The first time I ever hosted a play date I was in a complete panic. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, showered, changed my outfit about five times and even put on make-up (if you know me, that's highly unusual). I was new to town and this play date wasn't just for my daughter... it was also for me. The other parents didn't know that (obviously) but I was very hopeful that my three year old had the sense to make friends with parents who shared my interests, hobbies and passions. As the doorbell rang I had various reminders going off in my head "1. Don't bring up politics. 2. Don't bring up religion 3. Don't bring up the second amendment and finally 4. Don't tell them you are a dietitian or they will never want to eat dinner with you."
But I actually hadn't prepared myself for what the two other parents were going through. It never occurred to me that this was the first play date they had been invited to and all they wanted to do was impress me with delicious treats. One brought homemade cookies and the other brought delightfully attractive cupcakes from a local bakery. For a play date that was comprised of three 3-year-olds we now had 24 cookies and 8 cupcakes. Welcome to America! And even as I smiled and graciously accepted these kind gifts I couldn't help but think WTF am I going to do with all this?
Because in all seriousness, those gifts were very thoughtful, they took time and money and might have been delicious (because yes, of course I tried them... several times). But was it necessary? And are our children unable to have a playdate without thinking it is an excuse for a sugar high? Can't they just play for an hour without eating? I think the gift is really meant for the parent as a "thank you so much for hosting my child today who will invariably either draw on the walls, spill some milk, or throw a tantrum." So if it is a gift for the parent why don't we all consider some other options?
1. Bring some fresh flowers cut from your yard
2. If you really want to bring something to eat - maybe some fresh fruit - watermelon slices, orange segments, strawberries
3. A bottle of wine (you should know the parent well enough to know if they drink alcohol before bringing this gift. If they do enjoy the occasional drink... trust me they will definitely appreciate this over cookies)
4. But how about just offering to reciprocate with a playdate in the future at your house?
What do you bring to playdates? Go on, be honest ;)
P.s. I'm not suggesting you drink the wine while watching the children. Although heaven knows I could have probably benefited from that on more than one occasion...