We moved into our sleepy little neighborhood about a year ago. It is green, quiet, and zoned for all the schools we want. Plus, there are tons of kids. Score, right! Well, sometimes... I used to daydream about slow summer days where all the neighborhood kids ran around together like a primeval herd of wild elk, descending upon various houses for juice boxes and Totinos pizza roll snacks. They would play from sunup to sundown, only returning for sustinance and to fall exhausted into their beds. Everyone would smell of sunscreen and bug spray, their sun-browned limbs flashing through the trees as they raced across yards...
That was my bubble popping. Loudly and painfully.
THIS is our reality:
We have dogs.
They are good dogs, mind you. One is a 14 year old tri-colored throw rug that at one point was a beagle but now is a sleeping, eating, and pooping machine. But mostly sleeping. The other is a 7 year old black lab/pony mix whose one goal in life is to play and play hard. Fetch, tag, WWE wrestling... she is down for it all... but they are still dogs. You have a much likelier chance of being bitten by my toddler than by one of my dogs but still... when Mommy and Daddy haven't taught you any animal sense, I worry. So... the dogs get locked up.
Your children are annoying.
Christonasaltine, fortheloveofallthatisholyandgood will you just shuttheeffup! My neighborhood is crawling with little dictators who come into my back yard to yell that "Your baby won't get off the slide!" (well, it's her yard and her slide), or that "You should do it this way because...", or even better... the non-stop diatribe about their recent family trip to (insert boring locale here) to visit (insert someone I don't care about here) with little tidbits dropped that leave me wondering if good old (whoever) is a pedophile/shut-in/serial killer.
Where are your parents?
Are you some street kid just wandering the neighborhood, only here to poach snacks and pee in my bathroom? Oh no? You have a family? Right over there? Funny... I've never seen them. I see they subscribe to the Darwinian "Run Free Like The Buffalo" parenting style for all children under the age of 6. Or did they just lock you out?
Yes, that's all we've got.
"Doncha have anything ELSE to play with?". Anything other than my fist, you mean? Ummm... no, I don't. I am sorry the entire deck box of toys you have strewn about my yard like casualties at the Battle of the Bulge didn't do it for you. Go find a stick. Or better yet, go home.
I am not here to amuse you.
You wanted to come play with my children, so do it. Hubbs and I have just gotten off work and are trying to get dinner ready. Does my face say I care? No? Well... it really is past "take the hint" now, isn't it?
I just thought their would be more parental responsibility. I thought parents would drop by and say hello... you know... just to make sure we weren't in the process of chaining anyone to the walls or burying bodies or something before they let their kids run rampant in our back yard. Hubbs and I have made an effort to figure out what spawn goes where and introduce ourselves accordingly but it has been a long process.
Is this normal neighborhood behavior or did we buy into some weird, free range hippie commune? Maybe Hubbs and I are just worry worts.... or maybe manners are optional here?
Got any suggestions?