I love it when my friends are on maternity leave because I get to see them more often:-) This visit was just as nice as last week and we covered a wide range of topics. One of these topics was about play dates and how different we are from our mothers. Times sure have changed.
Our mother's rarely had to organize play dates for us when we were kids. She would send us out the door in the morning and tell us not to come back until supper. And all the while she would tell us to "go find something to do" or "go find someone to play with". If we did that nowadays, we would be hauled into Social Services on child neglect charges.
Also, there is a whole subculture and etiquette to playdates. First, you have to find time on both your busy calendars for the event. Then, it's all in how you ask for the date that tell you the rules of engagement. For example, if a mother said to me, "Would your daughter like to come over and play?", then I know that it is a drop and go. I drop off my daughter, leave the premises and return when at a mutually acceptable time to retrieve my child. The means that the inviter is accepting responsibilty and entertainment for your child but they don't necessarily want to strike up a friendship between the adults.
Conversely, if a mother said to me, "Do you guys want to come over and play?", then I it is a whole different playgame. This parent does not want to full responsiblity of watching your child however, may be interested in striking up a friendship among the adults involved.
So, things are a lot more complicated for us than for our mothers however, as long as we know the rules, we should be ok:-)