We live in what I consider to be an old-fashioned neighborhood. Mature trees line the streets. There are sidewalks for walking and biking. And everyone knows everyone else. Young and old, we know the neighbors. In the summertime, especially, there's plenty of activity on our street. With our street-wide yard sales, we end up swapping "treasures," and tales. The annual picnic and Christmas party keep everyone in touch too. This is all very nice, of course, and it makes for a homey, welcoming neighborhood.
And it's nice for the kids on the street too -- for the most part. There's almost always someone out to play with. We don't have to arrange formal play dates here, because they just emerge as a natural part of the day. Of course it's nice if I want to get some yard work done, and a young neighbor shows up to play in the sandbox with my little guy.
Though lately, it seems that the little boys arrive in packs. This can be OK, depending how things go. But with the casual, open nature of our neighborhood, anyone's yard seems to be fair game. The street is one big yard for all the kids. Privacy? There is none. Unless you happen to have a fence; then you have a deterrent at least.
Most of the kids travel the street solo, too. Even the "5 and under" crowd. Not so at our house. Our 4-year-old isn't allowed to go gallivanting alone. Because... he's 4. And yeah, you can't get anything done when you're in charge of an active 4-year-old. Who can blame him for wanting to be out and about though? And so, I'm often out and about too.
We're realizing this summer that we need to make it a little harder for the kids to help themselves to our yard. Because when they're on our property, guess who's liable? And without their parents there, guess who's in charge?
Yep, we're the mean old parents on the street who are planning our new make-shift fence. It's not that we don't like company. It's just that sometimes, it would be nice to have your yard be your own family's sanctuary, you know?