A Strange Thing Happened…

It was Sunday, around noon. I was starting to prepare lunch – nachos! There was a knock at the door.

I was still in my PJs and bra-less! This was the first Sunday in as long as I could remember that we didn’t get up, eat and go get groceries/run errands. Who the heck is knocking on our door?

I open the door to find 2 pint-sized kids standing there in bike helmets. I was confused. Were they lost? “Hi!” I said. “Are you ok?”

“Yes, is Nick here?”

OHHHHH! You want to know if my son can come out to play? I vaguely remember this tradition. It’s something my generation did – played with neighbourhood kids in the street until dark and our parents called us home for dinner. I didn’t realise kids still did this?

“Sure, come in. Niiiick! Your friends are here!” Nick (and The Mechanic) had met Sam and Charlie (and their dad) last weekend in one of the pools in the complex. About 10 minutes later the little girl, who hadn’t spoken 2 words, left. “Is she ok on her own or should you go with her?” I asked Sam, the older of the two. “She’s fine. She’s just going home” he replied.

About an hour or so later, the dad came looking for his son, who still hadn’t taken his bike helmet off but was completely engrossed in playing Lego with my son.

I wasn’t sure whether to be happy because there was another kid in our complex that Nick could become friends with and play outside with (or inside with) or shocked that someone who had met The Mechanic once would let his kids go around to his place to play with his kid. I remember long afternoons and weekends playing on our swing set, in our pool, playing touch football out the front with the neighbourhood kids and riding our bikes through all the parks and paths around our neighbourhood. This generation doesn’t seem to get the opportunity to do those things. Where we live doesn’t really lend itself to the opportunity, being in a unit. I hope one day we’re in a family-friendly neighbourhood where he can do that, where all the parents and neighbours look out for each other and all the kids. Where he can play outside and maybe avoid the addiction to TV, computer games and internet (but it might be too late for that).

Do your kids play outside?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!



p.s. Have you entered my Scarf Girl scarf give-away yet? Why not? Entries open until Tuesday 3rd of December!

20 thoughts on “A Strange Thing Happened…

  1. My daughters are too little to play outside by themselves but Esther loves going out the front door and exploring the front yard under my careful watch. My childhood memories included riding bikes with the kids in our neighborhood or going their place to jump on the trampoline or swim in their pool. It’s a different world these days and I don’t feel comfortable letting them explore the neighborhood by themselves. I will have to work out what’s best when I am faced with it I guess.

  2. It’s good that there are some other kids in your complex that he can play with but I don’t think I would feel comfortable just leaving them like you say. It’s sad that this is the way things are now but at least Nick has some kids nearby he can play with under supervision.
    I remember playing outside all day until it went dark but things have changed since that time! (Blimey I feel old saying that)! X

    • My son is really good at making friends, and two Sundays it was him that went knocking on two doors in our street while others kids parents were still in bed (!) to look for someone to play with. Luckily they were neighbours we’d already met, but I still don’t think they were too impressed to hearing knocking at the door before 9am! (he escaped from me while I was distracted changing his sister’s nappy). I’ve told him many times not to knock at our neighbours’ doors because they never knock on ours, even though the kids play often together in their front yards. Last Sunday we heard a knock on the door (at about 4pm, not 9am mind you!) and it was two of the kids in our street wanting to play with my son. That took about a year and a half of friendship for it to happen, but I’m thankful it finally did. I have so many wonderful memories of playing with the kids in my street when I was growing up.

  3. When we bought this house there were so girls next door. Younger than mine but it did not matter. We happily carried on where the previous owners left off- the kids were allowed to hop the fence and play at either house as long as it was ok with the parents. They moved away and teenagers moved in. My kids are still waiting for the invite to hop the fence to play darts (they saw this when they met them last year when they moved in. Hard to explain to 8-10 yo about teenagers lol). So nice that nick has someone to pla with locally xx deb

  4. I remember growing up and getting home from school, having afternoon tea, then heading outside into the street/block to play until the sun went down. I wish that existence for my son and I think we have it here for the next few years – just not during cyclone season when it’s above 42 every day 😉

  5. My toddler loves to play outside, so much so I had to carry him back inside kicking and screaming to have lunch and go to bed. THere are a few other kids his age in our street, and I’m hopeful they will all play together when older.

  6. Oh that sounds like such a great Sunday for Nick! My kids don’t play outside in the street, the back of our house is on a major road and I can’t risk it – but they do visit cousins all the time and both grandma’s have huge backyards – so they are out in the sunshine – I guess playing at friends houses will come in time x

  7. That is kind of sweet, but I would have got a shock too – seeing you bra-less! Ha ha. No seriously that is kinda sweet, I suppose M is someone I’d trust straight away too. It’s great that Nick has someone like that nearby, maybe next time they’ll go swimming or bike riding! We lived about 5 km from our nearest neighbours so it was just my two sissies and I!!! xx

  8. I am not a fan of the drop in. I much more appreciate having organised play dates. Interrupting PJ day is just not on!
    Play dates are generally in our backyard and pool or heading off to the park.
    We live in suburbia with only the front stretch of grass that the kids could meet up and play – not a great lot of room for cricket or kicking a ball around.
    Anyway, my son is only 4, so I may get sick of them being in the backyard as they get older…

  9. Nick would have loved being sought after! But arrgh. The unannounced drop in. And the whole, laissez faire vs helicopter parenting, because of course there is no in-between! This chicken and egg comes up a lot. No one lets their kids play on the street because no one else does. Etc Etc. I think because people are not out on their street anymore no one trusts the old neighbourhood system like they used to. 😦

  10. Luckily we live tight next door in a cul de sac to Izzy and Summers ‘favourite’ people. Two kids aged the same as them. It is a constant nagging point in the day about going next door to play. I can imagine, when they are old enough, they will be darting next door and terrorising the end of the street all the time!
    I have great memories of my small home town and knocking around with the kids. It’s just not the same and I can’t imagine letting my kids have the run of a small town these days.

  11. My kids are a little too young to play alone outside yet. They are content playing ball with me in the backyard at the moment. Nick must have been chuffed to bits to have a new mate drop round. I would have been shocked too as I didn’t think many kids did that these days either. I think it’s nice though 🙂

  12. I love the idea of having a friendly little community surrounding my children. I look forward to the day when I have little knocks on the door and play date unfolds. Unfortunately were I live it’s like being in a retirement home. It’s a neighbourhood full of old people! Not the type of play buddies my boy would want!

  13. We live right near a basketball court and an oval so the boys are always asking us to go there (especially now that Jesse has learnt to ride with no training wheels – he wants to ride his bike everywhere!)
    Kids really don’t seem to get out enough these days though.

  14. I remember when I was a child and we use to play with all the children of the neighbors, it was a great time. I hear from my SIL that this doesn’t happen much anymore. Doesn’t happen with her children, it’s all organized play time that they have.

  15. Because of our less than desirable neighbours, Mr 4 can’t go outside by himself anymore but he loves going out the front and digging in the garden beds with his tractors. We tie the dog up outside and then watch the world go by.

  16. I think actually being in a unit is a little safer in a way. We lived in a complex years ago, and everyone knew everyone else, and watched out for the kids because of it.
    I loved it too, cause in the afternoons my friend and I would sit in the driveway and chat watching the kids ride their bikes, and it was so much safer than out on the street 🙂

  17. Love it. My oldest is 3, so no playing outside by herself just yet. But I’d like to think I’ll be okay with it. We’ve got four parks in walking distance from our house – seven or eight really, but four for her little legs – so the idea of her and her friends taking themselves off for a while sounds great! Just like what I used to do with my brother.

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