My Daughter’s Playdate is Driving Me BATTY!

So then…they stop squealing and giggling long enough for me to ask, “Would you like to eat at home or go out to lunch?”

Chloe and her first-grade classmate Penny shout “Go out to lunch!”

I rattle off some choices and when I mention an Italian restaurant, Penny exclaims, “I LOVE Italian food! Let’s go there!”

I’m delighted she’s voiced an opinion. She’s a rather quiet girl and this is our first real playdate with her, so I’m pleased she’s excited about this restaurant option.

When we arrive and review the menus, I wonder if she’ll go for the lasagna — or spaghetti and meatballs — or something really adventurous like gnocchi.
Playdate Italian Meals

Penny orders, “Noodles with no sauce and no butter.”
Playdate Plain Pasta(Seriously? We came all this way to an Italian restaurant so you could order plain noodles that I could have made for you at home in 10 minutes for about 10 cents? Um, OK.)

I say this to myself, while outwardly I smile cheerfully.

After lunch, we walk around the fountains and visit the bookstore. Then I offer, “Do you guys want to go to the drugstore for ice cream or Baskin-Robbins?”

Chloe shrugs to indicate either one is fine by her, but Penny says, “Baskin-Robbins! They have 31 flavors!”

Playdate 31 Flavors

Yep, you guessed it. At Baskin-Robbins, Penny chooses Vanilla.
Playdate Vanilla Ice Cream

OK, fine. Perhaps she has a tender palate. She’s only 6. I force myself not to judge her lack of creativity.

So then, we enter Color Me Mine for our afternoon activity of painting ceramics. I tell the girls they can choose anything they want from all the ceramics on the shelves – and not to even look at the pricing. (‘Cause I’m a big spender like that.)

Chloe excitedly checks out the heart-shaped vases, cow-shaped cookie jars, kitten-shaped banks – and finally chooses a tall fairy princess with big beautiful wings that she can paint with millions of different colors.

Playdate Color Me Mine Choices                        Some of the choices at Color Me Mine

Penny chooses a flat square tile.

I am not kidding you.

You know those flat 4” x 4” tiles that are the most blah item you can buy in a ceramics place?

The flat tile that’s about 3 bucks — and everything else is $15 to $30 in the store?

Playdate Color Me Mine Flat Square Tile   Penny’s choice: one flat tile

I say, “Oh really, Penny, don’t worry about the price. You can have anything you want to paint. How about a jewelry case with flowers on it? Or this peace sign that’s also a bank? Or maybe this puppy in a wheelbarrow? Something 3-dimensional you can really get in there and paint it up?”

“Oh, no,” she says. “I just want this square tile.”

I say hopefully, “Well, that’s so small, honey, it won’t take you very long to paint it. Let me buy you a few of those tiles to paint.”

“No, just one, thank you.”

What a polite little bugger she is.

She joins Chloe at the paint station. Chloe squeezes six bold, brazen colors onto her palette – lime green, wild purple, hot pink, electric blue, bright orange, and berry red.

Playdate Color Me Mine Colors

Penny’s hand hovers over the colors. If she picks white to color her flat square already-white tile, I swear I will call her a therapist immediately.

Instead, she chooses a pale blue and squeezes it into each of the six indentations of her palette.

Playdate Color Me Mine Pale Blue

And so while Chloe takes 40 minutes to painstakingly paint each and every crevice of her tall princess fairy, Penny is finished painting her square tile blue in about 60 seconds.

So she spends the rest of the time watching Chloe paint and chatting quietly and amiably.

And I need to be OK with that.

Of course, I want to tell her she lives in the most amazing country in the world – in the most spectacular age of all ages – with the widest variety of choices available at her fingertips – and that she should sample and experiment and try new things and take the plunge and GO WILD!

But then I remind myself that she also lives in the Land of the Free — where she is free to make the choices that feel right to her.

And so even if I am a “spicy shrimp pasta diablo with jamoca almond fudge ice cream type who would paint an awesome ceramic wicked witch with fiery cauldron” – she is a “plain noodles with vanilla ice cream type who would paint a flat square tile.”

And I need to be OK with that.

And who knows? She’s only 6. By the time she grows up, she might be a heavily-tattoo-ed, globe-trotting, raw-octopus-eating, flame-throwing performance artist who creates clothing out of beer bottle caps and shellfish.

And I would definitely be OK with that!

— Darcy Perdu

(Have you encountered such a child on your playdates? Share some funny or interesting playdate experiences in the Comments section! I would love to read them!)

My Daughter's Playdate is Driving Me BATTY P

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18 replies on “My Daughter’s Playdate is Driving Me BATTY!

