I sincerely wish that the thought of Thing Two having a playdate did not fill me with such dread for days beforehand. Bless the child, he really wants to have friends over, but he isn't 100% clear on the concept of how to play nicely one-on-one for an extended period yet.
In fairness, I should note that the fact that we have reached this point, intermediate as it is, represents huge progress for him. For years he didn't really interact with the other kids in his classes at all, probably because he got tired of not understanding anything they were saying to him. So the kid had an uphill battle on his hands, socially speaking, to figure out how to interact properly once all the speech therapy started kicking in and his language comprehension began to improve. Just this year, he's begun to have real friends, in the form of children that he repeatedly gravitates toward and plays with at recess, soccer practice, etc. He's best with active games: tag, bowling, basketball, Wii, hide and seek, etc. He has a harder time with imaginative play still, especially if it is the quieter kind.
So now, finally, he does have school friends, and he has grasped (from watching his big brother, and this increasing awareness of social norms is a huge step for him too) that he could be playing with these kids outside of school as well. We've set up playdates for him in the past, with greater or lesser success depending on the kid invited over. But we keep trying, because the social element for him is a missing piece that we really want to help him to work on.
This being their Spring Break week, and our usual after-school calendar being too full for many playdates, both boys have been asking to have friends over this week. The first playdate I tried to set up was for Thing One. The boy he wanted to have over was free this afternoon, and the mom asked if I could possibly include his younger brother as well because she needed to go in to work. The younger brother conveniently being in Thing Two's grade, if not a particular friend of his, I agreed readily.
The Girl, hearing that both of her big brothers were going to have friends here today, and not at all the sort to quietly suffer being left out, asked for a playdate of her own with one of her classmates. So for the last three days, I have been contemplating what it was going to be like to have six children here at once, which would be daunting enough even without Thing Two's social issues requiring relatively constant supervision of his interactions. Efficient to schedule multiple playdates at once, but logistically challenging!
UPDATE: The three visitors left a little while ago, and I would call the playdate a virtually unmitigated success! The girls played quietly and agreeably upstairs and downstairs, and the four boys alternated (together, as a group) between the Wii and the basketball hoop in the driveway. Whew! Now, I take a deep breath and relax...