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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Playdates

My daughter comes running out of her preschool class and buries her face into my leg for 3 seconds before she begins to jump up and down as she blurts out, "I met a new friend today!"

"That's great Anna," I reply.

"Can she come over to my house and play?" she asks between jumps.

"Well," I pause. She stops jumping. She's four. She doesn't understand the intricacies of a playdate. I need to meet her mom. She needs to meet me. She has to decide if she thinks I'm a pediphile. All complicated stuff for a 4 year old.

"Why not daddy..." Tears well up in her eyes as I see her new best friend walk out of school with her mom. She nodded at me, but that was it. Obviously she's got other things to do, places to go. But is that it? I seriously don't think she thinks I'm a pediphile or anything bad like that, but I can't help wondering if I was a woman, a stay-at-home MOM, she would have come over to talk to me.

It's like that book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: men and women comunicate differently. Everyone knows that. Men talk to men differently than women talk to women. Plus, like Billy Crystal's character says in When Harry Met Sally, "Men and women can't be friends because the sex thing always gets in the way."

Eventually Anna and her new best friend do get to play together. Her mom and I both make efforts to talk to one other as we are picking up our daughters so that we feel a comfort level with each other. Then, the playdate happens. Of course it is quite awhile before the next playdate and the next, but they do happen. It's certainly nobody's fault, it's just kind of the way things are. I need to get over myself and stop thinking the mom might think I'm hitting on her or whatever if I come to talk to her. And the mom needs to start realizing that a man can be full time parent and really only wants his daughter to have a new best friend.

If only it was as easy as it was when you are 4 years old.

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