Neighbors. They are quite wonderful most of the time. We are sharing a CSA with one of them. I might teach the son of another. They are helpful, nice, resourceful, and pleasant.
They watch out for the Crazies. They talk to the Crazies. They ask questions. They share advice. They ask us to do things for them while they're away. I love all of these things about neighbors.
There is a set of twins across the street. They are lovely. They play with M&H and include them in all sorts of things and I love it. They love it. They feel like they have two older siblings built in. Their mother knows so many people in the community and is very open with her house. She doesn't mind have kids in and out all day long. She keeps an open door policy. Kids don't have to knock to enter her house. She's much more laid back about that than I am.
I believe in boundaries. I believe in calling adults by Mr./Mrs./Ms. and their last name. I believe in knocking before you enter someone's house. I believe in being invited over to swim in someone's pool. I believe in general consideration and manners. I can't be alone in this.
I expect the Crazies to act accordingly. I expect them to be polite in the absence of my presence. I expect them to respect boundaries (such a closed doors). I expect them to allow me to pee without having a full-fledged conversation. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn't. It's all still a matter of training with them though as they are not quite 6 years old. There is still work to be done and lessons to be learned.
The Crazies always want to go across the street. They always want to swim in their pool. They always want to be over there and I'm fine with that...to a point.
I don't want the neighbors to think that I just allow my kids over there and have someone else constantly taking care of them or that I'm neglecting my duties as parents. I don't want the Crazies to think that it's okay to spend their entire Summer over there. I don't want them to walk into someone's house without knocking (even though they've been told there are no boundaries at Mrs. B's house). I don't want them to be without boundaries...because at 5.75 years old, no boundaries can create habits that are not very nice in kids who are suddenly 12 years old.
The other thing that gives me pause is that there are constantly people working on their house. I don't trust people. It's as simple as that. I don't care if you've been working in this town forever and have a stellar reputation. I don't trust you. So, when the Crazies are running around the streets (which is fine as it is Summer and I'm not completely against fun) and I see them talking to someone across the street (who I can't see), I'm going to call them in. You see...above all, my number one job is to keep my kids safe and when there are work people at your house and I can't see who my kid is talking to. she's coming inside. Overprotective? Possibly. My prerogative? Absolutely.
So, you see...I love neighbors AND I love boundaries. How can I find the perfect balance while not seeming like an uptight snob or a mother that lets her kids run wild around the neighborhood? How can I express my boundary expectations without making it seem like I'm judging someone else's lack of boundaries and the effect it's having on their children? How can I keep my kids slightly under my wing while still letting them be under someone else's? So many quandaries...I must work on that this Summer.