Even though my family and I don't reside in what I consider to be the most ideal location, we are truly lucky and blessed to live in a great neighborhood full of friends and plenty of kids for our child to play with on any given day of the week.
And while we all help out with each other's kiddos from time to time, playdates are usually set up in advance, and I never have to worry about kids showing up on my doorstep and expecting to come to our house whenever they feel like it. And in turn, I never let my son go over to anyone's house unannounced, you know -- because people have lives, schedules, and routines that I'd never dream of disrupting.
Having sociable neighbors is not an open invitation for free babysitting services, but apparently one family a couple streets over hasn't gotten this message, or they don't seem to understand it.
A few months ago, they moved in from out of state -- and their two kids quickly proceeded to make themselves right at home in some of my other neighbors' houses. And when I say right at home, I mean they show up at their doors on a daily basis and expect to stay there and play for hours -- sometimes even all day long. Did I mention their parents allow them to do so? And did I mention that they actually seem to expect my neighbors to let their kids in, feed them snacks and sometimes meals, and stay as long as they damn well please?
I've known this was a problem for quite some time now, and that's why I've avoided letting my son hang out with these kids at all costs. But after what happened at a neighborhood gathering this past weekend, I think I'm at the point where I want to forbid him to befriend these kids. I have zero intention of getting chummy with their mom, that's for sure.
Long story short -- there was a party thrown for one of the adults down the street. And kids were invited to accompany their parents. I'm sure you know where this is going. The out-of-state family was not invited -- but that didn't stop them from sending their kids right over to the party for its entire duration. Who the heck sends their children to a party they aren't invited to -- and expects the other adults present to take care of them? (Seriously. WTF?)
Yes, we're all pretty friendly around here. But friendly doesn't mean these people should automatically assume they have built-in nannies living right next door. And while most of the neighbors have been welcoming thus far -- they're all starting to get pretty annoyed with having two extra kids who won't give them an inch of breathing room. One of these days, somebody is going to lose their cool and speak up and say something to the parents -- and if it were me? It would've happened a long time ago.
Maybe randomly dropping your kids off at people's homes whenever you feel like it is customary where they come from, but up here in the northeast? It's more than a little bit frowned upon.
And if by some stroke of bad luck my son does wind up being friends with these kids, I plan on laying down the law with their parents from day one. I'd make it perfectly clear that they are not to come to our home unless they are invited (which will be never), or at the very least, they have to call first to ask if they can come over and play instead of showing up unannounced.
And if they do? Well, I guess we'll have to invest in better curtains for the windows so it's harder for them to tell when we're home. (Either that, or maybe we'll just move.)
Do your neighbors' kids show up at your house like this and stay for long periods of time? Does it bother you?
Image via Purblind/Flickr