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Play Date Nirvana

Play Date Nirvana

When I was 7 years old, I had a friend with the coolest mom. She pretty much let us have run of the house which made for the best play dates. When we played hide and seek, every room and closet was available to us. I remember a neverending supply of Shrinky Dinks (hello 70’s!). We were also allowed to swim in their backyard pool (with slide and diving board) under no supervision. Please feel free to cringe at that last one. Trust me, I am.

Her mom even let us make our own lunches — peanut butter sandwiches with chocolate syrup drizzled in the middle was perfectly okay. For snack, we could eat as many Kraft Cheese ‘N Cracker packs as we wanted. You know the ones that come with a plastic red spreader? Oh, glorious processed cheese!

As a mom, I can see that play dates filled with sugar and lack of supervision may not be exactly as cool as my 7-year-old-self once thought. Still, I want my kids to have that sense of play date nirvana. The pure joy of play mixed with a little bit of “Hey, I wish we could do that at my house!” adventure.

Enter my friend Kristina. She is one of the coolest mom’s around and also one of my closest friends. Any play date at Kristina’s house is pure heaven for my kids and there are literally tears when we leave. Kristina is the mom who buys wrapping paper specifically so the kids can wrap anything in the house. My daughter wraps everything from books, to clocks, to lipstick.

And Kristina’s couches? Oh my! They’re the super soft slip covered kind, perfect for jumping and using the cushions to build forts. The best part for the kids? They’re allowed to jump from a standing position on the coffee table to the couch. The first time my husband saw our son move from their coffee table to fly through the air he almost had a heart attack. I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders and said, “It’s okay. It’s Kristina’s house!” And somehow, at Kristina’s house it just works. The kids land on soft cushions with huge grins.

Now, this is not to say that Kristina is lax on rules or safety in her house. I trust her with both my kids’ life. It’s just that she has an open mind and when her kids suggest doing something out of the box, she doesn’t automatically veto it.

At Kristina’s house, it’s not about the stuff she has; it’s about how she inspires her kids in their play. And most importantly, she takes the time to play with her kids. No wonder my children love playing with her kids at her house. I am lucky to have Kristina in my life and I truly hope you and your children have your own “Kristina” in yours.