Friday, August 26, 2005

Hanging in My Yard

Wednesday night everybody was out enjoying the fine weather. Junior and Danny and Oscar came over to play ball in the backyard while I nuked some pasta and changed from work/court skirt to jeans and a t-shirt. It looked like Junior and Danny figured out the same trick Dawn's big brother knows to open my gate despite the padlock, and they're only 10 years old. Maybe I should invest in a more substantive fence???

Danny was creeped out by the spiders lurking in the sunflower patch. At first he refused to retrieve the ball when it landed down there, but he got over himself in the end. Daya's balls had all landed in the yard, so I asked them to toss the two they weren't using back over the fence to her yard.

Junior was very solicitous of Daya. "Doesn't she want to come in?" he kept asking, as I was trying to snarf my noodles and slake my thirst from biking home from work.

"No, she's fine," I kept saying, but he didn't believe me. So I quit inhaling dinner and took a walk around to see her, and she was happy and jumping up and down. Her mom and Junior's mom were chatting on their porch, while their husbands were chatting over by somebody's car. I don't think they had the hood up, but the guys just have to be by their cars to chat, I guess.

Eventually the boys wanted to play soccer in the front yard where the grass is more even, so we went up there. Daya came in and we tried to get her to play but she didn't want to kick the ball. She sat on the step with me and we watched. Oscar joined us after a while. It made me laugh to see that my secret plan to become the block's auntie is working--the parents all take a break and chat with each other while I hang out with their kids.

An aside: Since I'm now actively trying to get better at Spanish, it was a little frustrating not to go chat with the moms, but hey, my Spanish is somewhere between 2 year-old Daya's and six-year-old Oscar's, so I guess I was in the right crowd after all.

The next morning Dawn and Julian (her big brother) came to get their dad's jack out of the basement. We all hung out on the back outside stairs for a while. They tell me their parents are a little freaked out by Big Picture. "They want us to study all the time, not to work," Julian said.

"Can you talk to my mom?" Dawn Asked. "She wants us to transfer."

All I can say is if they do transfer, it will be to our newly neighborhood high school, which has a lot of dropouts and crummy attendance. Big Picture has high attendance and a lot fewer dropouts, which means they have a much better chance of going to college at Big Picture, because they have a much better chance of finishing high school. But I'm not too worried that Dawn's parents will transfer them because I have yet to see them take a great deal of initiative about school. But we'll have a conversation at some point.

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