Now that my eldest is getting into official playdate age, I am finding myself at a bit of a loss on exactly how to deal with the other kids. Or more specifically, how to deal with them while their moms are around. It’s easy when the kid is at your house on their own because you just treat them like one of your own kids when settling disputes or dealing with misbehavior (or you totally favor your kids over them, haha), but it’s harder when the mom is sitting right there. Personally I feel like if the mom is there than I should step back and let them deal with their kid, and I try to, but it gets hard when they aren’t disciplining their children in a way I would like. My kids are still very young, and as such any other kids who come over are young as well, and we are all at an age where new toys are super cool. So while my kids are bored of their toys and want to play with the kids, the kids often would rather ignore my kids in favor of the toys. And because often we are dealing with only children, sharing has not yet become a part of their play vocabulary. So we get a lot of taking toys away from my kids, or pushing my kids off of favorite toys when the new kid wants to see it. And while my natural response is to slap the offending newcomer for hurting the feelings of my precious babies, (which I obviously don’t do), I often find it awkward to reprimand that child at all. Which means that if their mom doesn’t do it, my kids basically spend the whole playdate trying to play with a kid who is either ignoring them or stealing their toys. And I end up so upset by the end because my feelings are so hurt on behalf of my children ( I won’t even get into the nasty kid who pushed my daughter when she tried to give her a hug and thank her for coming over - suffice it to say she will never be invited back), that I just want to keep them locked up and never expose them to the evils of the world again. And the funny thing is I don’t even really fell like it isn’t my place to say something. I mean, I don’t get super upset if someone nicely stops my kids from doing something wrong, and I don’t really feel that the moms would be upset with me. Frankly I’ve dealt with people who flip out when you say anything to their kids, and I’ve learned that you just limit any exposure to them and if their kids are walking into oncoming traffic, well, it isn’t your place to stop them. So the issue isn’t even in speaking to the kid. The problem is I just feel so awkward and uncomfortable doing it while their mom is watching. But I may be getting better. The other day I stopped to talk to another mom while out walking in the neighborhood, and her son was as enamored of the rocks lining the street as my daughter. And as I did my best to ensure that Izzy didn’t decide to try and play “catch” and start throwing rocks, I also didn’t hesitate to remind the little boy not to pelt any one either. And guess what? The kids obeyed, and the other mom and I didn’t end up in a fist fight. So maybe there’s hope.
On an entirely unrelated note - how do you introduce yourself to a three year old? I feel a little weird asking someone who can barely speak sensibly to call me Mrs Johnson - it has a lot of syllables, plus it seems so formal, like I should also shake hands, which rarely works, as most toddlers are lousy at etiquette. So I usually just introduce myself as Kate. And I’m fine with them calling me by my first name, up to a point. I feel like at a certain age (seven?), then respect and courtesy dictate that I be called Mrs. Johnson. Which is fine for new friends, but what about kids who have known me since they were three and are used to calling me Kate? And while I also sometimes just introduce myself as Izzy’s mommy, that doesn’t really designate me much of my own identity, and could be confusing (not to mention time consuming) if I start saying I’m Izzy, jack and Sophie’s mommy. Of course, this could be the most ridiculous problem ever, since we all know toddlers don’t listen to grown ups anyway.