Vent with advice needed :/ — The Bump
One & Done: Only child

Vent with advice needed :/

So, I have a friend who I have a playdate with once a month. We alternate houses. At her house, everything is totally fine. But at my house, her older son (3.5; we'll call him A) goes completely bonkers over DS's toys. And I have no idea how to handle it because, I guess to her, his behavior is normal -- although, again, I have NEVER see him act like this in his own home.

So my kid is pretty chill. He will take out a toy, play with it for anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Sometimes he leaves it on the floor, sometimes he picks is up. I'm not a toy nazi, I don't insist on a sparkling playroom at all times. But after we get to a point where there might several items on the floor (and this can take HOURS, if it happens at all), we do a quick clean up before getting out a new toy. And we always clean up before bed as well.

Well, when A comes over, it's like he has to play with everything immediately. He will take a toy out, play with it for all of 10 seconds (seriously, I'm not exaggerating), leave it where ever he happens to be, and then grab another toy. Almost every toy my child owns, except for books, will be out on the floor in a matter of minutes. I have a few toys that I keep up high because they are noisemakers. A asked if he could play with one. I suggested we pick up a few toys first, and he helped as much as he could (hard to remember where toys go when you take them all out at once...). And as I was getting the toy down for him, he's grabbing more toys to play with. It seriously drives me insane when they come to visit. My friend does nothing to guide him. You would think that she would notice that I'm asking her son to pick up things, or trying to pick things up myself (which, by the way, I don't like doing because it gives the impression to DS that he can leave toys out and mama will clean up). She has a younger son as well, B (1.5), and it seems that A has not adjusted to his brother's mobility and thus ability to take his toys. At home, she polices and keeps B away from A's things. But then at my house, if A leaves a toy out and MY son goes to play with it, A gets all bent out of shape because DS is playing with "his" toy (ps: that he discarded 5 toys ago...).

All of this makes for a very stressful playdate for me and for DS. DS is very slow to warm up. Once he does, he has fun. But we've had playdates with others before, and it takes him a little while not only to warm up to the people, but to get used to the idea of others playing with his toys. So when A comes over, I can see DS completely withdraw because he is so overwhelmed by A taking out so very many of his toys all at once.

Ok that was super long. I just don't know what to do. I have a feeling if I talk to her about it, it's going to come back to something like, well DS is an only, so he's just not used to other kids being around, this is just how it is. But really, we have had other playdates. And even the playdates where there are 3 or 4 todders running around do not cause the chaos that her son does -- mainly because the parent's help keep everything in check! I know she is only over here once every other month, but it's like this every.time, and every time I dread it. Oh yeah, and she's my best friend. Or at least my oldest. Not sure we're as close as we once were :/
Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

Re: Vent with advice needed :/

  • I know :/ I'm not trying to criticize her parenting per se. We have polar opposite parenting styles, but we have never let that get in the way. It's more that... well when we are guests in someone else's home, I try to follow whatever rules it seems the parent has established. At the very least, I keep an eye out so that ds isn't causing more than his share of mess. I'm just frustrated that she doesn't seem to grant me the same courtesy.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Can you try to meet up at different places instead of at home? Local playgrounds, when its nice out, or an indoor play area, when the weather isn't good? Or, instead of playing in the playroom, could you plan a craft or activity at the kitchen table? Maybe then bring up a few select toys for the kids to play with in the family room? I agree that saying something to her won't end well. She might see the play date time at your house as time for her to relax. Personally, her son's behavior would drive me nuts, too. Good luck!
    ~*~*~*~ Smudges*Mom is Marni~*~*~*~

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    Our IVF miracle was born at 41w6d while Daddy was deployed to Iraq.
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  • I agree with not bringing it up directly, because those conversations are always awkward and I like to save it for really serious issues. I don't blame you for being overwhelmed and I would not be thrilled with his behavior either. I think your best bet is getting the playdates out of your house and to another location. If he's running around destroying your house, he's probably bored and needs something to channel his energy. If you continue to host them at your house, I would plan a structured activity like a game, craft, dance party, or something. Otherwise relocate the group to a more kid-friendly spot.

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