We used to live in an apartment complex that covered about the amount of ground that two houses would cover, and there were 45 apartments in it (it was 12 stories high). This should have been a haven of children with which our children could be children. Unfortunately there were only a few children in our building of the appropriate age, and our children weren't all that interested in being children with them (we're kind of glad).
Then we moved into this house. One of the first things I didn't like about this place was that it's so spread out around here. There would certainly be even less socialization with neighbors here than in the apartment, if that was possible. If the kids managed to find some other kids their age, we would probably have to walk with them a few blocks anytime they wanted to get together. For the first few wintry months here, though, we were kind of just an island to ourselves.
Then came Summer, and with it friends! LOTS of friends. As in Evie and David have friends coming out of their ears. First it was one boy just down the street. Then they met the grandchildren (2 boys) of the neighbors who live behind us. Then our neighbors in the house that's stuck to us moved in, and they have a boy, too. Then Evie met some (3) girls at the park and they started hanging out and walking around the neighborhood together, a cute little gang of pink and sparkly, pony-tailed chatterboxes. (I asked Evie what they do when they're together and she says, "we mostly just talk." It's a weird day when your kid "mostly just talks" to their friends. Am I really old enough to have kids that age?) Then we met our right-across-the-street neighbors who have a boy and a girl, each 2 years older than their Pawlik counterpart. It seems none of them mind the age disparity and currently these are the friends the kids spend most of their time with. As in, they met about a week ago and have stopped coming home for lunch and have already asked if they can have a sleepover, etc. Unfortunately these guys will be moving back to Spain for the school year in 3 weeks! :(
At dinner the kids were talking about one friend. Greg asked how old he was. They said he was nine. I said, "Wait, I thought you said he was ten?" I loved Evie's explanation. She said, "Well, first he was ten, then he was ten and a half, and now he's nine." Love that. Another of the kid's friends likes to brag about all the awesome grown up stuff he does. He tells them things like how his dad gives him a little beer every day* (he's eight--or so he says...). Or how when no one else is home he smokes. Greg overheard one of these bragging sessions one day and appreciated David's response.
Friend: I just drank 5 cans of Pespi.
David: (half interrupting and saying it all strung together) Yeah. Uh, huh. Wow. Oh really? I don't believe you. Uh huh. That's great.
Whereas I, being away from it all as I am, keep most of my friends in my computer, my kids apparently keep theirs in their heads because why else would they be coming out of their ears? I tried to tell them that friends don't belong in their heads, and couldn't they see that they weren't staying in there very well. Apparently they didn't listen because the friends just keep coming and coming. And not the kind that people usually keep in their heads (imaginary ones). Although, I guess you could say who knows how much of them is real and how much of them really is imaginary (i.e. age, drinking habits, etc.)
*This is, of course possible. I remember a family that I nannied for. The father was a wine connoisseur and would let their barely two year old daughter repeatedly dip her finger in his wine at dinner every night. The mom protested and rolled her eyes just about every single time.