We’ve been in this house now for three weeks and one day. It’s beginning to feel like home. But lawdy, it’s a mess. We have too much stuff. But that’s another post.
We’re gradually developing a new kind of normal in a neighborhood ripe with wild banshees. Close your eyes and stab your finger outside in any direction and when you open them you’ll find yourself pointing at any number of one or two half-a-dozen children, all ten and under, mostly boys, all within shouting distance. Sometimes even within whispering, if you don’t watch your step.
Living near so many other children is a mixed bag, for sure. I’m gradually getting a feel for some of them, and they’re gradually getting a feel for each other. At least three other families within rock-throwing distance moved in just weeks before us. You might say this is a transitional neighborhood.
I knew we were taking a chance by living in military housing, in such close quarters to multiple families all in the same stage of life of moving around and raising children and coming from goodness knows where. Having lots of kids nearby for your kids to play with can be good, and it can be bad.
For the most part, things are working out. Although just today Peter stomped into the house and yelled, “I have had it with that kid!” Keeping in mind he’s talking about a 5yo next door that he’s known for all of three weeks.
Aside from being so, so very tired that he ended up falling asleep in his room where he was sent after stomping around and kicking his shoe across the room (narrowly missing a drink sitting next to this laptop) we’ve had some other adjustments to living in the Land of Children Plenty, prompting me to quickly write out some rules for Peter and tape them to the front door. (And no, we still don’t have our printer hooked up.) (Although at this rate, I may just tattoo them to his eyeballs.)
1) Do not leave the yard without asking.
2) Do not leave the house without asking.
3) Do not cross the street without asking.
4) Look both ways before crossing the street.
And yes, I realize that he would need to ask to leave the house before asking to leave the yard. This was done impromptu-like, people. Plus, I wrote them in the order as Peter remembered them, so often had I been telling him these things, repeatedly, to no avail. “I just keep forgetting!”
One more very important rule that still needs to be added:
“Never, EVER, go into someone else’s home without asking your mom first.”
This one is for Peter and Olivia, much to my surprise: very out of character for her. But why the emphasis on “your”?
“But his mom said it was okay!”
After I explained that their mom is not in charge of my children and nor do I read minds or have x-ray vision that allows me to see through walls, I attempted to explain to my children why moms worry when they look outside and their children are no longer there. It’s difficult, that one, when you’re still a bit freaked out and wanting to drive the point home without scaring your children. As it was, I almost had Olivia in tears. I think my uber gentleness upset her more than if I’d used my normal mommy voice.
So many instant playmates is great, it really is. Except when it isn’t. We didn’t come from a neighborhood with so many children they seem to leak from the walls, so it’s been a bit of a shock as well. I admit it will be a bit of a relief when the local school starts and we develop our own routine of homeschooling. And I have to chuckle when I think about concerns that people have for homeschoolers and their “socialization.” I, for one, wouldn’t mind a little less of it for a bit.