Mike went to Atlantic City for a Bachelor Party this past weekend, so I was on my own with the girls both Saturday and Sunday. We usually go out to the house over the weekend, so I am not in the habit of making plans in the city.
Also, I am terrible at making plans in general. But that’s another story.
Unfortunately, Mazzy and Harlow are never on board for a lazy day at home and as I’ve realized recently, they are not that interested in a day out and about with just mom either.
Mazzy has always been a very social kid who considers plans incomplete if there is not a friend involved. Even if I tell her we are going to a museum or a playground or out to eat, she still wants it to know “with who?” She’s more excited about the people involved than the location— and those people better be under the age of ten.
Harlow never cared about “playdates” (or at least, I didn’t realize she cared) until a couple of weeks ago when Mike took Mazzy skiing and I spent the day with Harlow by myself. We did tons of fun stuff and I thought we were having a great time… until we bumped into one of her friends from school on the street. They hugged “hello” as the other mom and I stopped to make small talk. A few minutes later, when we parted ways. Harlow burst into tears. “I wanted to have a playdate!!!” Then she started going on about how this day was “boring” because she didn’t see any of her friends. NOTED.
The interaction made me realize, I’ve been so focused on Mazzy’s friendships, I haven’t involved myself much with the moms at Harlow’s school. Mike is usually the one who handles Harlow’s drop-off (while I take Mazzy to school), so getting to know those moms is more of a challenge. They all seem really nice, it just almost feels too late.
Still, I was determined not to run into the same parenting offense this past weekend, so I cobbled together a plan ahead of time, lining up playdates with both Harlow and Mazzy in mind.
I arranged to hang out with my sister and cousin Jack on Saturday and my long-time friend Emily (mom of Charlie, 6 and Giles, 3) on Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon, we had Mazzy’s friend’s birthday party, who happened to have a little sister close in age to Harlow. Friends for everyone! Plan complete!
I patted myself on the back. Unfortunately, that pat came a little too soon.
On Friday, I got a text from my sister. “Jack has been throwing up all day. I don’t think we should get together tomorrow.”
Friday night, I got another message. “Giles has come down with something and has been puking all day. We have to cancel Sunday.”
Could I pull off last minute plans?? I don’t know how it works in other parts of the world but in Manhattan, that is tough to pull off, unless you have a go-to last minute mom. (My go-to last minute mom is currently on vacation.)
I texted another mom in Harlow’s class who has an older sister that Mazzy is friends with as well. They were going to see Zootopia at 11:45am. She asked if we wanted to join. SCORE!!!! Phew.
When the girls woke up in the morning, I told them the plan. “We’ll go get bagels first and then meet everyone at the movies.”
“YAY!!!!” They were excited.
All went exactly as planned. The girls were happy to see each other, walked into the theater hand-in-hand, talked for the twenty minutes until the movie started and then watched side-by-side while chomping on popcorn and assorted snacks.
When it was over, they shared their thoughts on the movie. Harlow liked it while everyone else thought it was too scary. Then we left the theater and started our goodbyes since Harlow’s friend had to go home to take a nap.
“I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A PLAYDATE!!!!”
“Harlow, this was the playdate.”
“THIS IS NOT A PLAYDATE. THIS IS A MOVIE!”
Sigh. I had to drag her away in tears while giving the other mom the universal parenting sign for “I promise we enjoyed ourselves even though that’s not what it looks like at the moment!”
Instead of going home, I took them to the playground to blow off some steam.
Before bed that night, I prepped them for the following day.
“Giles is sick so we will not be having plans with Charlie and Giles tomorrow. We are going to have to make our own fun.”
“Okay, Mom.” (Thank goodness there were no tears.)
The next morning, I got a text from my sister. “Jack is feeling much better! Let’s hang out but do something outside so you won’t have to enter my germ-infested apartment.”
We planned to meet at the little ice skating rink at the Standard Hotel underneath the High Line, which is truly one of the best places to take kids on a cold day.
There’s no line for ice skates and they have these little penguins that make it easier for toddlers to balance. (Harlow rode hers backwards so she didn’t have to step on the ice whatsoever.)
There is also a covered seating area next to the rink with rocking chairs, heat lamps and blankets which serves breakfast and lunch.
“I WANTED TO HAVE A PLAYDATE!!!!”
“Harlow, this was the playdate.”
“THIS IS NOT A PLAYDATE!!!!”
“What’s a playdate, Harlow?”
“YOU PLAY ON A PLAYDATE!!!!”
“We went ice skating and drank hot chocolate.”
“THAT’S NOT PLAYING!!!”
“What’s playing? Like playing at our house?”
“NO! AT THEIR HOUSE!”
Okay, now I think I understand. A playdate is not ice skating or a movie. And it is definitely NOT lunch. A playdate is at someone else’s house where you have access to all their toys.
The rest of the day was fun— I took the girls on the High Line, we went to the birthday party and did some crafts when we got home.
Next weekend I’m in the city, I’ll have to figure out an artful way of inviting myself and my children over to someone else’s house. Maybe I can even leave them there.