First, ask your preschooler if she wants to invite over her favorite friend to play during Spring Break. Invariably, this will be the playground “alpha dog” that deeply influences every schoolmate’s wardrobe choices, play interest, and general sense of self worth.
Second, do not anticipate that your own child will be spending the entire play date working freakishly hard to impress said friend, who should begin the date by announcing to your child, “Your jeans are funny!”
Third, do not maintain a beatific face of calm and love when, despite repeatedly declining their advances, the children continually ask you to play with them the way her friend’s mom does, every 2-3 minutes: chase, monster, dolls, camping, dentist office, etc.
Fourth, do bend to your child’s request to show her friend that she can now ride without training wheels. Also, make sure you don’t run alongside the bike like you normally would. This will cause your child to crash into the grass, giving her “friend” the perfect opening to say, “Seeeee?”
Fifth, poo-pooing your uber-white child’s longstanding delusion that she is “faster than a cheetah,” do bend to her request to time her and her friend in a footrace around the house. Forget that the friend is black, lean, and athletic. There are no guarantees, of course, but you’re playing the odds that this will give her friend another opening to say, “Seeee?”
Sixth, serve carrot sticks.
Seventh, offer to pack another snack in a portable cooler for their pretend camping trip. Open the cooler in front of the kids to reveal an old sandwich sporting about three inches of white, furry mold. Try to make this seem cool and interesting.
Eighth, banish the girls to the playroom after they ask for the third time in 10 minutes if you will play hide-the-fruit. Do not hide your irritation when the friend says, “Seeeee?”
Ninth, ask your child why she’s suddenly sucking her thumb today, not realizing how much her friend will enjoy your doing so.
Tenth, when you think the kids are in your child’s bedroom, rip off a colossal, booming, one-for-the-books fart. Then realize the friend is actually standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at you, judging you, quietly making you understand exactly why it is she really is the alpha dog. Smile right back at her, frightfully matching the little hint of devil in her eyes.