Friday, June 11, 2010

10 Things You Should Know Before Moving Next Door to Us

By Alicia Bayer © 2010


We have new neighbors next door and they include a 9-year-old girl and a 12-year old boy. The girl was playing in our yard today and it occurred to me that we should probably come with warning labels. She’s already quite wet and slightly blackberry stained. :)

So here, I offer up my list of cautions for potential neighbors…

1. Your children will probably always come home wet, dirty or covered in paint. I highly advise having them change into play clothes the minute they set foot in our yard.

2. You may hear wolf howls, badminton games, and games of tag way after dark. Yes, we have blinking badminton birdies for precisely this purpose.

3. We have weeds. We will not spray them. We will do crafts with them, dig them up, ignore them and do experiments on them, but don’t even think about asking us to dump chemicals on them.

4. Expect to hear screaming pretty much all day long, especially in the summer. Mostly it’s happy screaming, but it will still probably make you want to duct tape several layers of feather pillows around your head some days. Sorry.

5. Our children climb trees, throw spears, whittle with pocket knives, ride skateboards and do other dangerous things — often. We teach them to do things safely and they (mostly) listen.

6. Daryl bellows and I holler. We’re very nice anyway. If you had these four kids, you would too.

7. We occasionally have opossums in our garage. We will feed them, follow them around and befriend them. They are fantastic for homeowners and we just plain like them. Don’t worry — opossums move on after about two weeks.

8. Our yard is frequently full of obstacle courses, homemade water parks, tires, 8 million bikes, log structures and assorted contraptions.

9. If any of your family members venture outside, they will probably be recruited to take part in messy science experiments, monster parades, mud pies, tea parties, video shows, make believe games, nature crafts, role playing, long conversations and general mayhem. My kids like adults, so that includes you.

10. Your children will probably start pestering you to homeschool them.



Alicia Bayer lives with her husband, four kids, four cats and an occasional opossum in rural Minnesota. She has run the web site, "A Magical Childhood," since 2001 and writes daily at the following sites:

The Magical Childhood


30 comments:

  1. I love this list! It sounds like my house, and one of my neighbors hates it! Hahahahaahahaha!

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  2. I would love for you to be my neighbor! Sounds like fun

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  3. I would absolutely LOVE to be your neighbor!! :o)

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  4. I am kind of a neighbor, we live in rural northern MN, Brainerd Lakes Area and we homeschool too!

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  5. I want to live next door. :)

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  6. Now I want to move there too

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  7. I want to live next to you!!!!

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  8. Your house sounds like mine! Our neighbors, bless their childless hearts, probably see our toy filled yard in disgust while theirs is pristine and child/toy free.

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  9. That is AWESOME!!! I would love to live next door to you!

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  10. My neighbor's yard is like that. Though...not because they homeschool. They buy monster playgyms because they don't actually play with their kids. Sad. Those kids scream all day too.

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  11. I just started reading your blog, and I want to be your neighbor!!

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  12. This sounds like so much fun! I need to get out and get more creative with the kids.

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  13. You need a lot of sides to your house...I want to live next door too! It would be nice to have a neighbour who would see our life as normal!

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  14. I sometimes forget all children don't live like mine. I need to remember telling unsuspecting parents that, yes, your child may get dirty. Fun is usually messy!

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  15. you forgot: eat those weeds, seriuosly you can eat most weeds and if your kids are like my kids then they will be ALL about picking them for consumption even when you're done with them...Lovely post and so true for us, except we don't have opossum in Alaska...

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  16. Oh my, can I move next door. :)

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  17. When we first started homeschooling I had a friend who could have written your 10 things list. I thought she was crazy! It took a bit to change the opinion of this former NY City girl, but little by little, and having a very adventurous son who got into everything, I began to realize that my crazy friend had it right all along. I am so thankful for my friend's impact and my wild and crazy kiddo's. Thanks for posting this. It's how kids should be!

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  18. I have to ask about the opossums - why?

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  19. Years ago I had a friend who could have written these ten things herself. I thought she was crazy at the time, but little by little this former New Yorker who only knew about concrete playgrounds and parks became more accustomed to this life style. I home-schooled four wonderful children, one of which was very active and adventurous. I am so thankful for my "crazy" friend and for my boy who taught me so much about what childhood should be. Thank you for posting this. I love, love, love it!

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  20. I want to be your neighbor! Seriously, you sound like the perfect neighbor. And since we already homeschool, that part wouldn't be a problem, either.

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  21. Sounds like my childhood. Minus the screaming. We were outside from dawn until after dinner and Mom insisted that screaming was ONLY for when we were in actually in trouble so she'd know when to come looking for us! Noisy games were fine, but screaming was forbidden unless something was actually wrong and we needed her.

    Girl who cried wolf and all that...

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing this! I am a mom of five and this describes our home exactly. Your post also reminded me to not feel embarrassed about how loud we can be. It's fun here! We love it and each other!

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  23. Yup, that sounds a lot like us...I have to ask, though...WHERE did you get your play set? It looks like just what we are looking for...simple, low slide (because one of my spider monkeys WILL fall off at some point), and just right for my 4 and 2 year old.

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  24. thats exactly wot healthy kids should be like ...wtg xx

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  25. This sounds like my yard! I'm so glad to hear that there are other houses around like ours. My kids and all of their friends and the neighborhood kids are always playing in the yard and yes they get dirty, messy, wet and have tons of fun! I don't know or really care what my neighbors think- I know my kids are playing and learning and having a great time. And half the time my hubby and I are out there with them. We have been known to launch a surprise water balloon attack when they get off the bus after school. At any given point, there are usually 8-14 kids in the yard :) and only 5 of them are mine :) I wouldn't trade it for anything! Love it!

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  26. Can you move next to us? Then I can have kids play at my house and their parents won't complain about them being dirty or wanting to do messy things at home.. No one wants kids over at my house because either 1) they return muddy and usually with some kid of paint/glue on their clothing or 2) they will want to make mud pies/paint with their feet/do something else really messy when they get home.. Hey! Kids are only young once :)

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  27. Love this. We recently had a group of people over and (as usual) didn't let them into our unorthodox backyard. When everyone else had gone, one family held back. "Can we see your chickens?" they asked. I warned them the backyard was full of mud rocks and splintery wood and rusty nails and in-progress construction projects. The other mama and I stood nursing our babies and watching the kids play, getting filthier and filthier. "This is so wonderful!" she kept enthusing. "This is a wonderful antidote to the sterility of our own neighborhood." My husband snorted when I told him about it. Our yard is anything but sterile. This was the first time I got such an enthusiastic response from parents. Usually the best we get is a smiling, "Oh that's ok." Thanks for this list. I think I'll post it on my front door!

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