Bray People - - NEWS - Jus­tine O'Ma­hony

THIS NEXT sen­tence is prob­a­bly not go­ing to win me any par­ent­ing awards but I have to get it off my chest. I HATE play­dates! It's hard enough try­ing to en­ter­tain my own kids with­out hav­ing to en­ter­tain some­one else's kids, who I barely know and usu­ally come at­tached to a whole list of in­struc­tions: “she doesn't eat su­gar. He's al­ler­gic to peanuts. She's on gluten free. Don't give him coke. I'd rather he didn't play the Xbox.” The list goes on.

But since kids don't just hang out on the street to­gether any­more play­ing rounders and tag, play­dates seem to have be­come the norm es­pe­cially with lit­tle girls who are ac­tu­ally far higher main­te­nance than boys when it comes to en­ter­tain­ing. Boys will kick a ball or dis­ap­pear into a bed­room play­ing nin­tendo, happy as Larry. Girls want Mum in­volved.

“Ellen's mum made cakes with us,” the Youngest told me on the eve of Ellen com­ing to our house. “Sure I'll buy you a big choco­late cake,” I sug­gested hope­fully.

“That's not the same,” replied the Youngest. Feck! I ended up buy­ing a packet of Betty Crocker choco­late chip cookie mix and pray­ing they didn't re­alise all the bak­ing con­sisted of was adding wa­ter!

Need­less to say I was less than en­thu­si­as­tic when she asked could R and M come for a play­date last week but re­lented when I found her hud­dled out­side her brother's bed­room sob­bing be­cause he and his pal wouldn't let her in!

R and M ar­rived the fol­low­ing day in a haze of glit­ter, friend­ship bracelets and One Di­rec­tion tee shirts. There was fierce ex­cite­ment as they dis­ap­peared into the play­room. “This might be ok,” I mused. “They might just play away them­selves.”

TEN MIN­UTES later three ea­ger lit­tle faces stood be­fore me. “What are we do­ing next mum?” Christ! and it was only 12.45 pm. “Right what about a bit of lunch and then we'll go to the park?” Sorted.

I threw a few sausages on the pan and but­tered half a sliced pan be­fore call­ing them to the ta­ble. R looked distraught. her big brown eyes gazed up at me and she said, “I can't eat pork.” It took a minute for the penny to drop. Oh No! So that's why she wasn't mak­ing her Holy Com­mu­nion! She was mus­lim. And I'd never had a mus­lim for lunch be­fore. I started to break out in a sweat.

Then M pipes up from the other end of the ta­ble. “Ac­tu­ally I don't eat sausages ei­ther. I'm veg­e­tar­ian.”

I se­ri­ously con­tem­plated open­ing a bot­tle of wine there and then but I knew they'd tell on me and their par­ents would prob­a­bly con­tact Child­line or Joe Duffy or some­thing.

“Tell you what? Why don't we go to McDon­alds as a treat?” I sug­gested. That way they could or­der what they wanted and I wouldn't be blamed.

“My Mum says McDon­alds is re­ally bad for you,” says M. “Your mother is a pain in the arse,” I thought. I half ex­pected R to want to go to the In­dian, but no she was happy with McDon­alds.

So be­ing the bad mother I am, I brought them to Maccy D's where M man­aged to wolf down a Big Mac Meal de­spite her mother's mis­giv­ings and lit­tle R had nuggets and chips. Af­ter­wards we want to the park and they climbed trees and teased boys while I won­dered would I have got­ten away with hid­ing a nag­gin in my in­side pocket!

I dropped them home all smiles. “Did you have a good time?” M's mother asked her. “Yes but we want to McDon­alds.” M's mother's smile fal­tered.

Never again I tell you. Never again!

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