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5 July 2017
"Play dates" are an invention of modern times. I -- and my children -- grew up in eras where you could send children out to play and tell them to come home for dinner. I remember Walt's cousin used to lock her children out of the house so they would be forced to play outside. A woman I know here in town also sent her kids out to play and then spent the day sweeping designs into her rug. Kids were not allowed in so they would not disturb her carefully created designs.
With all the concerns about child safety, kids are not given that freedom any more. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing can be debated, but the fact is that instead of going out to "find a friend" (as Jeri did daily when we moved to Davis), parents make dates for their kids to get together for supervised play.
I knew there was no competing with Ned for the grandkids' interest. Nobody is a better uncle than Ned and they worship him. No point in trying to get their attention with Ned around. Also they love Olivia ("Auntie O") and are always cuddling up to her or climbing in her lap. Much as I would like to be that kind of grandma, the kids have never treated me that way and if the other two are around, go out their way to avoid me. BUT, if we go to Santa Barbara when we are just there by ourselves, I have a really good time with the girls, so I have learned to bide my time and not try to compete with Uncle Ned or Auntie O.
Today was to be my day. The picnic was over. Auntie O had gone home the day before, Ned went home that morning. The girls love to play games and we had given them a story-telling game for Christmas but since I didn't see them over Christmas, I just sent it with Jeri and she reported that they loved it and had played it a lot while she was there.
Both girls love being told (or read) stories, and near as I could tell, this game involved picking cards with pictures on them that you used to make stories with the help of little rubber figures that also came in the set. I didn't know exactly how it worked, but thought it would be perfect for us. I love stories, they love stories, this helps inspire my creativity. It would be a quiet day and it would keep the girls occupied while Laurel and Tom did whatever they were doing to come back to normal after the BBQ.
It would be my play date with my grandkids.
Lacie was thrilled. She loves story more even than Bri and so she got out the bag that had the game pieces. The instructions have long since disappeared so I had no clue what we were supposed to do, but Lacie took charge. I finally figured out that the rules were that Lacie keeps all the pieces, tells all the stories, Bri spends her time trying to bug Lacie and Grandma sits there and tries to figure out what was going on.
It became very clear very quickly that neither of the girls was interested in playing a game. I told Walt we should just go home. But Laurel suggested we play another game we had given them. It's kind of like Clue, but like the story game, it no longer had any instructions and I couldn't figure it out and a 6 year old is not really a good instruction-explainer!
But when Brianna started taking the die and rather than roll it on the table, throwing it down the hall instead and when the girls started behaving toward each other like this...
...I knew that there would be no play date. I don't think the girls even knew when we left, they were so busy fighting. All the festivities of the weekend had done them in and this was not going to be grandparents week and we didn't need to bring even more stress to Laurel and Tom.
We came back to Alice Nan's and had our afternoon nap and then at 6:30 went to visit our long-time friends Dick and Gerry (they are part of our Pinata group and we have known them since college...Gerry and I were once roommates for a year).
Dick made his famous rum punch for us.
I almost never drink any more, but I'd never turn down one of Dick's rum punches, made with Mr. Fernandes rum imported from Trinidad, where Dick still has relatives living.
Gerry has always been a fabulous hostess and I loved the centerpiece she created for the table.
We had a great dinner, sitting at the table long after our lemon meringue pie was finished and reminiscing about people and events of our mutual past, which is what old guys do these days! It was our adult play date!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Gerry's "bunny collection" (this is but a small piece) rivals
her Star Wars collection.
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This is entry #6709