I've posted about my friend Andrea before here
- long story short, we used to be in a playgroup together but the playgroup dissolved, in part because she let her baby scream and let her kids run around in stinky pull-ups and I didn't want to tell her to her face that the other moms didn't want her there. Since then she and I have stayed friends through a hobby group. We see each other once a month or so, but since it's not a kid-based thing I haven't seen her kids in quite a while. The issue in the other thread with our larger group ended up being relatively moot because we hardly ever get together as a big group anymore so there's nothing to include/exclude her and her DH from.
It's cold out and Babybartfast was driving me nuts yesterday, though, so I called her up and we got together for a playdate. She and her DH just moved into a new house last week, so the plan was for Babybartfast (4.5), her son (just turned 4), and her daughter (2.5) to play together and she and I could help get things unpacked in the kitchen. Babybartfast doesn't remember the kids at all but she was excited all the same.
When we got there the kids seemed to be having fun, but I think I can safely say that Andrea is a more permissive parent than I am. Most of the playing involved running, shrieking, and jumping on the sofa. I don't usually encourage Babybartfast to do those things in my house (she still does, I just try to minimize it) but she was burning off energy and Andrea didn't seem to think anything odd about how the kids were playing so I didn't mind. The problem, though, was that Andrea's kids seem to interact mostly through shoving each other. Her son is showing all the classic signs of ADD (which isn't surprising, because Andrea and her DH both have it) plus he "plays like a boy," and Babybartfast just didn't know how to deal with it. Andrea and I did both step in when the playing got too rough, and it did help some, but her kids went back to shoving a minute later. Babybartfast was really confused and upset - "[Boy'sName] pushed me even after his mommy told him not to
and he did it anyway!"
I asked if she was still having fun, and she said she was, so they went back to playing for a bit. Then the shrieking got louder again and Babybartfast came to me and actually asked to go home so she could have her nap (which would normally be on the order of asking for a root canal at our house). I asked if she was having fun and she said she didn't want to play with the other kids anymore because they're mean and kept shoving her.
At that point we had only been there about forty-five minutes, and I really wasn't sure what to do. On the one hand I didn't want to force Babybartfast to play with kids who were being mean to her, but on the other hand I didn't want to tell Andrea "My kid wants to go home because your kids are too wild and misbehaved" - even if it's true and deserved, it would be hard not to take that kind of thing personally.
It worked out okay - we sent the kids to play outside for a bit and they all played together without shoving or yelling for a few minutes, then Bittybartfast started fussing and I used that as an excuse to need to get home. As it was, we stayed for about an hour.
So that was a long post, I admit, but the question: should I be honest with Andrea about why we left? I've already decided that if we ever do a playdate again, it will be at a busy playground or somewhere similar, so Babybartfast can choose to play with Andrea's kids or play with other kids instead. She said something about her kids never getting to play with other children (they're not in preschool or daycare), which may be part of the problem, but I don't think that should be Babybartfast's responsibility to fix . . .