Friday, May 11, 2007

Location Location

We've been having a week of beautiful, sunny weather. It's glorious. I've been able to open up all the windows and air the house out. I was even motivated to clean out the garage, which was a horrible, horrible dusty deathtrap you could hardly pick your way through (Mr. Chick cut all the tiles for the kitchen floor in there but had yet to clean up all the dust.)

With the pretty weather we've made a few trips to the park in the afternoons so the kids can play and burn off some energy. Not to mention get some fresh air. Each time we go to the park (a short walk away) we inevitably run into someone from Nicholas' class. He's at the age where playing with a friend is something he'd like to do, so when we get the chance we enjoy it for all it's worth.

Our most recent foray to the park revealed no fewer than 6 (SIX!) kids from his class playing there. Plus a few random little sisters. One boy came with us, we met two others there intentionally, one showed up unexpectedly, and 3 more came when the mother of the kid who was with us arrived with his twin sister and the other set of identical twins in their class. She was carpooling and had them all. It was a kindergarten bonanza and the kids all happily played in the water and sand for hours together while the moms chatted.

And through the chatting I confirmed my suspicions that we picked the wrong place to live.

Not the community - we love it here (minus the crappy commute for Mr. Chick), but we live on the wrong side of the park. We live on the older, more established side of the park. Where the older families are. The majority of the kids in Nicholas' class live on the other side of the park. The new side. And they bounce from one house to the next with freedom and play together nearly everyday. Many live on the same street or just around the corner from each other. I'm told the neighborhood is thronged with kids, most of whom are K-2nd grade, running back and forth between their homes and playing with each other. The bus to that neighborhood is jam packed. The bus to ours? Meager. Just 4 kids. One of whom goes to his babysitters house after school and is therefore unable to play. The other child lives a non-walkable distance from us, and the 4th is a long street away and is too far away for Nicholas to walk by himself.

We are essentially an island. We have several options for babysitters on all sides of us, but lack in the playmate department. We wanted a bigger yard than the postage-sized lots of new construction. We didn't want to live in a fishbowl - super close to your neighbors with no privacy. Plus, the newer developments were simply outside of our price range. We probably have more square footage and a much bigger lot, but we don't have the type of environment I would like for my kids. I grew up in a neighborhood full of kids. The were all around us. We'd go outside to play and before you knew it, other kids were joining in. We'd walk somewhere and run into friends. We knew where everyone lived. Now? Now my kids play by themselves when they go outside. We have a nearby neighbor with kids close in age to Nicholas and Lauren, but their oldest is a girl and she goes to a private school - all day. She's not around much during the week to play. There are some young kids next door, but no one for Nicholas and the two 4 yr old girls - whom I hope become friends for Lauren someday - are homeschooled and have each other. They don't seem to seek out other playmates (yet??). I hope that changes because I really like the family and they live right next door. There is a 1st grader across the street, but he goes to the after-school program because his mother works and therefore isn't around much to play. And that, dear friends, is it.

It will be several more years before I'm comfortable with Nicholas cutting through the park in order to go to a friends house after school. I do my best to arrange playdates for him (one is scheduled for today, in fact) and he can ride the "zebra bus" home with that friend after school and play for awhile, but the proximity to pals and friends is missing. To see a friend requires an effort, an arrangement in advance, rather than the ease of simply walking out your front door and instantly joining scads of your friends for impromptu playtime. We are so close to this nirvana of friends, and yet so far. A big park is all that separates the neighborhood (our backyard meets up with the backyards of the houses that face the park - the wooded end through which there is a cool, short walking trail to the ball fields. The newer development neighborhood begins on the far side of the park.) And yet, when you're in Kindergarten, it may as well be a different area code.

I feel bad for Nicholas. He hears about everyone playing together and he's not part of it. And he wants to play with everyone so desperately. Thankfully, he gets to see his buddies during t-ball (and let me take just a moment to brag about the fact that Nicholas has gotten hits off pitches for the last 2 games! No T required at all! Major, major progress.) and the occasional playdate. I know it will get better when he's older and can just hop on his bike and cut through the park to see a friend. Or maybe a nice family with young kids will move into the house 2 doors down that just went on the market. But today I'm wishing we'd bought a house in a different neighborhood. For my kids sake.

Do you live in an area overrun with kids, or are you an island?

Completely without a doubt, overrun with children.

It's unnerving - having to walk through the masses of mothers congregated on the side of the road when you're the new "kid" on the block (meaning me, not my eldest who is not yet 3).

We choose this area based on the number of swing sets we saw in the backyards. That and the fact that the center is a 4+ acre park (green space) and our house backs onto it. It should be perfect for when the girls are older! :)
We are an island. As you know, we live in a rural area. Actually a rural road, (Wal-Mart is a mere 2 miles away.) I too grew up in a neighborhhod FULL of kids. I hate that my kids miss out on that. We had so much fun. Dh and I are actually tossing around the idea of buying 52 acres that is for sale across the road from us and sub-dividing it into 1-2 acre lots, building a new house and selling ours. Much for the reason that if our kids want to play with someone, it has to be arranged and they have to be driven somewhere. No impromptu neighborhood kickball games, no bike riding over to so and so's house, no nothing. I know what you mean.
We have tons of kids around, and now that the kids are getting older (7 and almost 5) they have been having a great time playing with all the kids around. My son, 1st grader, has another 1st grader across the street and another kiddie corner (both boys). Also, another up the street a ways. He is becoming fast best friends with one, who is also in wrestling and baseball with him. My daughter also has a couple good friends in the neighborhood who we are getting closer to. we actually have thought about building on a larger lot someday but that thought right now doesn't seem to fit our life with the kids. I can see doing that later when it isn't as important to be around neighborhood friends/community.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Free Counters
Hit Counters

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?