Other People’s Houses are Cooler

We hosted play dates today. I know it’s silly, but play dates cause me some anxiety. Part of my problem is that we just haven’t done too many. In first and second grade, M usually didn’t particularly want to invite anyone over, and when J invites a friend, it’s almost always her BFF, who’s practically a member of the family. Last year M finally bonded with a little crowd of girls, which is excellent for her, but many of them have been friends for years, and their moms are friends, and I feel like I’m still catching up and trying to keep everyone’s names straight.

Besides, it feels like everyone’s house is cooler than mine. M comes slamming back into the house and announces that she “needs” a trampoline or a Dance Dance Revolution game or something else that we don’t have at our house. Or, hey, here’s another example: remember how not too long ago I was pining over-but-not-buying duct tape? Well a couple of days after that post, M came home from a play date with a groovy duct tape clutch purse:

You know why? Because her friend’s house is cooler than mine.

And, alas, it’s not limited to play dates. This week I went to a friend’s for a visit. In fact, I’m going to quote her: “Nothing fancy–just a snack and a warm beverage and most importantly some time to catch up. . . .” Now, if I said this, I’d have water in the kettle and maybe a bowl of cut-up fruit. And I’d try to find three clean napkins. At my friend’s house it was:

A delicious spinach-and-tomato quiche, berry bread, cinnamon rolls, and a fruit salad all on a nicely-set table, with a choice of coffee or several different herbal teas. Jeepers. It was more beautiful than anything I could pull together that early in the morning, and she’s still got a toddler.

So today, our play date escalated until it was a grand total of 6 girls (including mine), and so I just did it up, baking cookies, making nachos, and I even had a craft under wraps that didn’t have to be pulled out because of the splendid weather.

By the end of it, I was feeling better. Our house isn’t grand, but it’s an easy walk from the school playground, which was fun, and it’s on a road that’s active enough that the girls could hoot at random middle-schoolers (oh, yes they did). So they enjoyed themselves without anything fancier than the tree swing (come to think of it, my underdogs are popular).

I felt good, at least, until later this evening, when M’s friend, L, invited her for a sleepover, and there was discussion of where M should have dinner. I was on the phone, and M walked over to the stove, checked out what I was making, and announced, “Yeah. . . I’d much rather eat at L’s house.” And J followed her and looked at me and said, “If I were invited, I’d rather eat at L’s house, too.”


  1. Who hosted the fancy spread? And why wasn’t I invited? No worries — you’re fabulous and your kids adore you. The grass allllwwwaaayyysss looks better, especially at this age!

  2. Thanks, everyone. This morning the duct-tape/trampoline hostess told me that her daughter comes home asking for a tree swing.

    Big Sister, it was this Thai Beef with Hot Peppers thing, although I’d made a modified milder one for the girls, which went completely uneaten.

    HollowSquirrel, it was a very exclusive guest list.

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