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Over the Fence

Yesterday, I got home from work after the kids had finished dinner. I walked inside to an empty house, but realized instantly that Londo was outside with the kiddos. I changed into a pair of flip flops and hurried outside. I took the Pookie and pretended to have a picnic with the Pumpkin, while she ran around collecting "special treats" and flowers and things for the picnic. It was a lovely evening, and we were all enjoying our backyard.

Just before Easter, I found out that a girl in the Pumpkin's pre-school class lives diagonally behind us. As in, the corners of our backyard fences touch. We have tall fences in our neighborhood, but they live up the hill and even have a lovely deck overlooking their backyard.

I had known for a while that they lived in our neighborhood and that their younger daughter was a month older than the Pookie. I have been meaning to set up a playdate with them, especially since realizing how close they live, but things have busy lately for everyone. But with the weather so nice, I definitely would love to have people in the neighborhood to do things with, especially people with kids our kids' ages.

So yesterday while we were outside in our backyard, we suddenly hear a little girl's voice calling out our daughter's name. I look up, and sure enough it's C on her deck calling down to my girl. I explain to the Pumpkin that that is C's house and point out where she is on her deck. The Pumpkin immediatly and happily calls back a greeting while waving.

C's mom came out on the deck, and we greeted each other and asked after the families. I said that we really should do a playdate soon, and she agreed. Meanwhile, the girls are still calling to each other. The Pumpkin asked C if she wanted a cucumber, and she replied yes. So the Pumpkin ran to the corner of the yard and pretended to hand up a pretend cucumber, though she was no where near C. C pretended to take it and thanked her. That happened another time or two, until C's parents finally got her back inside to finish dinner and the Pumpkin moved on to other things.

It was just so adorable. It reminded me of my best friend growing up who lived in the house behind my house. We were always climbing over the relatively low fence to go play with each other. In fact, our parents put a big stone on one side of where we climbed over to help us get over more easily. We used to shine flashlights into each other's rooms at night. We would leave each other notes in certain trees when the other wasn't home. We treated each others' yards as extensions of our own. Until they moved away, I was as close to her as I was my own sister.*

The Pumpkin and C are both very outgoing and friendly girls, with baby siblings the same age. They seem to get along pretty well at school. I am on the same schedule as the dad, so I see him all the time at school and we chat about the kids. The parents seem very nice, and I am planning to see if they are available on Sunday to come over and play. I am not at all going to force a friendship, but I want my kids to have the opportunity to become friends with kids in the neighborhood, to have buddies to go outside and play with, to have friends to go to the pool with, to have the experience of growing up in a nice, kid-friendly neighborhood. At this age, I know it's up to me to show her the possibilities.

*We've been in and out of contact over the years. Recently, I found her sister on Facebook and got her phone number, but I haven't yet called her. Maybe I will this weekend.


hush said…
Great post! I, too, had a friend whose backyard was just over the fence from mine. One time we even had an argument while attempting to climb those fences. Haven't heard from or of her in years - she was a bit of a hippy pothead last time we spoke so my guess is she is off the radar. ;)
Karen said…
Oh, I hope she gets to play often with her friend - how nice it would be to have a playmate so close!
Melba said…
Your kids sound about the same age (maybe a bit older) as mine. :) We just moved into a new house, and it seems that every family in every house has kids under 5. We haven't met all our neighbors yet, but I'm really hoping that there are at least one or two in there who my kids will become friends with.

Side note about meeting neighbors - I met the nice family across the street frantically banging on their door crying and begging to use their phone because my 2.75 year old locked me out of the house with her and her 2 month old sister inside. They were very nice. I was very embarrassed.

Good luck reconnecting with your friend.
Geeks in Rome said…
I love the fence motif! It sounds like your fences are too high for the girls to climb over... It would be cool to cut out a large cat door of sorts so they could have that freedom to come and go as they please.

It was so nice that in our day we didn't have to have formal, scheduled playddates in order to play with other kids. You just went outside when you wanted to, met up with everyone else who was outside and came home when you were called. So much less work for the parent! You could stay home and get stuff done while the kids amused themselves. I guess the world doesn't work that way anymore, does it? :(

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