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Lightbulb moment during yesterday’s playdate – mixed feelings

(2 Posts)
MagicGenie Wed 21-Feb-07 16:07:07

I’ve known my friend for about 18 months after meeting at a playgroup and we meet regularly for playdates. Of all my ‘mum’ friends, she’s 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, isn’t 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 I’m biased ) that it’s to do with him being secure, self-assured and confident in who he is and what he’s doing.

Friend’s 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 friend’s 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, she’s happiest when she’s in charge and is the focus of the action. If not, [sucks air through teeth and shake head slowly emoticon!] This occasionally means she’s 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 friend’s 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 friend’s 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 doesn’t 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 isn’t doing this consciously or to be mean.)

And because he’s so easy-going he doesn’t care, and cos I’ve never noticed it before, I’m sure that in the past I’ve been sucked into giving friend’s 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 wouldn’t think twice about. But I thought, ‘No, you’re in my house and I’m gonna say no so that you don’t 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 isn’t 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?


MagicGenie Wed 21-Feb-07 16:40:26

Ooops - meant to post this in Parenting!

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