Archive for November, 2009

4 Hours Isn’t a Playdate — It’s Free Babysitting

play dates

Yo, listen up!

Playdates are part of my life — even more so now that I’m a full-time stay at home mom. It’s part of my job to juggle Jasper and Magnolia‘s social schedules in and around their school time. And that’s cool. But a recent request  made me realize that I have a couple of, um, ideas about these little get-togethers. A mom I know was looking to schedule a 4-hour drop-off playdate for her child while she took care of a work obligation. And this wasn’t the first time I’d had a similar request from this (very sweet) family.

Which got me thinking. Here’s the thing about playdates….

They generally shouldn’t last longer than an hour or two, thank you very much. 4 hours isn’t a playdate — it’s free babysitting. And….

There should be an informal reciprocal pattern, just as there is for dinner invitations with adults. You bring your kid to my house for a while — whether you stay while they play or not — and I’d like to be able to look forward to the same. The mom in question (a woman I like a lot) has left her child with me probably four or five times and Jasper has never once been invited to their house for a playdate.

Not that I’m keeping score or anything, but let’s be fair. An hour or two without a kid is bonus time — found, free time to get something done either for work or for yourself. I’m happy to child-mind for a bit, but I’d love it if I could expect to drop my kid with you, too, at some point.

Oh, and another thing, while we’re at it.

Please be punctual for pick-up times. If I say I’ll be back to pick up my child in an hour and a half, unless all hell breaks loose, I’ll be ringing your doorbell in an hour and 29 minutes. Not because I’m an anal, time-obsessed freak (although there is a bit of truth to that, too), but more important, because I value your time. I know you’re busy and on a schedule and have a million things to do. I’d appreciate the same consideration.

So, you know, feel free to call me up for some super-fun playdates with the kids! But if what you really need is a half-day of childcare, call a babysitter, please.


Maclaren Recalls 1 Million Strollers — Ours Is Probably One of Them

maclaren stroller recall

Miss Magnolia -- showing off her summer birthday pedi -- in our Maclaren.

Maclaren hasn’t even officially announced the news yet, but according to various reports today, they’re set to announce on Tuesday a massive recall of 1 million umbrella strollers sold between 1999 and the present. Crap.

They’ll release specific model numbers tomorrow, but if the number is that huge, and if it’s really ALL of their umbrella strollers, I’m betting that my 2003 Volo (it’s old! it’s been through two kids!) will be among those recalled. The reason for the recall? A faulty hinge has accidentally cut off the fingertips of 12+ kids as the stroller is being opened or closed — !!! The company plans to make stroller repair kits that will fix the problem available to parents through their web site. (The Maclaren U.S. site appears to be up and down today, no doubt due to overwhelming traffic.)

Although Magnolia is 3, we do still use the stroller. Without it, walks that normally take 15 minutes would take twice as long, at least. Luckily, she doesn’t have the roaming, prying little baby fingers that would be so likely to get caught. But, still — we’ll have to be careful until we get that repair kit. And we will get it if our stroller is one of the faulty ones.

Do you have a Maclaren? Are you worried about the rumored recall?

UPDATE: It’s official now. So, here are the deets on the recall, including a list of the models being recalled. But, basically, if you have a folding Maclaren stroller from 1999 or later, it’s on the list.

And here’s an interview with Bahman Kia, the President of the Company, via the big-time baby gear gurus at Baby Bargains.

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