We live in a very diverse, young, middle class neighborhood. For the most part, I love it. I love that we can play outside and my kids have no less than 10 “school friends” to play with. Yesterday, I wasn’t loving it so much. We have one set of neighbors that are odd about our kids. They always have been. I have no clue if it’s the sheer volume of children in our home, their outgoing nature (these people are VERY quiet) or our kid’s race. I would prefer to think it’s not their race, but a lot of people assume that we’re running a group home in our neighborhood. When I ask them why they think that it has to do with the race of our kids and the number that live in our home. I ask them not to make assumptions. These neighbors have two children that are just a little older than Giggles. They’re in 4th or 5th grade…maybe? I honestly don’t know. They won’t let our kids play with their children. I don’t care to figure out why.
While I was in Ghana last time the little girl from next door and her little friend from up the street (who happens to be East Indian) decided to “ding dong ditch” our house. The problem was…FPD was sitting at the dining room table when they giggled and ran up to the front door. The dining room table faces out the huge picture window in the front of our house. He saw them do it. He went outside, where they were giggling and hiding on the side of our house and calmly explained that all the little kids were napping and our dog barks loudly at the sound of the doorbell. They told him they didn’t do it. He told them he saw them. They continued to deny it. Then, the other little girl pretended she didn’t speak english!!!! What?!? I’m sorry, but that’s a “learned” behavior. Someone has modeled “pretending” not to speak english to this little girl. FPD marched them both home to discuss it with their parents. They both kind of shrugged.
Fast forward to yesterday. We’re outside riding bikes up and down the sidewalk, carefully avoiding the lawns of both these houses. There is another house on the street with a little boy who plays outside, totally unattended, quite a bit. He’s FIVE. Yes, he plays alone, in an urban neighborhood and he’s FIVE. We’re riding back and forth. I’m pushing the Diva on her big wheel. The “littles” are scootering and the “bigs” are riding their bikes. This little boy tells us not to ride on the sidewalk in front of his house. I tell the kids to ignore him, no one “owns” the sidewalk. One more lawn and driveway to be careful not to set foot on. Ugh. We ignore him and go back and forth a few more times. I’m a few houses away when I hear ShyGuy shout “AHHHH!”. Being a shy guy, he doesn’t usually say much. I look up the street to see him standing there, soaking wet. The kid is holding a garden hose and hosing down all my kids as they are riding by on their bikes. Shy Guy got it in the face, knocking him off his bike. I grabbed the Diva off her bike and ran up there. The kid dropped the hose, ran into his house and shut the door. I banged on the door and a kid who was maybe 12 answered. I asked for his parents, not surprising, they aren’t home. I pointed at my kids and told him what happened. I told him he needs to tell his parents to watch his brother better. He muttered “sorry” and shut the door. I went home, wrote a “thought you might want to know” note and stuck it in their mailbox. Sad. One more kid that my children will be told to steer clear of.
who wonders if she is the only mom left in her neighborhood who actually watches her kids.