Thursday, April 19, 2012

Play date antics!

Last Friday the kids and I hosted a group play date for all my Momma friends and their kiddos. There's nothing I like better than to bring the boys a bundle of play buddies over to entertain them - and a mob of Momma's over to entertain me!

And it was superb. You can always tell the mark of a great play date when the house is turned upside down by the end of it. The kids went to town on the toys - in fact, our toys were played with more than I think they've ever been played with!

It was a slow start, but fortunately one prompt Mommy and her little lady arrived on the dot, saving me from letting my big fella down, after blithely promising him (silly of me I know) that his 'friends' were on their way. No one else came for almost a half hour, and I watched my boy play wonderfully - one on one - with his gal pal. I was just starting to think it would be a poor showing, when the dogs started to rehash their welcome chorus as another car yielding more play buddies pulled onto our land.

For the next half hour or so my eldest boy danced himself dizzy on the deck yelling 'More friends!' over and over as each new car pulled up. Once the 'party' was rolling, I pulled out a few kiddy snacks from the pantry, put out a dip for the Mommies and cut up some cantaloupe. The other Moms brought snacks to the table and together we created a makeshift buffet.

As always, once the food is out, you won't find my kids anywhere other than hovering close to the pickings (they definitely take after Mummy in that respect). My two year old had just tucked into a snack novelty; honey coated sesame seed sticks that looked to me like rabbit food - I couldn't get enough of the stuff! I assumed my boy would be the same - how wrong could a Momma be?

I watched him climb onto a chair and lean over the table. I wasn't sure what he was doing, but I'd assumed he was going in for a second helping of the rabbit pellets. Then he lowered his mouth down to the communal snack bowl - I thought for one awful moment he was going to eat out of the bowl like the dogs do - if only that had been the case...

Instead he spit out the chewed up mouthful back into the bowl he'd taken it from in the first place. I can't tell you why I hadn't reacted sooner. My feet had been glued to the floor, as I'd watched him - paralyzed I guess by a mixture of morbid fascination and incredulity. When I realized (too late) his intent, I was just plain mortified!

As luck would have it most (if not all) of the Mum's had congregated in plain view of the snack table, and all bore witness to my eldest boy's gross transgression. Apologizing profusely for my son's table manners, I whisked the sullied snack bowl away to my kitchenette quick smart, and the Mommy supplier of the yummy tit-bits, graciously pulled out her bulk stash and reloaded a clean bowl.

As embarrassing as it was for me, I think (or at least hope) most every Mom in attendance could empathize, and my boy's nasty party trick was glossed over pretty smoothly and painlessly.

Just as I was recovering from the shock of the spit incident, the same rabbit snack supply Momma, hunted me down to diplomatically inform me that my spit-happy kid had now peed on the deck. What the..? My mind flitted momentarily to a scene from 'The Exorcist'. What exactly had gotten into the little rotter?

Aw man! I'd just been droning on to another Mommy about our three week dry spell!! That'll teach me to go bragging on my boys. Next time I feel the need to shout my mouth off  I'll make sure to do some serious knocking on wood!

At least he'd not required an audience for this latest misdemeanor, and he'd gone outside too, which was very considerate of him. When I cleaned him up, I could see our poor kid was wrecked. Murphy's law had dictated a super early bird start for both my wee ones - and although we'd been able to recoup the damage by sneaking in a pre-play date nap for the littlest, my eldest was only now just about set to crash and burn. He'd played hard and as noon was approaching he was on a rapid decline to melt down.

I wasn't ready to say goodbye yet, and neither was our nipper, so without breaking up the party I scooped up my little zombie and tucked him into Mommy's bed. He was out for the count before I even closed the door!

The naps that follow such great plays are always the best, and a couple of hours later, when the mayhem was over - and we'd waved goodbye to the last Momma standing and her mad-to-be-leaving little fella - my eldest was thankfully still down. Baby - his energy finally spent - only then gave up the ghost (well after 2pm) and crashed out in his stroller.

Sapped of all energy, but happily satiated after having gotten a super social fix, Momma got a brief respite with both boys sleeping in harmony. I didn't clean or start on dinner... or even blog. I sank down onto the sofa, put my feet up and opened my unread Woman's Day mag. Bliss.

Seconds... minutes.. or hours later (who knows!).. the phone rang, and in my exhausted haze I debated whether or not to let the machine handle it. I'm glad I picked up. A close Momma friend that hadn't been able to make the play date was calling to invite us all over for dinner and more play!

Taking a cursory glance around the place, it wasn't a hard decision to make; getting the kids out of our topsy-turvy madhouse, ready to 'play' someone else's house into toy disarray seemed like the perfect end to a great day. The mess would still be here for us when we got back....

Later that evening Daddy chuckled as we carried our sleepy boys up onto the deck and into the cabin. The house had been tidy and organized - a rare accomplishment - before he left for work that morning. In preparation for the play date we'd tag-teamed (to the best of our abilities) a well overdue clean-up.

But now - only 12 hours later - and our home had the distinct feel that it had been upended from the back, so that all the toys had spilled out from the kids' rooms, and gotten dispersed throughout every other room and onto the deck. The sand pit was full of indoor toys from far reaches of the house -  and some had even fallen (or been posted) overboard down into the doggy pen (in spite of their high chances of a teethy end, they would have to wait to be rescued by this knackered Momma). One or two casualties of war hadn't made it, and had been carried off to pastures new - loathe as we Moms were to pry them from the tight hold grasp of white-knuckled little fingers!

Carrying the kids through the house was like running the toy gauntlet! After both boys were tucked in, I pulled a little Mary Poppins oomph out of my boots, and some semblance of order was restored. However, with toddlers, and two dogs, chaos is the norm at our place - fire fighting the mess is all par to the cause. A deeper clean will just have to wait until the next play date comes around...

Speaking of which, how does next Friday sound?

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