Some more, please: The rules of engagement

2011-04-07 11:05

Playschool has tilted the toddler’s universe giving her a bit more power over it and mine. As the toddler gathers new friends – so too do I. Recently I have been initiated into the world of the play date.

It seems that at the ripe old age of two, the toddler has already singled out a like-minded soul – even if they do spend more time push-me-pull-you-ing each other than playing nicely. So, the toddler’s friend’s mum graciously invited us over for a play date.

I worried about what the right etiquette might be. Do I take cake (which I wouldn’t let my toddler eat anyway), do I take the toddler’s regular snacks, or would that be the move of a true control-freak mother?

In the end I decided to just turn up – empty-handed. Of course, I did have to grit my teeth and smile as the toddler was handed a chocolate cup cake and a box of fruit juice. But in the end, what does one cupcake matter?

Anyway she took one bite and discarded it. As for the juice, as I had never taught her to drink out of a straw, she couldn’t get to the stuff anyway. All in all, it was a great morning out, the little girls were shamelessly bullied by the friend’s slightly older brother and the mums got along famously finding all sorts of common ground.

The next move, of course, was mine.

A return invitation, duly delivered and accepted. Which kicked off the obsessing about snacks again.

As I have no juice in my house and no sweet biscuits, I had to go out and stare at the supermarket shelves, trying to choose something that I would not only knowing feed to my toddler, but that I was willing to spend hard earned cash on too.

A ridiculous length of time later, unable to buy revolting biscuits and teeth-rotting juice – I ended up with cocktail sausages and sipping yoghurt.

But we managed, because the food at any play date plays second fiddle to the real purpose – learning the finer points of social interaction.

Mainly for the toddlers, but for the mums too who have to navigate a brave new world in which we don’t always get to choose our own friends any more.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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