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Recently I decided to man-up and invite my daughter’s classmates over for a playdate. As in, all of them. And there are 30 kids in her kindergarten class. But it was a school holiday and I knew we’d be bored, so I decided to be hospitable. Lucky for me, it was short notice and only a handful of her friends were able to come. I thought it would be fun getting to know some of my daughter’s new friends and chatting with their parents.

See, the thing is, I am not used to this. For the past few years I’ve been the puppeteer manipulating my daughter’s social life. I’ve gone from baby yoga and sing-alongs to casually weeding through moms and toddlers at the playground in search of “my type.” But it’s different now. My daughter is in kindergarten and she’s started making her own friends. It’s sweet, watching them giggle and whisper, passing notes and playing house. They’re all so bouncy and chubby-cheeked and pint-sized. What’s not to like?!

Well, now that I’m getting to know them a little better, turns out there can be a lot not to like.

“I don’t want to play that game. It’s too babyish.”

That’s what one little girl (we’ll call her Drizella) said at the big group playdate at my house. Granted, she was referring to Candy Land, but you should have seen the look on my 5-year-old’s face. Pure shame. Needless to say, Drizella easily won the argument and settled on a cooler toy. The entire playdate was a total roller coaster ride. They usually are, in fact. Incessant baby voices followed by adorable photo ops, followed again by complaints that the snacks are too boring or the Play Doh too dry.

There are the dreaded “tornado kids,” too. You know who I mean. Whether it’s crunched up Goldfish on the carpet or the aftermath of a dress-up chest explosion, when it’s time to go, those kids better get on their hands and knees and clean up before peacing out. And speaking of leaving, they better do that, too. Nobody likes a 5-hour playdate. Let me rephrase, no adult likes to supervise a 5-hour playdate (at least not without wine).

And those are just the annoying kids. What am I supposed to do about the bad ones? Like the girls who break toys on purpose, or the ones who insist that jumping on furniture is allowed, even when I say it isn’t. And what about the boy who taught everyone on the school bus that it’s fun to steal money out of your mom’s purse? I’m not saying pinching a few quarters from my change purse is a gateway drug, but it’s not great.

What scares me the most is that this is only the beginning. The bossy girls might grow up to bully my daughter; the show-offs could give her an inferiority complex. And who knows what’s next for the Jesus freak who convinced her that God created the world in 7 days and ‘darn’ is a swear word? Believe me, I know my daughter is no saint, either. She picks her nose and hisses at me and she’s stubborn as hell.

Still, I will continue to support (and, in fact, instigate) playdates with these bossy, rude, messy, baby-talkin’ kleptos because I want her to be happy and for her to know that I’m on her side.

That being said, if anyone messes with her, the gloves are coming off.

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Photo: Getty