Lightbulb moment during yesterdays playdate mixed feelings(2 Posts)
Ive known my friend for about 18 months after meeting at a playgroup and we meet regularly for playdates. Of all my mum friends, shes the one I have most in common with in terms of our approaches to discipline, food, general parenting etc, and I value our friendship plus the kids love playing together...or so I thought until yesterday.
My DS is 2 and a very chilled out, happy little chappy. Gets on with things, isnt a show-off or demanding of lots of attention. In the past, this has been mistaken for him being aloof or sullen by other friends but I can honestly say (maybe Im biased ) that its to do with him being secure, self-assured and confident in who he is and what hes doing.
Friends DD is 2.5 and is very, very bright, outgoing, extremely articulate, boisterous, lovely little girl. But it struck me yesterday that she totally rules our playdates, and is allowed and encouraged to do so albeit unconsciously by my friend. And it really irritated me.
Basically it dawned on me that because she is louder, more demanding and, usually, more difficult that my DS, my friends DD sets the pace/decides where we are in the house and what we do, and overpowers games/toys so that my DS is often on catch-up or is overshadowed. Put simply, shes happiest when shes in charge and is the focus of the action. If not, [sucks air through teeth and shake head slowly emoticon!] This occasionally means shes bossy and physically rough with my DS who, luckily for her, is mostly oblivious and either complies or fires a small warning shot across her boughs and walks off to do his own thing.
This lead me to seeing how my friends approach is to let her DD lead, constantly stimulate her and give, give, give all the time. As soon as my friend and I strike up a conversation, her DD will try and regain my friends attention, often literally saying things like, No Mummy, talk to/play with me.
After this lightbulb moment yesterday, I found myself feeling a) more protective of my DS and his interests, b) agog that my friend lets this/encourages it to happen and therefore, c) irritated with it all. To be fair, she always stops her DD getting physical with my DS but honestly, I was so struck by how she doesnt think of both of the kids fun/development/welfare as I believe I do she considers her DD first and my DS has to like it or lump it. (I know my friend isnt doing this consciously or to be mean.)
And because hes so easy-going he doesnt care, and cos Ive never noticed it before, Im sure that in the past Ive been sucked into giving friends DD attention too and letting my DS potter about on his todd and fend for himself cos he does/can
My irritation yesterday manifested itself in saying no to a couple of things that usually, I wouldnt think twice about. But I thought, No, youre in my house and Im gonna say no so that you dont get your own way all afternoon. So I said no for the sake of it. And to try and jolt my friend into waking up (she probably thought I was being a bit off.) Yep...really petty
As I said, I value my time with this friend and I do hold her in very high regard. I realise this isnt big, serious, friendship-breaking stuff but how do I handle this on future playdates?
Or as DS isn't bothered by it, do I just let it wash over me?
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