Here are some of the charming things they have done lately:
- Left various toys in the parking lot (their primary playground). Since it's a parking lot, cars tend to, you know, park there, so when they pull in or out, they either run over the toys or the driver is forced to get out and move them. I've witnessed parents' vans running right into their kids' bikes, but they casually move them aside, and the bike is back in the same place a few hours later.
- Destroyed cars. V and I saw two kids stomping on a car the other day. The metal on the front of the car was literally bouncing in and out. When that was dented enough for them, they got right up on top of the car and started bouncing up and down there. Getting bored with that, they moved to the car beside it and proceeded to tear the license plate off, then throw it into the bushes. Another time, a baby was given the keys to her family's van. She tried to open the door, but babies ain't so good with the hand-eye coordination, so she missed the keyhole and scratched up the car door instead. All this has made me extremely paranoid about our own car, so I compulsively check out the window whenever there's the smallest noise. The paranoia is somewhat justified though, since there is a big scratch on our car, and it doesn't look anything like usual mall-parking-lot scratches (i.e. the person beside you slams their car's door into yours, or bumps it when they pull out).
- A few days ago, I was doing one of these checks out the window, and there was a baby (an even younger one...this one in diapers and unable to walk) on our front lawn. Alone. Furthermore, it was chewing on a piece of garbage that had been left on our lawn a few days ago by some other kid. But hey, I'm no parent, maybe that's good for babies, so I just closed the curtains. (Note: I'm sure there was a parent nearby but out of my sight. They're not that bad. I hope.)
- Playing soccer and hockey in the parking lot are favourite past times of the neighbours. Not an empty parking lot, no, because you need cars to use as goal posts. Little smart cars that belong to the strangers whose front lawn you're sitting in are perfect.
- Combining parking lot sports with doing weird stuff with babies, the other day I saw one of the parents join their kids in a hockey game. On roller blades. With a baby strapped to his back. OK, let's say he's really coordinated, so he won't fall on his back and squish the baby. Let's say the kids he's playing with are also coordinated enough to avoid slashing the baby with their sticks. Hockey still requires a lot of quick movements and turning, which causes the baby in its little harness thing to shake back and forth violently, hitting its head on the sides of the harness. The weirdest thing? Apparently, the guy is a doctor.
We've seriously considered calling someone. The police or child protection or whatever. But these are supposedly smart adults, and like I said, we don't have kids, so who are we to judge them? I'll tell the kids to stop touching our car (or taking apart our fence, as the case may be), but when it comes to their kids' lives apart from us, I'll let the community of parents deal with them. I know they are all nice, good people when you actually talk to them; but I have this theory that when people have kids, they immediately become mildly retarded. Suddenly, their kids' happiness is all that matters, and things like personal property and respect for neighbours take a back seat.
I sound like a grumpy old man I guess. Whatever. Lots of crappy stuff is happening lately so I guess I felt like venting.
Incidentally, if I ever had a metal band, I think I'd call it Shaken Baby Syndrome.