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Playdate - the magic word for parents and kids alike

Playdate - the magic word for parents and kids alike

23.08.2013 From our online archive
House-husband Dan Franch looks at why kids getting together to play in Luxembourg requires some forward-planning from the parents.

Ah, mid-September. Families back from holidays; kids back in school. Yes, indeed, Luxembourg is back in full swing. Rush hour returns. The crowds come back to make shops, well, crowded again. But the definitive sign that all is well again is the revival of playdates. A phoenix rising from the ashes of summer, that first one sends kids into a tizzy that’s only outdone by Christmas morn.

For the uninitiated, a playdate is an organized rendezvous with your child and his/her friend(s). One parent e-mails another parent in order to arrange a time and day for the little cherubs to meet outside of school. While it might seem unduly regulated, the reason is because families are spread throughout the Grand Duchy, so it takes a bit of logistical organization to bring kids together.

The term itself is relatively new, one which parents from my generation almost certainly never used. That’s because we all lived in the same neighborhood. Getting together with friends was done the old-fashioned way… verbally. “Bye, mom. I’m heading over to [insert friend’s name]’s house.” I would shout over my shoulder as I dashed out the door. “Don’t be late for supper,” was my mom’s most likely reply, the closing door garbling or cutting off much of that or anything else she might have said. And make no doubt; it was our moms in those days. Dads were working outside the home. There was no role reversal.

How times have changed. Now dads like me are at home, and there is this novel word in our collective vernacular.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. I enjoy being a househusband. Along with quiet mornings, being the primary family manager includes, among sundry matters, receiving emails with the Subject title, “Playdate”.

I also enjoy this new term. It describes perfectly the intention of the gathering. Nevertheless, I don’t use it. It makes me giggle inside. While the playdate itself is for our sons, the mere reading of the word sends my mind into a diverse range of fantastic flights of fancy. For a few brief moments I let myself slip into the world of whimsical imagination and fun. That’s what play is all about, after all.

Ah, to be young, innocent, free… and invited over for a playdate.