Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Want My Two Dollars!

There is a kid that wants so badly to have a play date with my son Jackson that he is starting to hound me in my dreams. He was in Jackson's first grade class, where I volunteered once a month as an assistant. I was mortified on one such occasion when he sat in front of me and jammed his hand down his pants between his butt cheeks. He was also on my soccer team, put there by league management because he monopolized his previous coach's time with endless questions and requests.

Towards the end of the season is when it started—the incessant drone, the rata-tat-tat of request after request for a play date, right in front of his parents who never took the hint. The reasons why I won't are two-fold. First, as bad as I feel for the kid, he's got some filthy habits. And two, his parents are strange. Strange can be good, but between them and myself there always hangs an oppressive and uncomfortable silence. With play dates come the parents, and if that doesn't work out, then the kids don't work out, not at this age. I'm damn sure not dropping Jackson off at their house, and that kid is not coming over here unless he wears latex gloves and he agrees to a prison-style hose down.

When soccer season ended, I thought I was free of this persistent menace. But this week Jackson is taking a community course on building with Legos. There are other courses going on at the same time. Walking down the hall to drop Jackson off, I heard a familiar voice come from an adjacent classroom. I panicked, looking for nooks and crannies, perhaps an open locker to jam myself into—but it was too late.

"I want a play date with Jackson!"

"It's a complex thing with work and all…"

"I think I've been very patient."

"I know, but I… I'll…"

"Let's get it done before Labor Day, ok?"

I have to walk this gauntlet for three more days, and baby, I'm counting.

I told my wife about it, and she got a big laugh. That is, until I told her that next time he asks, I'm going to tell him to have his mother give her a call. A bucket of ice water to her face would have chilled her less.


Kathleen said...

This whole play date thing is just bizarre to me. Mostly my mother just sent us outside where we found all the other kids of the neighborhood whose mothers had sent them outside. I remember ONCE going to a girl from school's house to play - can't remember what we did, but I remember it happening.

Hand down his pants between his butt cheeks? Yeah, not so much, but for such a little guy he's awful damn persistent.

Scott said...

It was the same for me when I was a kid too, but we live on a semi-busy street and Jackson is too young to turn loose. Besides, everybody had a childhood like you describe, but times are totally different now. There are two registered sex offenders living withing a mile of here. Registered, as in: they got caught.

24crayons said...

I never had play dates as a kid, I had my next door neighbor when I was home and I invited kids over for sleep overs etc - but never anything called a 'play date'.

My daughter has had play dates, my son refuses to call anyone for a 'play date'. He does skateboard with these other kids in the neighborhood now though but he told me he doesn't want any of THOSE kids in our house. That's usually in the parking lot to the side of my house though, (school parking lot).

With the sex-offenders you (of course) have to be careful, unless you know that it was specifically what they did. For instance there is one in my neighborhood, and I found out it happened 10 years ago, and he was 19 and she was 16, and for the rest of his life, he'll be considered a sex offender. I'm hardly sketchy of that one, but I am wary of the others that are all over the place.

curious servant said...

There is something extremely needy about the child.

As a middle school teacher I've seen a number of kids like that.

last year, one in a foster home, started pushing me and mentioning to the counselor, that he wanted me to ADOPT HIM!

I would guess there are some real connections between his needs and the strangeness of his parents.

Tee said...

I've had a similar experience except it's a neighbor kid - so there's no escape. He has mostly gotten the message and only asks every few months now - but it took him asking daily for nearly a year.

I finally had a talk with him and told him that I just don't let my kid out to play much with other kids because I'm over protective.

The kid says, "So, Nick (my son), is a Mama's boy?" - I said, "I guess so" ... and he hasn't bothered much since.

Maybe I ruined my son's reputation in the neighborhood but any kid with a mouth like this neighbor kid has isn't worth being friends with anyway.

mr. schprock said...

But he has so much love to give! Maybe your family reaching out can turn him from growing up into a serial murderer or telemarketer.

Anonymous said...

The word "play date" must be a recent one, I don't recall ever in my younger years arranging for a "play date". Do you know the etymology of this "play date" concept?

Jada's Gigi said...

He actually said "I think I've been very patient, and let's get it done by Labor Day"???? LOL my condolences to you...I think he actually probably wants a play date with you...sounds like he's in need of some serious attention.

magnetbabe said...

During the first part of the post I actually felt really bad for the kid. But then you shared the dialogue you had with him and he sounds like a little prick.

Beth said...

That child is missing a lot of love. It's really too bad. I feel bad for laughing so hard at the end.

Stop by my blog for the news, my friend.

Shesawriter said...

I had a similar incident only it was the mother. She got an attitude because I wouldn't let my son come over. She's the neighborhood gossip and I can't stand the woman. I could see her pumping my boy for info since she knows EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY in the neighborhood. And how does she know? Because she's the neighborhood "mom." Kids are in and out of her house constantly. I can't stand the woman. She's a busybody.

I will not let my son go over her house so she can get in my business. Now whenever she sees me, she rolls her eyes. The woman HAS to be liked and doesn't understand when someone wants to avoid her. It makes her crazy.

The Zombieslayer said...

I love John Cusack movies! I saw that one 2 or 3 times. Better Off Dead, right?

There are courses for building with Legos? I want to take that one.

Alan said...

Have mercy. I would be beside myself with homicidal tendencies. If I didn't want someone to pursue me, and they kept on doing it? Obliviously, as if they had no aptitude to get a clue? Makes. Me. Crazy. Like a trapped cat.

And consequently, this is one of my all-time fears. Being that guy. Qualities to admire are so rare anymore. (Sorry world, it's just true. The word is called "average" for a reason.) So I can't help but gravitate towards good people.

And if I gravitated, and that good person were to scorn me? Oh, it'd hurt. I'm not saying I'd boil their pet rabbit in their crockpot or anything ... I'm just saying I'd be crushed.

(Note to self: no more reaching into my pants! LOL!!!)

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I'm with Trevor.

This word seems to be a depressingly formal concept for a period of life when casual misadventure with random peers should be the norm.

What is the world coming to?


Toni Anderson said...

eek. I hate those situations :) I don't even know what to say LOL.

jenbeauty said...

"and that kid is not coming over here unless he wears latex gloves and he agrees to a prison-style hose down."


Hoodie said...

In the second grade I used to watch a boy in my class pick his nose and put it in his pants *underwear included*.

He touched me once and I started to cry.

I've been wary of anyone name Curtis ever since.

Dixie Belle said...

I, too, have never heard the term, play date. I never had one and neither did my son. It seems weird the kid would be asking you. Down here, it usually your own kid wanting to know if he can have so-and-so over or "have company".

Anonymous said...


Kathleen said...

Yes, I understand the world is different, and I didn't realise you lived on a semi-busy street. Still, it's just crazy the way kids' lives are so scheduled these days.

Bailey Stewart said...

I do feel sorry for that child - his parent's have failed him in social etiquette so he'll never fit in. Still, there isn't anything you or anyone else can do about it except to keep avoiding him.