These days, a trip to the supermarket when the kids are at school is as exciting as it gets for me from one end of the week to the other. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends but, as an adult, there’s toilets to be cleaned, windows to be washed and endless amounts of clothes to be washed and dried. It’s all rock ‘n’ roll I can tell you!
My kids, on the other hand, have great social lives. I’d even go so far as to say they have amazing social lives. I have to keep a note of their social engagements because otherwise I will actually forget where they have to be. Aidan and Sarah are six and four respectively and they have the life of riley, swanning off here and there with their little friends.
First up there’s the birthday parties. There’s at least one every single weekend. Aidan, being in a class of 33 in Junior Infants, naturally gets the majority of the party invites. However, if Sarah is with me when I’m dropping Aidan off at parties, she puts on her sad face and usually manages to bag herself and invitation too! She’s great at emotional blackmail!
These parties vary from ones in houses to ones in venues such as play centres. The kids are stuffed with sweets, crisps and cake. They bounce on bouncy castles, dance at little discos, pass the parcel and generally have so much craic with their friends that they can barely stand up by the end of it all. Everything possible is done to make sure the kids have the most amazing time, and they do.
Playdates are another big social event here. We have them regularly. Indeed Sarah and her little best friend manipulate their way into having a weekly play date. The pair of them know that on a Wednesday and a Friday, the best friend’s mother doesn’t work. So they bound out of playschool begging to have a play date in either my house or the other house. If we hesitate at all, the little lips start to quiver and the tears begin to flow. I’m a soft touch so I usually give in and the girls get exactly what they want. They play dolls, play on the swings and have the chats like only four-year-old girls can. This week I took the play date on tour and took them out for lunch before collecting Aidan. There was none of that in my day!
Aidan also has his fair share of play dates too. Other mothers have taken him swimming, to the playground and generally just spoiled him rotten for the duration of the play date. When one of his friends pops over for a few hours after school, I always make sure to have some nice treats in the house and always make his favourite dinner. Spoiled; that’s what he is.
During the Easter holidays, a gang of Junior Infants mammies met up with all the kids in the local woods for a walk,and the child from next door always pops in and out of the house. Of course, there was also the Easter Camp at the GAA club, where he got to have fun and hang out with all his friends for four days.
They have a seriously good time of it. Play dates were at a premium when I was small and I certainly wasn’t having them when I was four-years-old, or even six for that matter! I played with my neighbour who was a year older than me, and if she wasn’t at home, I played by myself.
I had a cousin right next door to me but she was five years older than me and used to get an awful laugh out of tying my shoe laces together! As a result I couldn’t have been arsed playing with her!
I don’t have a whole lot of memories of friends’ birthday parties or my own for that matter. One thing is for sure anyway, there definitely wasn’t any birthday parties held in play centres. There also weren’t any summer camps or lunch dates with my friends.
When my friend from up the road was at home, we rambled together through the fields and looked for suitable trees to climb and make pretend houses in them.
I’d only return to the house to be fed and I was back out again until dark. The times were so much more simple. Aidan and Sarah will never know times like that, such is the way the world is today. It’s sad, actually.
Mind you, they are anything but sad, they are living the life, while I’m in the supermarket aisles getting excited by Fairy washing powder that’s on special offer!
Until next week folks!
You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter - @_itsjustaphase_; Instagram - @itsjustaphaseblog, or you’ll find more of my musings at www.itsjustaphase.ie.
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