What’s wrong with playdates?

Whenever someone mentions wanting to have playdates at our house I feel

nervous
anxious
pitiful
sorry for myself

But also

happy (not for me, for the kids)
elated (at the idea of having socially acceptable kids)
upbeat (at the idea of having socially acceptable kids)

And then

incredulous (at how much of the house can turn into a disaster scene in a mere couple of hours)
edgy (at how much of the noise can be interpreted as serious injury to one or all kids making the noise)
relieved (when everyone goes home and I can stick my two in the tub)

For the record, I grew up without a single playdate. I lived in Swizerland on the top floor of a small building and spent almost all of my childhood outside. We wandered around, visited the cows on the field beside the apartment, strolled up and down the quiet street toward the forest, entered the forest and climbed trees or took off our shoes and waded in the creek, visited friends, picked up friends, got locked into sheds by stupid boys, got unlocked out of the shed by friends who were looking for me, picked flowers for ugly women who hated children who made noise, rode other kids’ bikes up and down the sidewalk, skipped and threw sand at each other, exchanged clothes with girlfriends while hiding under the steps so stupid boys wouldn’t see our underwear, and in general, just hung around.

This does not happen now.

And in some ways, a whole entire side of childhood has eternally disappeared.

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