Monday, August 15, 2011

The one where I make the neighbors hate me

Yesterday was ... weird.

Ever since we moved into this house three years ago we've had issues with a certain neighborhood kid.  It started out as just kind of annoying.  She was around all the time.  ALL the time.  She wold knock at the door a dozen times a day asking for the kids to come out and play.  If I said no she would be back 10 minutes later ringing tho doorbell.  We would be sitting in the dining room eating dinner and look over to see she was standing on our porch and staring in our big front window.  She would ring the doorbell at 10 at night, wearing her pajamas and wanting to play. One day she was at out house for five hours when I happened to overhear her mother outside yelling to another neighbor "Do you know where H is?"

Some of that might make you feel a little sorry for her.  It made me feel a little sorry for her too.  That's why I kept letting her in the house even though she wasn't a very nice little girl.

Elle was three when we moved here and she was very eager to please her new playmate.  When H would come over and say "I get to use all your toys and you just play with this one car ok?" Elle would hesitate but agree.  When H would say "Ask your mom for snacks and then give them all to me!" Elle would go along with the plan.  When H would say "Tell you mom you want to give me all your Barbie clothes" Elle would cry but then say yes.  Of course I always kept an eye (and ear) on what was going on on in the room and I would step in to settle things.  "Tell your mom you want your door shut and for her not to listen to us!" and then when she left "Don't play with any of your toys or touch anything till I come back to play again!"

All that was annoying but when she started trying to take Barbie clothes from Elle I had to put my foot down.  It was ridiculous that I had to ask a six year old to empty her pockets before she left the house.  At last we decided she just wasn't allowed to play in our house any more.

Time passed and as Elle got a little older she was allowed to cross the street to play with the neighbor kids in their backyards.  The general rule was to not play in H's yard since her parents never supervised what was going on.  It was a good rule in theory but the problem was that no matter what house Elle went to H was always there.  And she was always so mean.  It seemed to make her happy to leave Elle out of games and to tease her and make her cry.  I have lost count of the times Elle has come home crying because H was being mean to her.

H's newest tactic is to tell Elle she's not allowed to play in other people's yards.  Elle can be playing with at the house across the street and H will come over and tell Elle she has to leave.  Or she will instruct the other little kids to ignore Elle and be mean to her. Little kids are like packs of wild dogs and this pack has found it's leader in H.  If she's not around they will play nicely and happily with Elle but if H is comes around they will follow her lead and be mean to Elle.

I am sad to say that Elle is pretty much the perfect victim for them.  She's the youngest kid in the neighborhood.  She's five and she still thinks of even slightly older kids as an authority figure.  She's very sensitive and cries easily.  She's still at that wonderful stage where everyone she knows is a friend and she's eager to please her friends.

Things kind of came to a head a couple of days ago when Elle came home from another neighbor's house crying because H had led the group in kicking her out yet again.  I was just sick of it.  I told Elle "You don't have to me nice to H.  If she tells you to go home you yell right at her 'Maybe you should go home!' or just ignore her."

Then yesterday as Elle was walking to to another house to ask if the little boy who lives there could play she passed by H's yard where H was sitting out with two other neighborhood kids.  They stopped Elle and an argument started.  I didn't hear anything that was said other than Elle yelling "Maybe YOU should go home!"  Jesse hurried over to step in and finish walking Elle to the next house.

The little boy on the corner (who's actually a nice little boy and not really part of the group of mean girls) came over to our house and he and Elle played on the swingset in the backyard.  They were there not five minutes when H and her two cronies came walking into our backyard.  Why were they there?  To make the little boy leave?  To harass Elle?  To be pretend to be nice to her for five minutes so that they could use her playground?  I wasn't in the mood to find out.  I stepped outside and in the most matter-of-fact voice I could manage I said "H, you are not allowed to play in our yard.  You other kids can stay if you like but H is not allowed to be over here."

H was shocked.  She stood and stared at me for a minute and then slowly turned and stormed out of the yard.  One of the other little girls quickly followed but the youngest hesitated and took a few steps closer to the playground.  H yelled "COME WITH ME RIGHT NOW!" and both the little girls quickly scampered after her.

This, my friends, is when things started to get weird.  And this is when I made sure there won't be any friendly neighborhood get togethers any time real soon.  But now I'm getting angry and shaky thinking about what happened so I'm going to continue this tomorrow.

Three years ago I was lumpy.
Six years ago I was pregnant and not loving it.


Heidi said...

Oh, Wow! I certainly do not like dealing with the "H's" of the neighborhood, but there always seems to be one. Way to go Mom!

Stimey said...

I am so mad right now. That H is terrible and it seems like it's coming from a place of no control in her life maybe. Good for you for putting your foot down. No one is allowed to be that horrible to your sweet girl.

Dala said...

Wow! I don't know what to say except that everything about that situation makes me so uncomfortable that it makes me squirm. And you haven't even gotten to the part of the story that made you angry enough to save the rest for tomorrow.

It's hard to believe the nasty exclusionary behavior starts so young. I wish I could protect my little ones from all such behavior. And I definitely want to teach them that they may never behave that way themselves.

Becky said...

I was in a very similar spot as Elle was when I was young. My mom had to yell at the mean kids in our neighborhood and also at the mean kid's parents because of course they were equally awful. I loved my mom for sticking up for me and let me tell you Elle probably thinks you are the most wonderful mom in the world. Good job!

simply heidi said...

Holy cliffhanger Batman!
Also, I think I may have been the H in my neighborhood. I am sorry for all the Elles I was unkind to. I could go on about a crappy homelife...blah, blah, blah - but having another mother put me in my place probably would have done a world of good.

simply heidi said...

PS: I'm nice now. Just so you know.

Anonymous said...

You go girl! Jesse told me a little bit about the altercation. Just so you know, you are doing the right thing. A bully (and that is what H is) will just keep on being a bully until someone puts a stop to it. I'm so happy that Elle is standing up for herself and that you are standing up for Elle. You are a super good MOM!! Sometimes, kids just need to know that it is okay to stand up for themselves. I think you need to include the age difference between H and Elle in your next post. Love to all of you. Grandma Judy

Barbara said...

You deserve a standing ovation! And I doubt the neighbors will hate you. If their kids have had to endure similar abuses they'll probably wish they had said it to her instead.