It was a scorcher of a day and once part of the garden was in shade I suggested the girls get their bathers on and play in the wading pool. As we were filling the pool I noticed that little R-chan was doing the same thing with her grandma just over the road.
Thinking it was a bit ludicrous in this kid-desert of a street to be sitting in separate pools facing each other across a road when they could be playing together I suggested Meg go and invite her over.
She looked horrified.
"I don't know her!"
Amy looked peeved.
"That pool is bigger than ours. I want to play over there not her come here!"
So Meg gripped Amy's hand and Amy dragged Meg over the road and asked if they could play together. Mum and grandma were thrilled and said definitely, definitely and opined to R-chan how lucky she was now she had friends to play with in the pool, too!
R-chan said nothing and looked at her feet. She didn't look like she felt too lucky....
The girls jumped in her pool and I brought over our water toys. R-chan only had a face towel and an empty yoghurt container so our array of rubber ducks and non-weapon shaped water pistols went down well.
I was watering the lawn from the roadside watercourse two watering cans at a time so I was back and forth and back and forth but not hanging around watching the girls play. Still, I was feeling a bit bad that maybe we had imposed a little much as R-chan was standing up in the pool scuffing her feet the whole time while my two were laying down and rolling around and having a grand old time.
Suggested they bunch up a bit more and give R-chan space to sit without being crowded. That was when her grandma waved me over to the side and explained that they were using the pool today as R-chan has never gone in the pool at kinder as she's scared of it. Two and a half years down, six months to go and she has never got in the pool... and then my two splash happy amphibians jump in and create a ruckus on her practice day. Poor kid.
"No, no, no! This is great, look she's having a ball!"
Now, I see R-chan about twice a year so I don't know her that well but the blank face and scuffing her foot and not looking up at all just didn't really scream "having the time of my life!" to me....
After pool time they got changed and R-chan came over (of her own accord when invited) to (not) play in the sandpit and (not) do bubbles and (not) play on the tetsubo bar and (not) pick blueberries etc etc... seriously, I was beginning to think we should take the kid back she looked so glum standing around watching Meg and Amy doing everything but it's not like we locked her in and she didn't walk across the road and back to mum and grandma so I just kept going about my watering and just keeping an eye on things.
Precocious and just plain curious Amy suggested they play at R-chan's grandma's house. Amy is very interested in what other people's houses look like....
So for another hour and a bit they played over there. I heard cacophonous piano playing, Meg and Amy's excited babble, the occasional adult voice, a toy that plays music when you press the buttons but not a peep I could recognise as R-chan....
Finally went and herded the girls home for tea and Amy was (literally) jumping up and down with excitement that they had been invited over to do fireworks after tea.
I was sure R-chan had had more than enough of the Fukase girls for one day- probably enough for the year!- but no, mum and grandma were insisting we all meet up again after tea to let off sparklers and hand held fireworks.
And so we did.
And we took over a small to regular sized pack of fireworks to contribute.
And turned up as grandma was unpacking not one but two bumper packs of fireworks into a box for ease of handling. Blimey.
Amy was in seventh heaven:
(In last year's jinbei- bit of a squeeze)
As was Meg:
(In next year or the year after's hand me down jinbei and what with the squat and the geta sandals looking scarily like the kind of high school girl I hope she doesn't become.)
R-chan's brother, Grandma, R-chan, R'chan's mum.
Smoking good fun.
And yes, we were standing on the main road up the mountain playing with fire. Lucky there were three responsible adults in the group, huh?
Finally ran out of fireworks at 8:30, bowed and thanked the neighbours who bowed back and said 'no, no, not at all'.
Said goodbye to R-chan who looked up and half nodded- progress!
Meg asked her if she was staying at her grandma's?
Amy asked if she could stay at R-chan's grandmas?
I dragged them both home before we really overstayed our welcome!
Phew.... we're not really frequently neighbourly with R-chan's grandma but I reckon we sure made up for it today!