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No more play dates, they are too much hard work for me

I don't normally do play dates.

Luckily there are children around the same age as Gary, my five-year old, living either side of us. So instead of phoning up all the mothers at my child's school trying to organise play dates, I simply open the front door and let the play dates come to us.

Now I do know parents whose children's social lives are infinitely better than their own. But it seems to me like a lot of hassle to organise play dates all around Dublin and to become an unpaid chauffeur to my son.

However, I recently hosted a play date and invited lots of kids all at once. I decided it was better to have them all around at the same time, rather than spacing lots of play dates throughout the year.

So it was a like a party without the presents, cake and a clown to entertain the children. I thought it would be fun. I was wrong.

At first it was okay as the sun was shining and the children could all play outside. I put up a tent in the garden for everyone to play in.

The kids were delighted with it.or about five minutes. Then the rain came along, and chaos ensued. One child opened a bag of crisps and mashed them into the carpet.

Another drew a picture of a tree with a red crayon. It would have been nice if it hadn't been on my newly-painted wall.

One child picked up a toy sword and tried to behead another child. The other parents were busy changing nappies and blowing noses.

Somebody had brought along a bag of whistles and the noise was deafening. I once thought, many moons ago, that it would be fun to run my own pre-school. My auntie had one when I was younger and I thought it'd be a fun job.

But after last weekend, I realised that myself and lots of very small, very loud people all in the same room doesn't really work. I prefer being a writer. Writing is peaceful and doesn't harm the ears.

One of the play date's mums had brought along her small baby. She was the cutest-looking, angelic child I'd ever seen in my life, all dressed in fluffy pink. I wanted to steal her.

'Don't tell me you're getting broody,' the mum laughed.


To my surprise I realised that yes, I was probably becoming broody. You see, I'd always thought I'd have a little girl. Then Gary came along and I wondered what I would do with him.

I reckoned I'd have to start interesting myself in tractors and racing cars. Certainly Bob the Builder is a big hit in our home, and dolls are banned. So is anything pink.

If I had a little sister for Gary, it would be so cute, I thought. We could go shopping together for dresses! But later on, after the adorable little baby girl vomited all over my friend's lovely, long blonde blow-dried hair, I began to have a few second thoughts.

I suddenly remembered how difficult it is to look after a newborn, not to mention how very expensive it is too. Maybe I could just occasionally borrow my friend's baby. Or even better, just get a kitten.