Ahhh what a cute picture.
All those little girls playing together happily in our front yard.
There really aren't a lot of kids around here. I think between 5 and 15 years old we have 18 kids. Twelve kids at the local primary school of 800 some kids come from this mountain.
So the three kids who came to play represent quite a large percentage of the local kid population.
And M is rather shy and doesn't want to go over and play at anyone's house so kids coming here is really her only peer interaction.
But I'm still not thrilled to have them here. The girls are in grade 5, grade 4 and the one at the front is 5 years old. They are a rather odd gang of three. Each and every non school/ kinder day they spend roaming the neighbourhood on their bikes (the littlest one still has training wheels.) Their only rules are (I asked) don't leave the mountain and be back at 12 for lunch and 6 for dinner. Other than that they are wild and free. To be fair two of the three come from very busy farming families where it's all adult hands on deck at all times for most of the year so having their kids out from under their heals is a boon. Still, I do not like being responsible for other people's children without any warning or social niceties such a s a phonecall. Maybe I'm being too rigid about it all but even if the big girls are old enough to know risks and make judgement calls the 5 year old certainly isn't and I worry. I worry especially as these three kids have a tendency to do some pretty stupid stuff when they get together. Like leaving their bikes in the middle of the road and running madly to get them when they hear a car. Or all climbing on our swing at the same time.
The swing broke.
The kids ran home without mentioning it.
Meg was distraught.
After a wild time was had indoors while I was unaware they were in the house (yes, I was gardening out the back while my kids played out the front so I am not really a helicopter parent myself but...) and then everyone scarpered when I demanded that at least the furniture be returned to it's rightful place they are not welcome in our house. The garden, ok. The house no.
I know that is terribly un-neighbourly and I'm not helping M form relationships with the local kids but there are some influences we don't really need. That cute picture? They were all rocking back and forth on M's new and much loved horizontal bar. After the picture she jumped down and told me (in a whisper) that she was worried it would break and wanted them to stop. But she couldn't tell them herself. Because they wouldn't listen. That's part of it I think. They are not here to play with M. They are just here to play at M's house. But still I have been thinking that I'm rather un-neighbourly and I have been feeling rather guilty about it until a chance conversation with another of my neighbours. Turns out the gang of three is not welcome at at least three other houses on the street. And at one they are not welcome even in the garden. Ouch. Now I feel a bit sorry for them but I feel a lot better about banning them. Prejudice in numbers and all that I guess.
It's also a little difficult for me to judge as I can fully see Amy being in her own gang of three when she is a bit older...
and then the shoe will be on the other foot...