By REBECCA SPARROW
It’s possible I over-reacted. It’s possible I’m an uptight prude of Esme Watson proportions*. Maybe I’m just tired and irritable. Or maybe I actually did the right thing. I’ll let you be the judge.
So I currently live in a suburb that is teeming with kids. They’re everywhere. And frankly, I suspect they’re secretly running the suburb whispering into their Dora walkie-talkies as they sail past on their skateboards and scooters.
All of which I love.
Consequently, we routinely have a house filled with neighbourhood children. Again — I love this. I’d rather see Ava and her 7-year-old cousin (who lives with us) outside making club houses and treasure hunts and doing something weird with the hose, some sticks and leaves and a bucket then have them constantly sitting on the couch playing Plants versus Zombies on the iPad.
But I’ve hit a glitch.
I’m not lovin’ one of the neighbourhood rascals. She’s less rascal and more Heatlher Locklear on Melrose Place circa 1995. Put it this way, she comes over and it’s like a 7-year-old Sharon Osbourne is visiting.
The first time “Codename: Heather” came over to play, Ava asked if she’d like to go back down to her room to play with her dolls house. At which Heather adopted the bored and slightly irritated look of a supermodel, RAISED HER EYEBROWS and said in a withering tone, “No. I’ve seen your dolls house and it’s really small.”
Ava’s face dropped and I quietly contemplated the ethics of sending Heather an email virus.
Since that first visit, I’ve cringed whenever she’s come over asking to play. There are no ‘hellos’ or ‘goodbyes’. No please or thank yous.
She sneers quite a lot and is fond of sarcasm and through it all I have worked really, really hard not to be the crazy, cranky, pregnant mother in the street.
Because, well, I have a desperate need for everyone to like me and, you know, Ava and her cousin love to play with her. So I’ve sucked it up.
A few weeks ago a group of kids were watching a DVD together in our loungeroom.
That’s when Heather told Ava to shut up. And not in a playful, jokey way. In a tone more suited to an altercation between Prue McSween and Roxy Jacenko on Celebrity Apprentice.
Now if there is one thing I won’t tolerate in my house, it’s kids being rude – to each other or to any adults.
So I walked up to the group, making sure I made eye contact with no
Heather person in particular and said:
“Now I just heard someone in this group tell someone else to shut up. We don’t speak to each other like that in our house. Because it’s rude. So the DVD is over and if I hear any of you girls speaking to each other like that again there will be no more playdates. At all.”