As it happens, most of my friends with children Will's age have sons. And most of the time when Will buddies up with someone at school, it's a boy. So for quite a while now, we've been having almost exclusively male playdates -- the kind where just one kid gets dropped off by his mom so I can get some chores done undisturbed while Will and his buddy run around in their spiderman costumes or some similar garb pretend fighting and saving the world. Sure they also pretend that they're dogs, go on fantasy camping trips, or build stuff with legos, or construct forts with sheets -- but we rarely break out the tea set and we don't even own a doll house.
We need some more girl influence in our house. So this week we invited one of Will's female classmates, Lucy, over for a playdate after we'd run into her family at the park and realized how much Will and Lucy enjoyed playing together. When Lucy first arrived at our house, Will seemed a tad jittery. He went straight for his ball basket and started tossing the football back and forth to himself as he made proclamations about his love for football.
"I don't like football," Lucy said, with a scrunched up nose.
"Hmm. I guess we don't have much girl stuff," Will said, looking at me and shrugging his shoulders, unsure of his next move.
That's when I jumped in with an offering of Play-Doh, butter knives and rolling pins to get things started. And from there on out, Will more readily accepted suggestions from me for play activites than he ever does. He and Lucy did easel painting, put on puppet shows and built forts with sheets. But Will also convinced her to play football for just a little bit, since Lucy admitted that she did like to be an Auburn cheerleader.
Long after she'd left, Will told Rob he'd like to get some Barbies for Christmas.
Here are a few quotes from our multi-gender playdate:
"The cheerleaders set the balls down, right?"
"I am NOT playing football."
"But it's 6:00. It's time to start the game. She can be a fan!"
"A girl is not a boy."
"And a boy is not a girl. And a boot is a boot."