We all make them for our kids, or get invites in return. No new concept there. Just a scheduled time for kids to get together. Yet, it didn’t used to always be that way.

Remember the days when you just showed up and rang your friend’s doorbell?

That’s what we do in our neighborhood, which surprised my younger sister when she was over about a week ago. She seemed surprised by the constant chimes of the doorbell, where we would be greeted by various faces sprinkled with freckles requesting if one of my kids could play. ‘That seems odd to me,’ she said, ‘I figured everyone schedules official playdates now and days.’ Not the case, though it would be nice, since the boys run like a pack of wild beasts everytime they hear the door, inevitably screaming ‘Who is it? Who is it?’

Those questions are usually followed by disappointing groans when they realize it’s the lawn guy who arrived to do his monthly treatment.

During a recent visit from Hayden’s favorite buddy, Tommy, I answered the door and Tommy asked the usual, ‘Can Hayden play?’ I told him yes and turned to inform Hayden, who was in our basement, that he had a visitor. Tommy came in, but waited at the front door. Here’s a recap:

Me: Hayden, you have a visitor.

Hayden: Ok…who is it?

Me: Tommy.

Tommy: Yes?

Me: Oh, nothing, Hayden was asking who is here.

Hayden: (Playing a video game) Mom, who IS it?

Me: Tommmmmmy.

Tommy: Yes, I’m right here.

Me: I know you are, honey…but Hayden was asking something.

Hayden: Mom, you didn’t answer me!

Me: I am answering, buddy…I said, ‘TOMMY.’

Tommy: Yes? I didn’t go anywhere.

And you get the point. Short of beating my head against the staircase banister, I wasn’t going to find an end to this conversation, so I led Tommy down the stairs.

Come to think of it, scheduled playdates aren’t such a bad idea.