The importance of play dates

Sometime between now and the age of 3, Kira should be learning about and understanding the concept of sharing. I can't wait for that moment when it finally makes sense to her! In the meantime, I'm trying to give her as many opportunities as possible to socialize with others so she can develop some meaningful social skills. When she's surrounded by adults, she knows she's centre-stage and loves to announce: "Look at me! Look at me!" as she entertains the masses. When she's with other 2-year olds, there is always a power struggle, a fight, and tears - if not from Kira, then from one of her friends. When she's with an older child (especially with girls), she follows them around and idolizes them. When she's the big girl, she's very playful and depending on her mood, can even play "mommy" to a little baby.

While my calendar continues to fill up with appointments, classes and planned activities for the kids, I try to set aside at least one day a week to give them a play date. Although I can foresee the spring and summer getting a bit too busy to have regular weekly play dates, I'll be trying my darndest to fit time in for this activity. Kira has enjoyed spending time one-on-one with friends that she hasn't taken the time to notice at playgroup, just because it's such a frenzy of activity and she is a relatively quiet girl who likes to explore an environment carefully before she becomes comfortable. So far, we've hosted 4 play dates here at home, and we've also been to a handful at other people's homes.

Kira's first play date was at Juliana and Olivia's home. Juliana is 5 years old, and being the older one in the house, plays the role of big sister with confidence. Her little sister Olivia is the same age as Kira, and being her "baby sister", she thinks of Olivia as a baby. So when Juliana heard that Kira was a "big sister" at the age of 2, she thought that was SO funny! A baby being a big sister - imagine! :) We were near the beginning of Kira's toilet-training adventure at the time, so naturally Kira was having waaay too much fun to notice the urgency of her need to pee until it was too late. Aside from that mishap, we all had a really fun time. The girls played with toys together, drew together, read books, and even started to play a board game! We mommies even found time to have an adult conversation while the girls amused themselves in the basement (ahh, the luxury of having an older child - can't wait!). Of course, Calvin came along for the ride as well, but he was busy sleeping or pooing most of the time.

Here's an adorable video of Kira with her friend Jaiden. Vicki and I were diligent in being sure to supervise the kids and be next to them at all times to avoid collisions, fights or other mishaps. However, when we were both in the kitchen chatting for a moment, Vicki looked in on them in the living room and found them entertaining themselves. Unfortunately I didn't catch it all since I was busy preparing lunch, but here's part of what was going on in there. I LOVE this video! By the way, you'll notice Kira's wearing her princess costume. Try as we may to shelter her from the world of princesses and Barbies, she loves dress-up and it's hard for her to resist our bin full of costumes (some given to us, hence the princess one!)

I'm dreaming of getting a swing set and sandbox when the snow thaws, so we can take these play dates outdoors soon! Swings, sandbox playtime, picnic and watermelons - all outdoors! And all the mess stays outside! Experienced moms are all scoffing at me now, because the mess can't possibly all stay outside, am I right?