We have new neighbors with the cutest little kids. A boy who’s 11, another boy who’s 8 and a little pixie of a girl who’s five. Mom and dad are very nice, neighborly folks. No problem, right? WRONG.
I have a little three year old who loves to play outside, and in-between bouts of rain (which, incidentally, I don’t think will EVER stop), occasionally gets to do so. We cannot come home from work/daycare, go out to play, get the newspaper, grill out, cut the grass, ANYTHING, without these children swarming upon us. They LOVE playing with Woob, especially the 5 and 8 year old. The 8 year old, Bobby, is freckle-faced, energetic and daring. Woob idolizes him. Bobby does skateboard tricks in the street, rides his bike in the street, runs in the street, etc. Woob is not allowed in the street, and is rather pissed off about it. Bobby is rough and wants to pick Woob up, tackle him, throw balls towards him and generally roughhouse with him, even though he’s twice as big. Bobby wants to play with Woob’s outdoor toys (and is happy to share his own, which consist of lots and lots of GUNS), but is generally tough on them and uses them for purposes unintended. Woob idolizes Bobby. Afterall, even when Woob hasn’t had supper yet, Bobby offers him popcicles and ice cream and such, putting me in the position of being a mean mommy or spoiling his dinner (AND having to use a gallon of stain-fighter). Its gotten to the point that when we drive into the garage coming home, we automatically close the garage door so we can escape undetected to the inside before the attack. The other day, me and Woob stayed home on a weekday, and it was such a nice day that I took him outside right after lunch. Woob said, “can I play with Bobby?” and I replied, “well, no, Bobby’s at school.” And as God is my witness, as soon as we got outside and I uttered those very words, along came the school bus because it was a HALF DAY OF SCHOOL, and Bobby bounded off the bus and went in for the kill. And I spent the next hour supervising making sure no one got hurt, nothing got broken, and generally telling Bobby to “put him down, please.” I will add that the sheer fact that Woob is out playing, attracts the kids next door, and then when the OTHER neighborhood kids see there’s a “party” going on at our house, then THEY come to play too. Next thing you know, its me sitting out watching six kids playing, and no other parent in sight.
I miss the days when I could sit in my chair under the shade tree and watch Woob play happily in the yard. I miss the days when I had only one child to fuss at. I have become That Neighbor. The Grouchy Neighbor Who Doesn’t Want Kids in Her Yard.
Dear Abby, how would you handle this?