Because I'm sorta slow this way, I recently figured out that although it sounds daunting, having four kids around is much less painful than having three. I had a playdate for Mam set for this afternoon. She was all excited to see her favorite buddy from school. I meant to do something for Smunch, but I put it off, so at the last minute I started doing something I haven't done since high school. I called around looking for a playdate. It was lunchtime. No one was home 'til I got to the fourth or fifth call and finally secured a playdate with one of Smunch's classmates who we'd never had over before.
Mam's friend arrived first. The two of them were immediately holding hands and giggling up a storm. The worst trouble they got into was hiding under the covers of Smunch's bed. It's unreal just how easy her playdates usually are. And her buddy is a terrific little kid. There was giggling in Mam's room, giggling in the play room, giggling on the swings. It was pretty cute. I was a little more concerned about Smunch's playdate. I've never seen him show a whole lot of interest in Smunch. Seemed like a nice enough kid, but not really "friend-material" for my kid, if you know what I mean. But I was surprised. The two totally hit it off playing basketball for half an hour or so. His friend even loudly declared that Smunch was beating him at one point...as though it was kinda cool.The civility wore off after an hour and a half or so. Not that they didn't get along with each other so much as they stopped getting along with me. Turns out, Smunch's friend is a championship tree climber. He's got an older brother, so I'm sure that accounts for some of his skill. Smunch has never been that much of a climber and I don't encourage it. His friend reached such a height in our fig tree that I started resorting to idle threats. Smunch got worked up. He punched his sister, he started "shooting" me with a tree branch. I revoked his privileges. It made him madder. His behavior deteriorated from there. His friend wasn't much better...refusing to get down because he'd worked so hard to get up. Yikes.I tried not to be a big wuss Mommy, but truth is, my stomach was churning. After all, I had no idea just how much tree climbing this kid does or what his mom is comfortable letting him do. I hurt my back weeks ago and I knew there was no way I could really help him down without re-injuring myself. Of course, he was fine. And Smunch found it all very entertaining.Mam and her friend tried going up in the tree house, but the boys and their antics just freaked her friend out a little too much. She plays the role of cautious oldest sister very well (she has two little sisters), unlike her friend, Mam, who is never to be outdone by her big brother.Not surprisingly, Mam did fine when her playdate left first...unlike Smunch did when her playdate arrived first. She hung out with the boys and held her own just fine. Happy as a clam.
When Smunch's friend finally left, I realized I was much more exhausted than I'd expected to be. It may be easier to have four just so there's no third wheel, but I'm clearly going to have to work on a new concept...getting other people to invite one of my kids over. Better yet, both of them!