Something changes when kids go to school. I found that out today. After school Louie had a buddy over from class and I witnessed some great things and some not so great things.
First off, I saw both Lou and Ben behave in ways that were so mature I wondered if some space ship had come and replaced them with their doppelganger. They were letting this friend do everything first. Lou even said, "Ben, when we have a guest over, they go first." And Ben didn't fight him on it at all. Every time the boys went to play something new, they asked the friend if he wanted to try it. When the friend was riding a bike, Ben asked if he could ride it after he was done, rather than the usual push the kid off the bike and take it for himself. Charlie, on the other hand, gave the friend the same treatment he gives everyone: he wacked him over the head with a plastic golf club.
As wonderful as this was, I began to see that things changing with Louie. He seemed be trying to act...cooler, showing off in a way. Then, what bothered me the most was when the ball was hit into the neighbor's yard while I was inside taking care of Meredith. I was by the window so I saw and heard it all taking place. Louie said that he and his friend were going to go over to get it out of the yard. I told them to wait, that I'd be out in just a minute. I didn't want them walking out in front of the house without me watching. They'd probably be fine, but especially with me in charge of another person's child I didn't want them just gallivanting off wherever. I am not sure if he realized I heard but, the friend whispers to Louie, "Let's go anyway" and off they went. That bothered me in that I'm sure Louie didn't want to look dumb in front of his friend, but they went ahead and did what I asked them not to do with me right there. How do you teach a kid that it's ok to listen to your parents without looking like a baby. Or, more importantly, how do you teach your kids to make the right decision, even when a parent isn't standing there? Ah, the mysteries of being a parent.
Overall, it was really neat having Louie's friend over. We're finding that our street has a lot more kids on it than originally thought. This is the perfect environment for childhood--a street filled with families, where the kids can all play together. It may not be the same as when I was young, but I'm glad that there are friends our kids will go all through school with, who live all around us.