The return to school has signaled a return to routine and order. Although I enjoy having my kids home during the summer, I was beginning to get tired of all the neighbor kids popping in and out of the house. We haven't had this problem in the past because we were very protective of our kids. Many of the other parents let their kids go running up and down the street when they were only 6, but we couldn't bring ourselves to do that. So the neighbor kids would whiz past the house, leaving my kids to play with each other.
Now that my kids are older (10, 10, and 9) and they have their teenage sister M (age 14) to look after them, we allow them to venture further afield. You would think that this would result in an empty house as my kids spend more time with the neighbors. Oh, no! Somehow our house has morphed into the cool place to be. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we moved the Gamecube into the garage. I think it is more likely that they come here because of my infinite patience. There are a few little rugrats in the cul-de-sac are pretty annoying, and I seem to be the only parent that doesn't send them home. The days when my kids didn't have any playmates are still fresh in my memory, so I can't bring myself to send them home.
However, school is in session now so I have a good excuse. Having the kids' friends in the house on a school day makes it feel more chaotic. In the past when I allowed friends to come over, there was always a kid or two on the doorstep 10 minutes after the school bus dropped them off. It made it difficult to check homework and cook dinner with extra kids underfoot. I'm looking forward to quieter days.