We live in a quiet, residential street in Dutch suburbia. It’s so muted at night, that the loudest sounds are crickets and frogs giving an operatic performance to the dusk. The majority of our neighbours are near retirement age.

Their orderly houses are preened and glossy.
Their gardens are immaculate with seasonal blooms.
The Dutch flag is flown on special days.

I have a warm space in my heart for these kindly folk. We are smiled at graciously, as my ungodly smalls wreak havoc. Around our mayhem, they live a life of unruffled calm that I envy. They are pure cordial impermeability.

The families living on either side are all you could wish for. (Well maybe not, maybe you have a different neighbour requirement list, but for us they are the dream).

They bought us flowers to welcome us to the neighbourhood.

Kind, caring and patient.

When my son went bezerk and ran down the road kicking all their cars, they were understanding.
When my daughter was sick and I needed to do the school run, one of them held her feverish, cranky little self while I whipped out to pick up her brother.
If the kids really hurt themselves, it’s these venerable women I run to for help before anyone.

They told me to stop shushing the kids in the garden. They said, (no word of a lie) that they, “Really liked the noise of kids playing”
… I know! I nearly fainted at that.

Mind you, that was last Autumn. I have noticed that they haven’t reiterated it. We took their word for it and really let the 3 year old have full vocal range in the garden. Her high pitched yodels make me reach for the earplugs and wine.

We have done our best to forge the friendship. We drink coffee together. They came to the 3 year old’s party. I always make sure I practice some shockingly awful Dutch on them…

We might not be their dream though.
Not anymore.

I have noticed that recently they have a resigned, “What now?!” look on their face when we knock on their door…..it’s like we need minders. They don’t realise that we have an unspoken agreement – they are our familyfriendsupport replacement in the absence of home. I haven’t told them. Well I don’t want to scare them, do I?

Today I was in the kitchen getting ready to take the kids to the lake. I was packing our humongous bag with the clothes, toys, and ridiculous variety of assorted items and snacks that are required for any jaunt outside the home.

While I was busy and distracted, my son turned his supersoaker water shooter on our sweet and lovely neighbour. She had been sitting in her garden enjoying the sun. He DRENCHED the granny over the garden fence.

I could hear her telling him to stop, that he was wetting her book and phone. She spoke so calmly that it took me some time to realise what he was doing.

I took the thing off him and apologised. We agreed it was an accident. I was not so calm.

I glared at him with a mama stare so ferocious that was sure to stop him in his tracks.
I was wearing sunglasses.
Summer really wrecks with my parenting arsenal.

He wasn’t a bit apologetic or remorseful.
There was no way it was an accident.
She went back to her sun lounger and her book.
I went back inside to finish packing.

And the little fecker drenched her again.
It might be the final straw in the neighbourly love.

We are going to have to move.

Actually feck it:

One quirkilicious, small boy seeks new home.
Mostly house trained.
Good at taking stuff apart.
Smells like burnt sugar and wild things.

Enquire within.

I was born in Ireland, grew up in England and met my Cornish husband in Catalonia. We now live in the Netherlands, in Dutch suburbia with our two differently wired, small kids. I spend my days parenting, writing and being amazed at all the Dutchness around me.

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