Yesterday was a beautiful day for our little household, as we held a playdate for Ella with her new friend Quinn. This was very exciting for us (all three of us: Me, Raux, and Ella), as we haven’t really had too many “playdates” since Ella was born. We don’t have many friends that have children yet, and since she isn’t in daycare, the only real interaction she gets with other kids her age is at our Stroller Strides class or the park.
So, when one of the Mommas from SS texted me asking if we wanted to get together to let the girls play, I was stoked and said YES right away. Little did I know, this playdate would teach me more about MYSELF than I’d realize, and that’s an added bonus for my year of GROWTH. 🙂
6 Grown-Up Lessons from a Toddler Playdate
Like I mentioned before, Ella hasn’t had a lot of interaction with other little ones. So, when Quinn and her Mommy came to our place for our playdate, I was a little nervous how Ella would act. Once Quinn walked in the door, Ella took right to her. It was like they were old friends — they started playing right away without hesitation. Here was my beautiful little girl being all social, and I realized.. the nervous one wasn’t Ella, it was me. I was nervous not how Ella would act — she’s a kid — I was nervous about how I would act. How would I be judged? What if I was awkward or too quiet or too loud or too weird? I was already judging myself before anyone came over. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter. I am who I am, and I really need to lighten up. Be more open to new experiences. Meet new people. Play right away, without hesitation.
This one seems like a given, but is often forgotten. Watching the girls play, there were many times when Ella would give up her toy to Quinn, and vice versa. They only needed to be reminded a small number of times (which, c’mon.. they are two!). But honestly, I think there are some adults that need to be reminded of this from time to time — myself included! While there are some key points in your life where you can (and should be) selfish, there are just as many (if not more) opportunities to share — physically, mentally, emotionally. Sharing teaches compromise — if you give a little to others, you can get some of what you want as well. Sharing teaches us to “take turns,” negotiate, and how to deal with the emotions of not getting what you want at the exact time you want it. As adults, sometimes we need to be reminded, too.
Paint With Your Fingers.
We chose to do an Easter painting activity with the girls, where they used cookie cutters and plastic eggs to “stamp” on paper. After about 3 minutes, the girls were done using the cutters, and resorted to using their fingers and paintbrushes. This reminded me that it is absolutely okay to choose a different way to do something. Even though the point of this activity was to “stamp” and create a cute Easter themed print, they still created a masterpiece by going their own way and choosing their own painting utensils. Sometimes it turns out better by going against the “rules” or “guidelines” set upon you. And, of course.. sometimes it’s best when you get messy.
Keep an empty shelf (or cabinet).
After painting, the girls played in Ella’s room for a bit, then returned to kitchen to play in Ella’s “clubhouse” — aka an empty cabinet area in our kitchen. When we lived in Jacksonville, our kitchen was TINY — we barely had room to cook in it, much less have items or appliances that needed to be stored away. When we were looking for our current house in Orlando, I had one requirement: it has to have a bigger kitchen. We were super lucky to find our home equipped with a HUGE kitchen — complete opposite of what we were used to — and we honestly, just didn’t have enough “stuff” to fill all of the cabinets we now have. So, one cabinet area has been left empty (minus some rolls of paper towels) for Ella to play in. Plus, having an empty shelf or cabinet is exhilarating for me — it shows that there is always a possibility of expansion, that I’m not crowded in by too much stuff.
Ella has a lot of dress up clothes and costumes that she loves to bring out and wear. When the girls were in Ella’s room, Quinn found Ella’s stash of costumes, and wanted to be Elsa. So, of course, Ella was Anna. They were ADORABLE — and it reminded me, it’s so much fun to dress up — and to use your imagination. I think as we get older and become more “adult,” many people forget how to use their imagination. We get too logical, too reasonable, too … accustomed to running like a “machine.” Albert Einstein once said,”Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.” To that point as well, Carl Sagan said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere.” Somedays, you should just pretend you are Anna or Elsa — and see where it takes you.
It’s okay to miss your friends.
As our day ended, both girls were very tired — but didn’t want to stop playing. Quinn kept trying to reason with her Mommy that she should take a nap at Ella’s house instead of going home. Ultimately, it was time to say “bye bye” for the day, and both girls cried as Quinn had to leave. Ella stood by the window connected to our front door and watched as they drove away. My heart was so sad about this, but it made me smile. It made me think of my own friends — near and far — and how it’s okay to miss them. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it’s necessary. We are all living our own lives, doing our own things — but yet, when we get together, it’s like no time has passed since we last saw one another. Sure, there are days when you wish they were here with you to play, or talk to, or to cry with — and you may get sad, and miss their company. And that’s okay, completely normal — and just goes to show you, the friends that tug on your heartstrings are the ones you want to keep.
All in all, we had an amazing day with our new friend. We painted, played hide and seek, rode a bike down a hill, ran around outside, dressed up, ate lunch, colored easter eggs, and cried as we had to say goodbye. And, the last lesson learned: Plan to do it again. 🙂
Hope everyone has had a great week so far!