Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I love our new house - love the layout, love the quiet neighborhood, love the closeness to nice grocery stores (not the shabby Safeway we lived next to in the rental house), love being so close to Kari's family... what I am not necessarily in love with are the neighbors.  The miniature neighbors, that is, the ones who always want to come over and play.  Here's the rundown.

We have one set of neighbors with young boys, ages 6 and 3, that love to ride their bikes around and yadda yadda and they're great!  Perfect fit for our kids, and they have played here and Patrick has played at their house.  We have a second set of neighbors who are retired but a number of times each week their grandsons stay with them.  THESE boys are ages 9 and 11 and, while we were cleaning the house and preparing to move in, seriously headed across the street the moment they saw us pull into the driveway. Every time!  They liked the play with the kids but one time we had NO kids and they just walked on over and inside anyway!  Now that they are in school they head to our house the moment they are dropped off! 

This is weird.

I've got a couple thoughts swimming about here -
1) I am happy there are kids nearby who like to play with our kids. They're friendly and polite and get along really well; our kids definitely enjoy them coming over.
2) I am totally weirded out by the age gap.  Why would those older boys want to play with kids who are 4, 2, and 1 years old?  I would understand it a lot more, I suppose, if it were girls, who often like to feel like babysitters and moms or some authoritarian-over-small-people figure, but boys? I'm confused.
3) We kinda feel like the grandparents are mooching.  Seriously, we are not even completely moved in! For a month we were just coming here to WORK, so no, I do not want to watch your kids; now that we ARE moved in we are unpacking and painting and NO, I do not want to watch your kids! I am weeks (or days, please please!) away from delivering, do you think I don't have my hands full? Or do you perhaps think that because your grandkids are older they are babysitting rather than being babysat?
4) To be fair, I have not sent my kids to THEIR house to play, and I don't necessarily expect them to head here to ask if my kids want to go there... once you're together, let playtime begin!
5) I do not plan on sending my kids to their house to play.  While the grandparents are very nice (we've met them), these kids are totally older and have access to things (like the internet, video games, etc) that my kids don't have, and they might not get that what's appropriate for an 11-year-old just isn't for a 4-year-old.  Basically, I'm scared my kid will have a creepy experience where some older kid whipped out a Playboy magazine they nicked from their dad/older brother/whoever (and of course the sweet grandparents don't know) and now my kid's totally confused.  So now it's back to being resentful because the only option I'm comfortable with is having extra kids at my house.

Am I being paranoid? Do you guys have any experience with something like this? Kathy, does Gideon hang out with Rushmore's friends? (Just putting that in writing is so ridiculous, I'm thinking "nope!").  What about you, Sherrye? Debbie? Mom? Anyone? I want to be polite but, at the same time, not dread 3:00 as the school bus is dropping its load and, consequently, MY load.    


Elsha said...

Weird. If it were me I'd totally send them home (or back to grandparents I guess) with a, "We're actually busy doing (fill in the blank) so you'll have to come back another time." Also, I would definitely not send my kids over there.

Tante Sherrye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tante Sherrye said...

(Upps-minor technical error here)
2nd try =
Yes, it is odd, but Elsha´s solution is spot on.
I have always liked that my house is THE PLACE that all the kids would rather be. I know where AJ is, who he´s with, what they´re up to, what they are and are not eating, etc. Don´t be shy about rules & boundaries.
I suspect that you and Joe are the actual draw, your kids are a bonus. Your family is probably the one they wish they were a part of! (Dimestore psychology)

Kathy said...

I agree with both of these statements. I've never had a situation like this. My kids actually often just play with each other or have play dates. When I do have younger kids around Gideon will pay attention to them, but only for so long. Maybe you should choose one day a week that is okay for them to come over. I wouldn't let my kids play over there at those ages. You are young and pretty and probably a little cooler then grandparents. Good luck, I do think that is tuff. There really are endless reasons why they would want to be at your house instead of Grandparents.

Eric and Amy said...

We've got the SAME situation at our house and I'm just as uncomfortable with it as you are! There are times I'm okay with the kids playing here and Espen has gone to neighbor's houses a couple of times, but mostly I just want our family time. Lately I've run out of lines so I just say "We'll see you another day!" and ease the door closed even if they're still talking. :/ That's awful, isn't it?!

Jeanette said...

I've been wanting to comment on this for awhile but every time I typed it on my phone it got deleted, so it took me this long to sit down in front of the computer to do it! My kiddos are by far the youngest in the neighborhood, the age range around her is between 9-13. I was SO grateful when they decided to include my kids. They even come over on a daily basis afterschool to see if my kids can come out and play. Granted they all play in the cul-de-sac outside together, and if my kids are out there I make sure I am doing something outside, but they are SO great at including my kids. Maybe it's still the novelty of us being around. Given all that, I would not let them spend lots of unsupervised time at the friends houses and I would not be a free babysitter for the neighborhood kids. We have had a few of the kids over at a time, but never for long periods of time and never really unsupervised. Maybe you could set a rule that your kids are only available to play if you are all outside playing and that it is a rare occasion that they get to come in the house.