Friday, June 29, 2007

The Playdate

Tootle did indeed have a playdate yesterday. It resulted in two mischievous girls getting into a lot of trouble. Tootle and her partner in crime decided to write their names and practice writing other letters in permanent marker on the wall, hardwood floor, stuffed animals, other girl's dress, Tootle's arms and feet, etc. while the other mom talked on the phone in the next room. By the time I arrived to pick Tootle up, the mom, who apparently went pretty ballistic and banished the girls to the swing set, had calmed down and managed to remove the evidence from the hardwood floor. I think she'll be repainting the wall and throwing away the dress and a few stuffed animals. (The marks on Tootle's body quickly came off in the swimming pool last night.) Tootle reports that it was her friend's idea, and I believe her because she has has never written on a wall or anything else and certainly doesn't know where they keep the permanent markers. The ones in our house are strictly for Doodle's use, mostly for school projects.

Once the friend's mom calms down even more perhaps she will be willing to accept some responsibility for the incident. This wasn't a quick project, so if she had been paying attention she would have caught them in the act. She didn't notice until she took the girls for a bike ride and saw the marks on her daughter's dress. The incident did highlight for me the different child rearing approach of my generation from my mom's. I too mostly let Doodle and her friends play on their own when they are inside, getting them started on an activity and checking in periodically. I often eavesdrop because I love to hear their conversation, but I also believe that they need independent play and that they know to come to me if there is a problem that they can't work out. When I recounted the incident to the 60 and up crowd (my mom and Doodle's piano teacher), they responded: Where was the mom? My mom is much more hands on during playdates, and this would have never happened on her watch. It would have happened on my watch but I would probably have caught it sooner. I'm willing to accept that there will be some messes to clean up in exchange for more independence.

Hopefully Tootle won't be banned from her friend's house as a result of this incident. I think I'll have Tootle send a note of apology. She was still too upset to say she was sorry yesterday afternoon.

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