There is a kid that Addie knows and seems to like. Adults have told me that this other child is very interested and engaged with Addie, that she seeks Addie's company during various parts of the day.
Addie and this child have the same skirt. They each count it among their favorites and wear it often, but on different days. The other child has shyly shown interest in seeing if she and Addie could plan to wear it on the same day, just for fun. So I sent an email to her mother to arrange it.
This is part of the response from the mother:
She often asks if Addie can come over for a play date; I've gently explained that it would be too hard for her and for us.....it's so cute though.
I will just list in random order all the thought paths this sentence hurls me towards - some less generous with the benefit of the doubt than others. A titch on the passive aggressive side, but responding seems fruitless to me..fruitless like, say, spending time with Addie. Ooh, and I'm off and running! I choose to disclose here that the last month or so has been one of the lousiest spells (apart from the last post, which still buoys me) for our family in a long while. So my rose colored glasses are scratched, bent and otherwise compromised in their effectiveness. So I'm just gonna let 'er rip.
One more time for reference: She often asks if Addie can come over for a play date; I've gently explained that it would be too hard for her and for us.....it's so cute though.
- cute, yes. Your daughter is darling for thinking that my daughter might actually be capable of a social event like a play date. Really precious.
- You were gentle, that's nice, I'm relieved you thought to spare your child's sensibilities in this. I hope I can be gentle when I tell my own daughter that her friend's mom doesn't think it'd be worth the trouble to get these two kids who enjoy each other together, that she believes it would be a big drag for everyone. And that her friend will be taught to think the same way. I'll have to think hard about a kind way to tell my girl that the door to this particular friendship is being closed - gently, though - not slammed. That the trajectory of acceptance of differences and inclusive thinking that Addie's friend was on is not being lopped off, per se, but just disconnected irrevocably.
- my initial email was in no way a veiled request to drop my daughter off so I can go get a pedicure. The underlying motivation in trying to grant your daughter's request about the skirt was to make it clear to her that I see how kind she is, how generous she is with her patience when relating to my daughter, that both Addie and I recognize how she voluntarily goes out of her way to be with Addie. And to let your daughter know that Addie likes her, too.
- I get how you yourself might not be up for such a thing (this thing that was never even on the table), but how is a play date hard for 6 year olds? In what ways? And how can you predict that it would be too hard for my daughter, whom you do not know?
- If we, as a family, prevented Addie from being involved in things that might be "too hard" for her and/or for others, our daughters would never have met. My daughter would not be able to communicate at all, she might not be walking, she would not have played soccer, she would not be in scouts, she would not do summer activities alongside her friends, she would not ride horses, she would not know how to swim, she would not enjoy visits to various places in the community, longer trips to other places, she would not swing, slide down the slide, run, enjoy ice cream, she would not have experienced the number of play dates and other things with friends that she has thus far.
- your daughter asks about play dates because Addie tells her about the ones she's had with her other friends, because your daughter has heard other kids talk about these fun times, because she has seen the photos. I'd be willing to bet that nothing your child has come to understand about play dates with Addie would make her think it would be "too hard" for anyone, that the effort would outweigh the return.
- we are both mothers who love our children and want them to grow up confident and valued. Why on earth would you think I would want to hear, much less agree with, your assumption that a social life is beyond my child? Why would you believe that I should twinkle at the naivete of children who might believe in Addie, recognize her contributions and enjoy being with her, that I might wink at their sweet nonsense?
Just like you, I'm raising a family here. And I take solace in knowing that the sentence offered to me above is born of an attitude that is the exception, not the rule.
Your daughter and my daughter are kids, they are schoolmates, they are friends. I think that's what your daughter is trying to enlighten you about. She has my most sincere wishes for success on that.