Besides a few casual meetups in the park, we haven't made any official play dates for our son so we've yet to wade into these potentially treacherous waters. Ideally we imagine a play date in which our son and a mate enjoy themselves playing peacefully together whilst we share in some adult conversation with a friendly, similarly-minded parent. But from what we hear and read, play dates can be fraught with tension, judgment, and misunderstandings.
So we were interested to read a recent article, "In Defense of the Play Date," by Emily Bazelon on Slate. She starts by recounting Mary McCarthy's depiction of a catty, condemnatory play date in The Group which, frankly, put chills down our spine. While admitting to a few play date "mishaps and mismatches" Bazelon proceeds more optimistically to talk about the positive experiences and relationships she's made through play dates.
What about you - do play dates help you keep your sanity or push you over the edge?