Growing up, I was one of very few kids on a cul-de-sac with, at the time, four homes (now six). My parents and siblings always told fun stories about the house we lived in before (that we moved from when I was 2 1/2) and how it was the neighborhood hang out for all the kids on the street. It always sounded fun and I blissfully imagined growing up and having my home be the neighborhood hang out. It's not. And I'm actually very very happy that it's not.
Why aren't we the neighborhood hangout:
1. We aren't very outgoing people. So we don't actually know most of our neighbors past "hello."
2. We live in a mild ghetto (can I coin that phrase?) so the second my kids step outside, they are bombarded with kids whispering "ask your mom if you can bring your bike out," "do you have any chalk?," etc. Then they borrow said bike and my kids aren't sure what to do about it. Little Guy takes his tricycle out and refuses to get off it because there's a herd of toddlers/preschoolers hovering over him.
3. I'm not really a fan of kids. I know. I know. I have three. I like my kids. And I like some other people's kids. And I tolerate some kids. But in general, I don't really like kids. So, having them all swarm and take advantage of my more timid (probably a downside of homeschooling) kids who just want to be liked, doesn't make me happy. And they swear. I'm pretty sure when I walked past a group of 8-11 year olds yesterday, one of them was saying some sort of "not it" rhyme that involved the F-word. Nice.
4. There's a certain group of 8-10 year old boys that the second my kids walk outside, they make my kids "it" in a game of tag or hide and seek. This is how it goes. "Can you count to 20? Okay, you're it." And they run away, leaving my kids, who don't want to play, in the dust, forced to retreat back inside so they don't get in trouble for not counting.
5. When we come in for dinner, usually right around 5, we tend to leave the door open with the screen closed. But if we do that, a bunch of kids are starring in our screen while we eat dinner.
6. There are certain parents in the neighborhood that are on the ball and if their kids are outside, they are keeping an eye on them. I tend to be at the computer, near the front window, or out on our step. Other parents just let their kids roam free for hours on end with no knowledge of how poorly behaved they are.
This is all of course worse than normal this week because it's Spring Break for our local school district. I know I have friends whose houses are sort of the neighborhood hangout. Do you enjoy this? I don't think I would mind if it was my kids' actual friends. Or perhaps if I knew their parents. But as is, I'm happy to stay out of the mix.