We have hosted our fair share of dinner parties, wedding/baby showers, backyard bbq’s but hosting a play date has presented us with a brand new set of challenges.

We are not as concerned about the cleanliness of the house (although, it’s nice to welcome kids into some degree of order in disguise). I guess it’s just assumed the mess we clean will inevitably reappear within minutes so surely there’s some other way we could spend our pre-play date prep time.

The menu isn’t necessarily something that will be remembered and shared around the water fountain for weeks to come so mac ‘n cheese, a few raw veggies, fruit and perhaps a homemade baked goodie is all that needs to be considered.

My duties do not involve providing glowing conversation, in fact, my five year old has forbidden me to speak to her play friends other than the most basic welcome because, “you are stealing my friends when you talk to them, now they’re your friends, not mine.”

So, to reiterate, no cleaning, no cooking, no talking with the exception of a standard greeting requiring little to no dialogue exchange from visiting child, moving backwards take their jacket, no eye-contact and walk away, sound simple?

Here are a few new rules I’ve been saddled with as of late:

1. Keep the baby away from us at all times. She ruins everything, she eats our craft projects, steals our play date’s winter hats and hides them in her toy basket.

Rebuttal: But she’s part of our fam…il…..y….(and they’re out of earshot)

2. Keep Daddy away from our friends. He embarrasses us when he sings.

Rebuttal: When does he sing?

Kids: Every morning when we wait for the bus, he shouts as the neighbours march quickly down their driveway, “It’s the Martin and Logan show starring Martin and Logan!”

Hmmm. I just see smiling, happy children who excitedly scurry past a man cheering them onto the bus. Sounds like a greeting of champions to me.

3. If the five year old gets to have a friend over, the seven year old gets to have a friend over. If the five year old’s friend is home and the seven year old’s friend is away all play dates must be re-scheduled until it is fair.

4. If the seven year old’s friend is available but the five year old’s friend is not, too bad five year old, that’s what happens when you are the younger sibling.

5. Candy. We can have treats and candy without asking throughout the duration of the play date and we will find them in places you didn’t know we knew existed. For example, the high shelf above the pantry cupboard in the kitchen where there are half-eaten bags of chips and the laundry room closet where the leftover Hallowe’en candy is hidden behind the iron. Don’t question how we know and we won’t eat it other than during a play date when we will eat so much our teeth will be on the floor before the end of the four hours.

6. We will complain “we’re bored” and “what should we do” the entire time our friends are visiting despite begging to have friends over so we would have something to do. You can call out suggestions from the other room but remember the no eye-contact rule if you do decide to follow the trail of candy wrappers into our secret lair.

7. We reserve the right to remove all toys from baskets, bookshelves and drawers, unwrap new games, make pipe-cleaner streamers, leave glue oozing on the floor, wear make-up and smear it on all countertops and mirrors, try on every article of clothing in every closet in the house without putting any of it away.

8. We can talk about things that are beyond our comprehension and argue over all-things-Bieber.

9. We realize we are not the boss of you Mom but just for the play date when we are trying to be super cool in front of our friends is it okay if we roll our eyes at you and say “Ma-um” every time you open your mouth to speak or chew?