Sunday, 14 July 2013

10 kids you don't want to have over for a playdate

Playdates are a double-edged sword: on the one hand, once you've organised one, you feel like Mary Poppins, on the other it means you have to put up with someone else's kid.  And other people's children are like bodily emissions: they are so much more offensive when they are not your own.

I have done my share of playdating  and I have experienced the full gamut of behaviour: from the kid who likes to shove toddlers for sport, to the child who loudly gives her uninvited judgement on my housekeeping skills (or lack thereof.)  I know my kids aren't perfect, in fact I know that one of my twins is an appalling "passive aggressive non-eater" (see number 4) when he goes to other people's houses, but in the interests of sharing impartially, here are ...

10 kids you don't want to have over on a playdate



 1. The kid who likes to dump his load outside his own council precinct

Obviously that's a metaphor. I could be plainer if you like. But suffice it to say, one of my friends has a neighbourhood kid who comes over frequently, walks in the door and goes straight to the bathroom, whereupon he dumps his load.  According to my friend, it is quite the "consignment": a real "wide berth for a good half hour" kind of situation, if you know what I mean.


2. The proactive self-inviter

I know for a fact that all my kids are guilty of this one.  Because I am so slack on playdates, they have been known to grease the wheels a little by  inviting themselves over to other people's houses.  But the trick is, they tell me they have been invited over, whereupon I approach the other mother to organise the details and before you can say, "AWKS!"  she's experienced the ultimate PINCER manoeuvre and the kids are too excited for anyone to back out.  Apologies to any parents who have been the unwitting victims of this ruse on my kids' behalf.


3. The kid who thinks an invitation from another kid is an official invitation

This is sort of subsection b) of the above and again, guilty as charged on behalf of all my kids. It is my nephew however,  who is the ultimate mastermind of this extremely cunning ruse. Being an only child, he's extremely motivated in the area of getting some playdate action. He gets on the phone, makes the call, talks to his friend, his friend relays the "invitation" to Mum as though it's an official, parent-sanctioned type of invitation and before you know it, a car has pulled up outside my brother's house, dumped a kid on the curb and roared off with a tire-squeal that says,  "See you later sucker!"


4. The passive-aggressive non-eater

"I'm hungry."
"What would you like?"
"What have you got?"
"Biscuits, fruit, sandwiches ..."
"Oh no thanks, I'm fine, I'll just have some water."


5. The pervert

Perverse behaviour is contagious and some kids bring that pervert virus straight into your home and infect even the most innocent of children.  It's only when THEY come to visit that your child develops a sudden interest in private parts, random nudeness (like, "we just thought it'd be fun to ride the trikes nude ...") and strange homoerotic tableaus on the trampoline.  My eldest son had a friend who, whenever he came over, you could guarantee that if there was a quiet moment with a door closed, they were in there comparing their tackle. EVERY TIME. Now I know it's normal for kids to explore their sexuality in all sorts of ways, I'm just saying, there was a common denominator and his name was, Quentin (not his actual name.)


6. The kid who wants to hang out in your bedroom

I don't know about you, but in my day, my parents' bedroom was generally not one of the accepted areas where you would take your friends when they came over.  But some kids just don't see that as a boundary.  They just treat your bedroom like an extension of the domain in which they are welcome.  And all day, you'll walk into your room and find they've created another excuse to be in there: playing hide and seek, checking themselves out in the full length mirror, looking for a pen, looking for the bathroom.  No boundaries.


7. The kid who thinks your pantry is his pantry

Again, in my day, you did not open up someone else's pantry and peruse the contents in a proprietary fashion.  I had one child visitor who used to go straight to the pantry, open the door and then stand there and rattle off all the things he wanted. "Can I've a Milo? Can I've some cashews? Can I've some of those small silver ball things  that you use to decorate cakes?" I was so aghast that I could only raise my hand to my throat as though clutching at my pearls Dowager Countess-style.


8. The terminator

Everything he touches, everything he looks at,  breaks. Nothing is safe. He even manages to break the dog.


9. The computer geek

This is the kid whose only idea of fun is a computer screen. He clocks it as soon as he walks in the door and then constantly badgers you about "going on the computer."  When you say no, he waits until your back is turned and before you know it he's in there, setting up his own youtube account and downloading new games and widgets (I don't know what widgets are but I found them mysteriously installed on my computer after Thomas (not his real name) came to visit.)


10. The wolf

Wolves have a method of picking the weakest animal in a herd and isolating it for attack.  Some kids have very unattractive wolf-like tendencies. If you have a small child, they will constantly lurk nearby waiting to pounce: to shove, to tease, to poke, to pinch, to snatch something. I loathe this child.  If I discover that a child is a "wolf" I cross him definitively off my playdate list.

What's your pet peeve on kids and playdates?


  1. Great post and it bought back so many unhappy memories of playdates that I was forced into. Sleepovers are the worst - particularly the kid who wants to go home at 3am and you then have to explain to their parents that you've drunk too much to drive.

  2. Oh thanks for sharing! Too drunk to drive at 3am! That is very funny!