My kids’ friends or my friends’ kids?

When Littleman was a baby, I never really thought about who he would play with. When I wanted to socialize, we’d often spend time with friends who had kids that were a similar age. He was too young to choose his own friends, so we chose for him.

Now that he’s three years old, things are starting to change. He’s in daycare during the week and it’s so interesting to hear him talk about who he plays with.

Recently, his daycare teachers approached D and I to say that there is one little boy in particular, Jackson, who Littleman is great friends with. We were told that they play really well together and are best buds. They do everything together.  The teachers suggested that we consider arranging a play date outside of school.

This sounds fine in theory, but it’s kind of weird in practice. First, I don’t know this kid. I had to ask the teachers to point him out to me. Second, I don’t know his parents. I’m certainly not going to send my three-year-old to their house alone for a play date and I imagine they feel the same. So that automatically means that we, as the parents, have to choose to hang out together if we want our kids to play together.

With a newborn baby at home, I didn’t get my act together to reach out to Jackson’s parents. Turns out that they were getting the same message from the teachers and left us a note in Littleman’s cubby with their contact information.

So, I bit the bullet and texted Jackson’s mom to invite them to our place last weekend. D was working so I figured it would be a good activity to keep Littleman busy. I thought that Jackson’s mom (who, incidentally, is expecting her second baby in September) and I could chat and hang out with Bo while the kiddies played.

I’m not gonna lie – I was kind of dreading it.  I hate trying to make small talk with people I don’t know and it felt weird to invite strangers to my house.  But, since Littleman is usually forced to spend time with my friends’ kids, the least I could do is spend time with the parents of his friends, right?

On the day of the play date, Jackson arrived with both of his parents.  They had offered to bring lunch for the boys, but ended up bringing enough for us adults too.  They turned out to be very nice and normal people.  And the boys had an absolute ball.  They really do get along amazingly well.  It was one of the first times I’ve noticed Littleman play with another kid his age where they actually interact consistently with each other as opposed to just playing beside each other.  They clearly really like each other and had so much fun.

So, I guess this is something I’m going to have to get used to as the boys get older: my kids having their own friends instead of always playing with my friends’ kids.  As difficult as it is for me to reach out to people I don’t know, it’s important to me that I get to know the kids that Littleman spends most of his time with.  And, I suppose it doesn’t hurt for me to meet new people.  Maybe someday they’ll actually become my friends too.

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