Dear Abby,

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?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Dear Abby,

  1. Dear Woob’s Mom,

    While I might usually suggest a more traditional approach like, oh, insisting that Bobby serve as your practice model for the new Mary Kay business you are thinking about starting, I say this is the time to use current events to your benefit.

    Plan a weekend with family out of town, then ask Bobby’s parents if they might kindly consider housesitting for you while the entire family does missionary work in an understaffed and currently overworked hospital in Mexico. Then, come home coughing loudly and complaining about your sore throat.

    Sincerely,
    Abby

  2. Oh, too funny. Sad, that your one-on-one time with Woob is being encroached upon by this trio. And that the mother is apparently unaware.

    I am just getting into activities where we are playing with kids who are doing/eating/playing with things I consider inappropriate. And thought about posting about this very thing! But haven’t written it yet….. Maybe once I ponder the post, I’ll have some advice for you.

    Hope you get some peaceful yard time soon!

  3. I have one word for you…fence. I hate to say this, as I’m not a big proponent of fences, but it would certainly do the trick. I fear that if you decide to discuss the situation with the mother, she may react in a way that you didn’t expect; a neighbor that hates you isn’t a good neighbor. It may cause more problems than you were trying to avoid in the first place. Some good news: everything with kids is just a phase, so maybe Bobby will soon outgrow the novelty of Woob and find some kids his own age. However, that may not be until you’ve spent the entire summer with these kids tearing around the yard. Good luck!

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