Mason has had a bunch of play dates over the years, and even a few with new families we have met through preschool. They have always been with me present, mostly because me and the other Mom want to chat and get to know one another. But seriously, I have never had a Mom ask me to drop off my child at their house. Until now. And well actually, she never really asked, but more assumed.
For about a week we had been playing phone tag in trying to set up a play date with our sons. Finally we met up at a school function. This was where she said, "so do you want me to just take him to my house after school or would you prefer to drop him off?" I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped to the floor and my eyes bugged out. I felt blindsided as I struggled to regain my composure. We had already agreed to the play date and even though I am not at all ready to let my son run off without me, how could I back out now? I feel really uncomfortable sending my son to the home of someone I barely know. He is only five years old. I know most of the parents in Mason's class have multiple kids and the ones in his class are usually their second or third so they have been there and done that. But he is my first, my baby, and this is a HUGE step for me. I'm sure they are a wonderful family and from the brief moments I have talked with her, I've determined she is very nice. The fact remains, we've only had a few brief encounters, so I don't know her all that well yet. I don't know any of the parents in his class very well for that matter. At least not well enough to let my son go to their house alone.
Mason, of course, is thrilled about going to this house because he says they have Legos and he is really into building with Legos right now. I explained to him that I will not be there and it would be a long time without Mom (2 hours, and that was me cutting it down). Still he doesn't seem to be apprehensive about it at all. I seem to be the only one with reservations and suffering from fear, panic and worry. What if he gets hurt and I am not there? What if they allow him to do things that I find inappropriate? What do I do if their discipline methods are completely different than ours? Will she let them play outside unattended? What if he gets uncomfortable or upset or bored and wants to go home, will she call me and let me know? I told him that he should tell the Mom if he wants to leave and have her call me and I'll come pick him up but still, I have all these horrors running through my head. I've never been to their house, I've never seen my son and her son interact or play with one another, so I have no idea how well they get along. This is all so new and uncharted territory for me and for him. I have no idea what to expect, nor do I know what is the protocol in these situations.
I mentioned this on Mason's birthday, with all the parents wanting to drop off their 4 and 5 year old children at my house for his party, and this wasn't the first time I ran into this. At what age is it appropriate to expect other parents to watch our kids for two hours while we run off? Even more, is 5 too young for a drop off play date? Especially if you do not know them that well? I want my son to feel independent and confidence in not having me around but at the same time, he is only in preschool. I have such anxiety and feel so uncomfortable about the whole situation, yet I feel I can't insist I be there or back out for fear of being seen as rude or over protective. I'm almost trying to find any excuse, like bad behavior, to call up and cancel. Ahh! Please tell me I am not the only one who feels this way?
So how do I deal with this anxiety? I'm not sure. I could very well be that Mom who sits in her car for two hours, parked across the street.