Monday, January 25, 2010

Play Dates

Tomorrow when I pick the boys up from pre-school we are staying a little longer to play on the playground with another little boy from Bug's class. This little boy's brother happens to be the same age as Bear so hey, how cool right? Four little boys each with his own playmate his age. Except... except... I don't really know how I feel about the mom. She's very nice. And proper. But we have nothing in common except our boys happen to be the same ages. Other than that, nothing. I've talked with her before and sometimes there are just dead silences in between the topics. And trust me, I can do small talk. I can talk to pretty much anyone. And I'm just lost here.

The other thing? Bug does not talk about this little boy very much. When we go through the 20 questions of "what did you do at school today?", "who did you play with?", "what are your friends' names?", "what do you play with your friends?", etc, this boy's name never comes up. I've prompted him "What about *George*?" (*name obviously changed for privacy and all that anonymity and stuff) And he replies "I don't know. He plays too." So I've said "Why don't you play with *George*?" And his responses are usually "Well, ok. I guess maybe." Or something like that. Of course I go in to the whole "Honey we should play with everyone and everyone in our class is our friend" spiel... but in reality I know that it's not true. At some point they learn who they get along best with, who they have the most fun with, who has similar interests, etc. I'm trying to instill good friendship values in him (them, Bear is included in this sentiment but, he's two, so yeah...) but at what point do I let him say "I don't want to play with *George*" and trust that he knows what he wants and that's ok? And if that happens, how on Earth do I dodge request after request. This mom has my phone number from the class roster and it's just awkward the few times she has called.

So tomorrow we'll stay and play. I know it will be fun because four little boys on a playground is almost always fun, if not rowdy and adventurous. I will make small talk and fill the silences as best I can. And I'll make sure that Bug has a good time too. I hope I have a nice time, that I am pleasantly surprised, and conversation flows across common ground. But if it doesn't? How do I field the next encounter or phone call request if it comes in?

I'm not good at this.