Andrew called for me to come quick one afternoon as I was busy with school stuff in the other room. When I got to a kitchen window, he pointed this out to me:
Some neighborhood children had sneaked into our backyard and started playing in our sprinkler. We really enjoyed listening to their squeals and watching them desperately try to avoid the water as it rotated directions. When they saw us watching however, they thought they were in trouble and quickly ran away. We felt bad, called after them, and invited them to play in our sprinklers anytime. At this news, they celebrated and brought the rest of the neighborhood back to play with them. This must have made quite an impression on them, because now, we get knocks on the door to random kids all the time. They are either on the stoop with arm fulls of flowering weeds for me or asking poor Andrew questions like:
"Is the lady here?"
"Can you turn on the sprinklers?"
or our favorite:
"Can we have a treat?"
Recently, I got out of my car to three smiling children standing in a line on my driveway. They stood in a way that kind of blocked me from going anywhere and they just stood there...staring at me. They didn't say a word and would only respond to my attempts at conversation with giggles, nods, and shrugs. They even resorted to ignoring my questions altogether and whispering secrets in each other's ears. It was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. I stood there for several minutes trying to decide: Do I continue to remain on the driveway while we smile silently at one another? Or should I excuse myself and go inside?
The cherry on top though, is the tendency for these kids to waltz right into out house now and wander all over as if they own the place. We once made the mistake of leaving the door open on a warm evening. I happened to be in the back room getting dressed after a shower when I suddenly heard little voices in our kitchen! Andrew chased them out before any innocent eyes were sullied, but holy heck! I guess that is one of the problems with being nice to kids...then they like you! The real question is: How do we get rid of them now?