I have to say as a thirty something mom...I don't really get the play date thing. When I was a kid and you wanted to play with someone you just went to the house, rang the door bell and asked the kid if they wanted to play. They would make a decision and then you went outside in the front yard and played chase or ball or something that kept the two of you entertained long enough before your parents called your name and you had to come inside. Now I get that at four it's young to have a child outside these days without supervision BUT I still don't get the scheduling of the play dates. It's a big thing around here. You have to be penciled in and the parent checks to be sure that its an okay time for them and then work around nap time and daycare and snack time and quiet time and I don't know what else people can possibly come up with. Oh yeah, there is also family time where the kid has to spend the entire day with just his brothers and sisters ...I bet they think that is fun since they do that every day of the week. Parents should re-evaluate these times, well that is my opinion. The only other "time" that my son gets besides his scheduled daycare, bedtime and 3 meals of the day is - time out time when he can't seem to get his act together.
I once had a play date for my son and his little girlfriend that he likes to play with came over to play some games. We scheduled it because my son was in a full body cast from falling and breaking his femur bone and since he couldn't go to the park to play, we did the usual schedule a play date thing. The little girl came to our house and she brought a game to play. They were both three at the time and just weeks apart. Everything seemed to be going fine until they got into an argument when the game broke and the elephants head wouldn't push down anymore. They both tried to push the head and started to grab at the toy. The mom frantically started to push down the head as well and discovered it was broken. She could sense the kids frustration and paniced as she started to once again get the head down and ease the tension of the play date. This didn't happen and the little girl grabbed the elephant from my son. He couldn't move being in a body cast and laying on the couch so he did the next thing he could to get everyones attention and he clocked her right in the mouth. I of course couldn't believe it and react poorly to uncomfortable situations so I laughed. The other mom didn't and was really upset by it all and the play date ended ubruptly with the mom calling out as she left, "this had to be the worst play date in history". I did however, scold my son for hitting his friend and we called her house before once she left to leave an appology on the answering machine. We have scheduled play dates since but we usually go out to the park.
I think that I have the play date thing worked out now that my son is four. I take him to the park and wait for kids to show up and then they play. It's easy enough for me and we don't have to schedule anything in a calendar and we don't have to listen to another mom tell us how we interupted the much needed family time. It's just about going to the park for a quick game of chase and some bike rides around the circle. When I hear the other children start to whine about snack time then we pack up our stuff head back to our house for some TV time for my son and quiet time for mom. It's great to know that in the end, the parents control what time it is. I know that the day will soon come that all of this ends but for now, I'm enjoying my time!