at least three hours.
3. The Impressive Reciprocal Playdate
When your kid went over to this mom’s house, she took them shell hunting on the beach and taught your kid Parcheesi before they crafted personal pizzas for lunch. WTF, lady? The idea isn’t to raise the bar here. But if you insist…
Materials: rented bounce house, sewing machine to create personalized dolls, fabric paint and t-shirts, and for lunch, hamburgers shaped like animals. Specifically, jungle animals. BEAT THAT.
4. Mommy’s Out Of Town Playdate
You’re at a conference, but you forgot that your kid’s friend was scheduled to come over and play. So Dad takes the reins, after you tell him in detail exactly what he is expected to provide. He didn’t listen, so…
Materials: Pizza, potato chips, Oreos, a Barbie DVD, and horsie rides.
5. I Forgot This Playdate
What do you mean it’s Tuesday? No, it’s Monday. Holy %^%$ you’re right, and your friend will be here in 10 minutes. I told you Mommy lost her memory after you were born.
Materials: crayons, a basketball, raisins, frozen yogurt from the back of the freezer with ice chips on it, and extra enthusiasm to semi-compensate.
6. Playdate With Your Sister-in-Law When Your Mother-in-Law is Judging, I Mean, Visiting.
Why does she always LOOK at you like that? Silent, watching, thinking. It’s creepy, that’s what it is. It’s almost like she knows you haven’t done the laundry in two weeks. You’ll show her what you’re made of.
Materials: five board games, paint-your-own pottery, cucumber tea sandwiches, deviled eggs, caviar, chocolate layer cake, anxiety, and frantic text messages to your husband about how you can never please his damn mother.