Part one involves my toddler’s amazing ability to escape to the front yard.
Part two involves my 8 year old who has a very low impulse control.
And different neighbors.
In the interest of anonymity I will call my neighbor Evil Witch Lady. Just so you know, I am only using this nickname when the children are in bed.
Set the scene:
My 3 older children (5, 7, and 8) are playing in the front yard with some neighbor kids. I am working in the living room. I have the blinds and windows open and am listening to them chatter keeping an ear out for the tones that mean a disagreement is about to ensue.
This is how my kids play, they play some kind of game in the front yard then, as one, they all hop on their bikes and ride a couple of times around the cul-de-sac and start the whole process over again. So, I didn’t think anything about it when there were no children in my yard. That’s normal and normally only lasts about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, the neighbors have just finished planting new baby trees in the front yard. They are pine trees and some of the tips have what I imagine will be pine cones later.
She sees the tips of the tree and falls in love.
She probably went past the house a couple of times telling herself not to pick them. But eventually, impulse wins and she has snapped five or so tips off of the various trees.
It looks bad. It looks malicious. And if anyone would have asked her, “Hey, why are you doing that.” She would have been able to explain how she loved them and wanted them in her garden. Which isn’t malicious, but is rather thoughtless.
But of course no one asks what she is doing. Maybe no one cares.
Evil Witch Lady comes over and very politely tells me what Grace has been doing and kindly asks her to stop. I’m just kidding.
Her nickname wouldn’t be Evil Witch Lady if that’s what she had done.
My first clue that something was amiss was hearing the screaming coming from my front lawn. What is going on?
I open the door to see Evil Witch Lady screaming and pointing at my child (who is cowering in the yard). All of the other children are frozen like watching a horror film. You don’t want to watch but you can’t look away.
“I know it was you!” Evil Witch Lady screams, “I want you to stay off of my yard! You jerky kid! You’re nothing but trouble!”
I wish I could have stopped the scene and collected my thoughts. I wish I could summon the Hulk and rage at her for talking to my kid like that. But calm and rational Bruce Banner remains stubbornly in charge and the only reply I can manage is a faint, “What?”.
Evil Witch Lady turns her terrifying eyes on me.
“You need to watch this one!” (pointing). “This one is trouble!” (more pointing). “She’s over in my yard breaking the tops off of the plants we just bought!”
Blank stare from me.
By the by, Evil Witch Lady has not calmed down her screaming since addressing me. The Hulk is still elusive.
She continues, “I want your kids to stay out of my yard or I’m going to call somebody. Do you understand?
Do you understand?!
DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!”
Wow. What do you say to that?
I understand I’m going to punch you in the face if you ask me that again.
No, can’t say that.
No, can’t say that either.
What I end up saying, in my best calm teacher voice is, “I understand that yelling isn’t going to help, and you need to calm down.”
I probably should have just told the kids to come inside. But for some crazy reason I thought that she could calm down and we could talk about solutions.
She continues, “All you have to do is teach your kids. Just tell them “no” and they won’t do it.”
This ludicrous statement finally jolts me into reality. She is crazy! She knows nothing about kids and is using my yard to release her frustrations.
Evil Witch Lady is still yelling, but I’ve stopped listening. I say good bye to the neighbor kids and usher my children into the house. As I’m shutting the door I hear her say, “Homeschool my ass.”
What does that have to do with anything? It was 4:30. We were done with school. Everyone was done with school. Does she think that homeschool kids don’t do annoying things? Maybe she imagines that if I were really homeschooling my kids than they would be too busy working to get into mischief?
I don’t know. But that was the final straw. Her nickname is now set.
Tell me I’m not being too harsh on her.
Do you have any neighbor stories? Share below.