Playdate, Plaguedate... What's the difference?

4 years ago
The other day, my daughter and I went to a playdate after school at one of the local cesspools. It never fails, whenever we venture out into a random social setting where the kids are more likely to lick the back of your chair than the side of their Tofutti CutieMINE is the one that always ends up getting sick. And it always seems to happen on the first day out after being cooped up at home for a week due to increment weather.
PictureAs the kids flew past us, bouncing off slides and dodging foam balls, we sat quietly on an oversized cushion solving all the problems of the world–or at least the ones we had at home. When it was time to leave, we knew that the only way to stop the dripping faucet from a leaky, high-pitched whine was to give it exactly what it wanted–and so we did. 24-hours later, we found ourselves sitting on a different cushion, listening to the shrill of tiny voices screaming in delight over absolutely nothing... And we continued to dissect our lives with a firm grip on a cold margarita.

A few hours later, her daughter came blazing into the living room with a suspicious grin and a rather presumptuous halo floating above her head, "Mommy... Isla want's to know if I can sleep over?" I didn't bother to mention my daughter's deliberate plan, which was to sabotage herplaydate and turn it into an all night party. And I wasn't about to ruin it for her by saying "no" and making her spend another Saturday night watching SpongeBob with her father; so while her mother gave her the "go play and we'll talk about it later" speech, I gave her a side wink and sent her on her way.

It would be her second attempt at a spend-the-night; and as her mother headed out the door, we agreed that the two dads could meet up halfway if a situation were to arise. Around nine o'clock that night, I noticed that my typically shy and agreeable sparkle fairy was getting extremely irritable with her new roommate/cheerleader. My attempts at an intervention were met with tears and unkind words. There were threats of wand removal, movie cancellations and the infamous "calling of the mother," but nothing seemed to be getting through. And after an hour and a half of failed negotiations, I knew it was time for bed.

When you're a newcomer to the scene, it's hard to fall asleep. Every creak, chirp and fish tank bubble sounds like the Grim Reaper taking a shortcut straight to you, and there's no way you're sleeping with anything less than one eye open. So it didn't surprise us when she wandered into our room flailing a snoring citation in the air with all the passion of a miniature Barney Fife. *Laughs*"Well, even if she did snore" I began, "there's not a whole lot you can do about it. But I'll tell you what you CAN do!" I smiled... And proceeded to share a pillow-over-the-head technique I use to muffle out the sound of the Darth Vader lullaby her father has been breathing in my ear for the past ten years. She laughed at my imitation and walked back to prison with me to read a few stories and put an end to all the madness. She was asleep in ten minutes.

And that's when the fun began!

After a very long and emotional week, I was finally free to relax and enjoy a peaceful space all by myself. Unfortunately, I fell asleep before that ever happened. I woke up a few hours later to a blurred shadow leaning over my head. For a second I thought it was our new houseguest having second thoughts, but my theory was quickly dismissed when she began crying and telling me how much she missed me. "Get in!" was about all I could muster up at two in the morning; and as she forged her way over my body and thumped her head down on the pillow, I could feel the bulky eyeballs of a giant stuffed toy scraping the back of my neck.

"Mommy!" she cried, "My throat really hurts!"

That was seventeen hours ago and I still haven't slept. She missed the birthday party that was supposed to get her out of the house for a few hours so mommy could relax and she hasn't eaten any one of the twelve meals I've prepared for her throughout the day. All this, while daddy napped peacefully in her perfectly tidy and well made bed. Sometimes I think there's a message on my forehead that says, "screw me" and I'm the only one who can't see it. I just hope her friend doesn't get sick too–because on top of being completely exhausted, I'll also be an asshole.

Next time, I'm bringing my own bottle of Clorox!

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