a stressful interaction with the neighbor

Today started off beautifully. Lydia had another amazing harp practice, we got our reading done, and everything was one hour ahead of schedule. I was feeling pretty good about life until the new little neighbor boy rang the doorbell.

I thought about not blogging about this, but since this blog is really for my future children, I figure it might be helpful for them to see what the real stresses of this stage of life are for me. If they ever find themselves in a similar situation, at least they will know they are not alone.

Anyway, this neighbor boy has really very sweet qualities. At the same time, he is very aggressive and scares the bajeebers out of Mary. If it weren’t for the dynamic with Mary, play dates would be fine. I could just let the kids run wild while I cook, clean or take care of Ammon. However, the new neighbor boy physically grabs Mary and pushes her a lot. At one point he pushed her on the ground, spread out her legs and jumped on top of her. After watching that, Abe and I just can not feel comfortable letting him play unsupervised with our children. So I will need to supervise him whenever he wants to play with them–which is daily, for hours. I don’t actually have that bandwidth in my life right now.

So, how to communicate this to his mother? That was my stress for the day. After he rang the doorbell, I spent the next couple hours in a state of distraction trying to figure out what I could possibly say to his mother to communicate boundaries and at the same time help her feel welcome and loved. This was social calculus. For a person with social anxiety to begin with, the stress almost did me in.

To boot, I botched it. Even after praying and role-playing with my mom and Abe, when it came time to actually talk to my neighbor, I literally stuttered. I could not figure out a way to explain that her son climbed on top of my daughter and scared the daylights out of all of us, so I didn’t. I blamed the whole situation on Mary and me, saying that Mary hasn’t learned how to play with boys yet and that I am new to Utah play date culture. Both were half truths. The other halves of those truths are: Mary hasn’t learned how to defend herself from physical attacks yet and I am new to neighborhood Utah play date culture. I am very, very familiar with scheduled play dates with friends, but letting the neighborhood kids run wild in my home every day–that is new to me.

Anyway, I am pretty sure I did not communicate myself well at all, and the whole thing was inevitably insanely awkward. I have been unsuccessfully trying to come down from the stress ever since.

In other news, Abe is having a successful, happy trip in Philadelphia and tomorrow one of my grad school friends is flying in to visit me. Those are happy ancillaries to the stress right now, but maybe by tomorrow they will be front and center happiness fonts.