Thursday, June 21, 2018

Zoe vs. the Worst-Case Scenario: Play Date Edition

What's the worst-case scenario for a play date?

Play Date Edition

Three guesses.
The kids don't get along.
The parents don't get along.
How about the wrong kid shows up?
Let me back up a bit. First, as my lawyers have advised me to say, There are no "wrong" children. Just wrong situations. Exacerbated by kids acting wrong.
If it hasn't been established by now, I'm an introvert. In fact, here's a meme I made:

Here's another. (I like blue, and personal space.)

So one of the hardest aspects of parenting for me has been the "talking to others" that it requires. Being an "advocate." Speaking up. Asking questions. Plus, if I want Zoe to be more social than her mother I need to learn to make small talk.
I am constantly tested on this front, purposely exposing myself to social interactions until my soul's elbows have blisters from all the rubbing.
I do the best I can but sometimes my reluctance to mix leads to problems. Like cases of mistaken identity. For instance, this weekend's play date, which was like Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" mixed with Mr. Furley's Three's Company
Zoe knows---though I didn't till this weekend---three girls named Kristin.* Actually, and importantly, one's Kirsten (and she's in fourth grade--this is also important!!) and the other Kristin is spelled Krysten, and either that one or the Kristin with the i's pronounces her name Kirsten.
I think.
But Zoe, as has been previously established, is even more of a poor witness than I am an introvert.  
So Zoe wanted to have a play date with Kirsten. Having no idea who anyone is, I gave Zoe's after-care teacher a note to give to Kirsten's mom with my phone number asking if Zoe and her daughter could have a play date. 
With me so far? Sounds so easy. So Kirsten's mom texted me, and we arranged a play date for Saturday.
Come Saturday I'm packing Zoe's bag for the park. The sprinklers are on so I pack a towel, sunscreen, snacks, water, etc., and we're only three minutes late. Then the other mom texts me that she's going to be late because there's bathing suit drama with her daughter. I text back with something like "Ha, been there." See, I can do this! Way to go, me!
As the minutes tick by, Zoe keeps asking me when Kirsten is going to get there, and I keep saying, any minute, and finally, a woman shows up with two little girls. I'm like, hmmm, I thought Zoe told me Kirsten was an only child like her but whatever.
"Look who's here," I say and turn to find Zoe with tears flooding down her face.
Because it's the wrong Kirsten. This is apparently Kristin, a second-grader, from her class. Not to be confused with Krysten, another second-grader, or, more to the point, Kirsten, from fourth grade.
Zoe was inconsolable.
I was embarrassed.
Kristin was super chill, a cool kid that now I want Zoe to be friends with.
And the mom was super chill too, especially considering there was no way to pass Zoe's reaction off as "Yay, she's so happy to see you she had to run away to cry on top of the slide. . . . Y'know, from all the joy."
I had to explain what happened, and again, Kristin and her mom were very gracious.
Then I went over and tried to coax Zoe down from the slide. I said I was sorry but it was an honest mistake by her teacher, and me since I didn't know the kids in her school, and it was hardly a tragedy, and why waste a nice day, etc. It was no go. 
I decided to give her a few minutes and went to be (gasp!) social with the mom and make sure no feelings were hurt. Meanwhile Kristin tried to go play with Zoe, which still wasn't happening.
When I thought it was enough, I went over to Zoe and told her she had two minutes to pull herself together. She knew this little girl and there was no reason she couldn't play with her. Furthermore, how would she feel if she showed up to a play date and the other kid started crying because she was Zoe not Zoey. (The goddammits were silent. Albeit loud in my head.)
To Zoe's credit, two minutes later, she came down from the slide, and two minutes after that, she and Kristin were running off to play in the sprinkler, and Kristin is now my very favorite child with undoubtedly the best-spelled name of all the Kristins, Krystens, or even Kirstens everywhere.
And I went back to chat with the mom and it wasn't so hard. Especially now we had something to talk about.

Zoe: 185; Universe: 0

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, as if I could even identify them in a lineup.

Hey, want to read something else by yours truly? Head on over to Little Old Lady Comedy for my piece "Vaguebooking from Notable Historical Figures." Enjoy!

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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1 comment :

  1. Oh. My. God. I am SO proud of you. I don't know if I could've kept the "goddammits" silent. AND you talked to the other mom! Pretty sure I would've found my own slide to cry on, lol. (But really.)