Another thing I enjoy about playdates, rightly or wrongly, is the little window I get to see of how other mothers do it--you know, the whole discipline and child rearing thing. For example, I have one friend who let's her child do anything; jump on couches--no problem, throw toys or smash into them--no problem. Meanwhile, when my little boy tries to do the same thing, he gets scolded. Sometimes his little friend even has to watch as Little Lewie is placed into time-out for disobeying Mommy's orders. Do my friend or I ever criticize each other? Never. I may think she's being a little too easy, and she may think I'm a little too harsh, but it's the secret code between mothers to butt out of each other's business. Perhaps her husband is later told about what a witch I am to my kid, but that's for another discussion.
I have another friend who seems to have the whole child rearing thing down to a perfect science. Her son is a quick learner with an amazing vocabulary, and he listens to his parents. He seems like this perfect little angel with his "please" and "thank you's", but his mother insists that he can be defiant at home. Her seemingly perfect son puts a little stress on our playdates. Since he is so well behaved, I try to have Little Lewie emulate the same behavior, and as a result, I find myself trying to correct him (and blushing at the same time) as he tries to take the other little boy's toy, declaring "Mine!" or as he starts screeching at the top of his lungs because I won't let him run around their house and possibly break an expensive item.
Another difference I learn about when we are on playdates are eating habits. One friend only feeds her son organic; another likes to feed her kids McDonald's and Taco Bell. One friend lets her child graze all day because she says he can't sit still at the table. Another insists that every meal at home be a sit down dinner in the dining room. If we're at home, Little Lewie knows that I still like to place him in his highchair to eat. If we're at someone else's house, I usually have him sit at the table, knowing that he can't bring food with him into another room.
Finally, another difference comes to schedules. I have some friends that are driven by schedules and if the playdate is going to interfere with nap time or anything else, it has to be rescheduled. Still I have other friends that are very laid back with scheduling and even parent involvement. They tend to be the ones that come over my house and still want to stay even after I've put Little Lewie down for his nap.
Yes, as mothers, we all have our differences in child rearing...sometimes it's because we were raised differently, sometimes it's because we read different books and opinions on the topic, and sometimes it's just because we have different children. (My little boy happens to be very different from most of his little friends because he tends to want to be the "class clown" by always entertaining and saying silly things to be noticed. For instance, all day today he got a kick out of calling me "Daddy." Go figure!)
All I know is whether my friend is a type "A" parent or a type "B" parent, whether she teaches the Montessori method or the "boys with be boys" method, I look forward to our playdates for the new experiences (and the little bit of relaxation) that they bring.
|My buddy and me at our last "super playdate".|