  1. That is so strange but as you say it is fine to want plain if that is what you like. My 6 year old niece eats her pasta plain but she has her topping in a separate bowl she simply does not like her foods mixed. My youngest daughter would have driven you crazy because given a choice, she cannot make a decision, she would have kept you in each shop for hours.
    Vivian recently posted..Sleep with one eye openMy Profile

    • My son also likes to have a separate plate — for ketchup, gravy, etc. Your niece and he would get along great!

  2. AinOakPark said:

    This is such a sweet story. I was laughing about the plain pasta. It looks to me like that child watches too much TV, though.

  3. Hahaha. Hilarious! You couldn’t have made up a better play date if you tried. I have to admit, I am a plain jane. I eat noodles with cheese… although I will venture into a chocolate/vanilla twist with mnm’s for ice cream. But I think that what I lack in my taste bud palate, I make up for in the all-things-creative department. It’s funny to me that she seems so left-brained. But props to you for being ok with her lop-sided brain-ness.

    Very cute post.
    Cara Lyn Erickson recently posted..The Hair CycleMy Profile

    • I checked out your website and you ARE very creative! The bearded lady in the Hair Cycle is hilarious!

  4. That’s so cute, in a calm, plain, way. My oldest would eat a side salad, take forever to pick just the right thing, then painstakingly paint it while asking you if you thought the colors matched, where as my youngest would have spaghetti with meatballs, pick the first weird thing she saw, and dump paint all over it in 30 seconds flat and be ready to leave the store. To each their own.
    Alison recently posted..(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: My kids are morbidMy Profile

    • Your description of your youngest cracks me up. One time I bought mini gingerbread houses for Chloe and her friends to decorate. 5 girls pain-stakingly decorated the details of each house — and one just DUMPER all the decorations on top of her little house!
      Darcy recently posted..Seriously — WORST Carpool Ever!My Profile

  5. Sometimes it’s just difficult to make decisions as a kid… I still have that problem as an adult. That, and she might have been worried about costing you too much $ and not get invited for another playdate. Next time she goes out with you, let her “taste” other ice creams before making her decision… open up her tiny little plain world!

  6. Haha! The plain noodles reminds me of my ex’s daughter and how she use to order “a hamburger” – no ketchup, no lettuce, no tomato, no pickles, no onion, and NO MEAT!…yup, she just wanted two un-toasted hamburger buns. It made me laugh every time.

    • That’s adorable! I remember we would beg our parents to take us to Pancho’s, the one Mexican restaurant in town — so that we could have the sopapillas (fried doughy goodness with honey). All 5 of us kids would never try the enchiladas, tacos, burritos — we just ate burgers and sopapillas!
      Darcy recently posted..Colonel Mustard with the Drapery Cord in the Living Room!My Profile

  7. AinOakPark said:

    One of my kids HATES fruit (it’s a texture thing) and one LOVES fruit. The one that does not like fruit LOVES nuts, but the other HATES them. This can make made-at-home desserts difficult, since they can’t have fruit or nuts, if I want both girls to be happy. (Yes, I know, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate…). One time I made a fruit and nut dessert. Each child came by to see what I was making and left, perplexed. Later they each asked why I made that dessert, since neither of them would eat it. I just said that they could live without dessert if they didn’t want any, but that I had made a dessert for Mom and Dad with the things WE like for a change. They thought that was selfish. Oh well, they can tell it to the therapist when they get one.

  8. Connie Conehead said:

    Too funny! I would have enjoyed seeing crazy, creative Darcy trying to hold in what she really thought of Penny’s choices. I just know your eyes surely gave you away! And btw, Jamoca Almond Fudge is my fave, too!

  9. Stephanie said:

    My youngest son has a friend from school. They’ve gone to school together since 4k, so 4 years now. I’ve met & talked to his mom several times. We’ve had a McDonald’s play date. They live about two blocks away from us. So, when they invited the boys to come over, I thought it would be fine.

    I had some errands to run, so the mom said I could just drop them off. I took them over there and talked for a minute. As she was walking me out, a little tri-ped dog came up to her. “Oh, there you are!” She said. And then to me, “We haven’t see him for two weeks! We had to remove his leg. It’s finally healing!”
    “Oh, what happened?” I asked
    “We don’t  know. He showed up one day and it was all mangled! It was going to cost between $500-$600 dollars.” She said. “So, we just did it ourselves… right here actually,” pointing to the concrete porch. “We put him to sleep first! Now, he’s takin’ up with the neighbours. They feed him and everything. I think he’s afraid we’re going to take another leg.”

    That was about a month ago. They just got a new puppy! o.O