I heard about this term for the very first time when my elder son was 3 years old. “Playdate?” I had asked this mum who was one of my first ‘mummy’ friends in HK, just to re-confirm that I had heard correctly. “Do you mean that we have to fix a time and a place just for the kids to meet up and have a play?” And so it was apparently…it was my son’s first ‘playdate’ ever, it was well coordinated by 2 sets of young mums, beautifully organised with the right kind of toys, tea/coffee/snacks and the much needed ‘no-stress’ time for the mums AND dinner for the kids!! Of course it turned out to be a big success!
It was a far cry from the sort of play that I used to have when I was little. I remember going down to our building compound every evening and playing with whoever was around, no matter what age or gender…if there was no body around then just roam around till it was time to go back home. But THIS was completely different. I was amazed and fell in love instantly with this new concept. So much so that I started organising playdates soon after that. We had after-school playdates, lunch playdates, coffee playdates, swimming playdates, park playdates, movie playdates, football playdates and whatever other playdates I could think of and I haven’t stopped ever since! After a few years we graduated to sibling playdates since I had to keep both my sons busy and happy. Of course being in HK I had to accept the fact that some playdates would only be conducted or accompanied by the ubiquitous helper or ‘amah’, which I why sometimes I did let my helper (ex-helper) take charge, but those playdates would be far and few. I thoroughly enjoyed this playdate business and not only did it help my sons interact and make new friends quickly in new countries but it would also help me build my social circle easily. I have made many good acquaintances and some excellent life long friends this way and continue to do so, although now after-school activities are taking more priority with the kids growing up. But, having said that, I am still very grateful to that mum who first introduced me to this ”life-saving” concept in the world of a stay-at-home mum.