It started two years ago, when the people down the way let their 2-year-old twins play in the street. The mom decided the best way to protect her kids was to spray paint SLOW DOWN!!! with dotted lines on the pavement. The city cleaned up the mess by adding black paint.
Then there was a lull, where it seemed that my kids were the only ones outside. They play in our cul-de-sac and scurry to the sidewalk when we yell “Car!”
And then September happened. About a dozen 2-to-6-year-olds suddenly emerged from their basements. It’s a blessing turned rotten. Friends are good. Playing in the street is bad.
Daily, the kids congregate in the street while the moms loosely keep watch. Or the moms go inside and suddenly I’m left with all the kids. One problem is that most of these kids don’t budge when a car comes, and also don’t listen when someone yells for them to move. They’re in the street with cars rounding a blind corner into them. I can’t make a supervision schedule to share the load because my 2-year-old wanders away and I can’t trust the chatty-Cathys to watch him, and also I don’t want to be responsible for kids who aren’t car savvy.
It’s frustrating because my kids want to play, too. But I don’t want my kids thinking that playing in the street is ok. Also, I do not have time to stand watch from 3-7pm. I have no idea what the other moms do or don’t do that they can stand around chatting for almost four hours, but I can’t do it.
No really, I mentally can’t do it. Even without work and dinner, it drives me insane.
So what do I do? Say “no you can’t play outside,” or “yes you can play outside but you need to stay 200 feet away from those kids and play where I tell you,” or just suck it up and join the fray with an eagle eye on my kids.
Because for now, that’s where I am. Standing on the curb with my head bouncing from one kid to another to oncoming traffic. Yay for friends. Playing in the street is so fun.
How would you handle this situation? What is your neighborhood frustration?