Sunday, June 18, 2006

On the Job Training: Motherhood Part 14 - Neighbors

We live in an untraditional neighborhood. Our development has 8 houses. There are two long driveways from the main road that lead to our houses - 3 on one side, 5 on the other. It's great because our development is so multicultural - Black, White, Indians (2), Chinese (2), and Russian.

We don't have sidewalks so you have to cross yards or go to the main road. I'm on the side with 3 houses and my immediate neighbors' kids are in middle/high school. The girls used to come over when Annika was a baby to play with her, but then they got busier. The other side has at least 8 kids in Annika's age group.

When she was younger, I used to take her to see the other kids, dragging a tricycle across the yards. It was kinda painful because I ended up having to hang out, chat a bit with the parents. They're all nice, but you run out of things to talk about.

Two weeks ago we saw the kids playing outside and Annika wanted to go play with them. I took her over and introduced her to them (they had met at least 2 yrs ago, so they don't remember each other). The kids jumped on the swingsets and were off. I was really happy because I could walk away now. They're old enough to play with minimal supervision.

Initially, when I walked away, Annika came running home. She thought she had to come back because I left. I told her she could play and we were still outside so we could see her. She was hesitant to go, but we made her go back by herself. She stopped to pick weeds and found excuses, but she went slowly on her own.

Yesterday she was running back and forth on her own bringing the kids back with her.

I finally felt a bit of joy for Annika too. I grew up in Queens, NY and had a bunch of neighborhood friends, a nice mix of American & Keralite kids. We were out and about pretty much all the time. We ran around to each other's houses and had two swingsets among everyone.

By the way, if you look at our backyards, every house has a swingset. I really want one for her, but our ground is too sloped to accomodate it. So, I feel better that she can run across the yards to play and share a swingset with others, the way it's supposed to be.

One of the mother's pointed out to me that it's safer for them to run across the backyards than having to deal with main roads. I didn't realize that. So, I feel better about that too!

We're so used to scheduled playdates that it's refreshing to have the spontaneity of neighborhood kids. And, for parents, to be able to walk over and bring them back.

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Side note: I had the most fabulous Saturday afternoon yesterday. Most of my day was hectic since I went into work for a few hours plus afternoon of running errands. Later on, my husband went to play golf with the guys. Annika was in the yard with the neighbor kids. I sat on my deck under the awning with a cup of coffee and my laptop. It was a beautiful afternoon and very peaceful. I loved it. I wrote a bit so I don't think it could've been more perfect. I really treasure quiet time, alone time, whatever you want to call it. I'm quite social, but I have always needed my private space as far as I can remember.

1 comment:

J.Doe said...

Sounds like a nice neighborhood