Time for a Block Party! (Yes. Right Now.)

Hi Readers! The other day I got a note from a reader saying, “We need more GOOD news about Free-Raning.” And so, here we go! — L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: A few weeks ago you posted something that another reader did to create a sense of community.  I’ve been meaning to follow up, but things in Wisconsin have been, umm, kind of crazy lately, as you may have read.

Anyway, I live in the sort of neighborhood where there a lot of
renters, and not very many kids.  My husband and I have been bemoaning
this for years.  There’s a younger child next door to us, and a family
w/ 3 kids about a block up, and that’s it within our 2 blocks.

Well, the mom of the 3 kids decided recently that she wants her kids
to know everyone w/in a 2 block radius.  And so to facilitate that,
she decided to have a block party.  In February.  In Wisconsin.  She
arranged for a landscaping company to push some of the snow into big
hills, got the street blocked off, told people what she was doing, and
it worked out really nicely.  We had about 3 versions of chili there
(in crockpots, plugged into a surge protector on a heavy-duty
extension cord), cocoa in big thermoses, kids making snow forts, etc.
We weren’t able to stay for the whole thing, but there were people
coming & going for at least 4 hours.  For a while I went back to my
house to work on our potluck contribution, and left my daughter out
there to play.  After about 1/2 hour I heard a bang on the porch–she
had run home to get her sled–and she took great delight in running
home *by*herself.

So don’t let the weather stop you from getting to know your neighbors!
People might think you’re nuts, but they’ll usually show up to a
party… Erika

Free-Range Kids Outrage of the Week! (Hint: Mom not allowed at school party)

Hi Readers –

I’m thinking of starting a new feature, Free-Range Kids Outrage of the Month (Or Maybe Even Week). Like that idea? Let me know. And send outrages!

Meantime, here is Outrage #1, sent by a reader in suburban Texas. This is a note from the local public grammar school about a holiday party:

“Our Winter Holiday parties will be Friday, December 19, with K-2 celebrating from 1:00-1:45 and grades 3-5 will celebrate from 2:00-2:45 … Please remember that each adult attending the party must have a volunteer background check completed and reported. If you have not completed this process please do this immediately.

 That’s right – you need a background check to ATTEND YOUR CHILD’S CLASS PARTY.  One woman apologized on the neighborhood’s message board for not being able to help out at her daughter’s kindergarten shindig. And why was that?

 “By the time I decided to go, there was not enough time for the school to do a background check on me. And their policy is if you want to be a volunteer, you have to go through the background check, it usually takes two weeks. The teacher told me I could still go to the party, but I cannot help or interact with any children except my own. I was supposed to just stand back and watch.”

 Clearly, even if you are the mother of a child in the class, you are out to molest all the other students (in public) and cannot so much as hand them a cupcake, you disgusting perv.

Great message to send kindergarteners: Most adults are out to get you! There isn’t just ONE boogey man. There are about 27 per classroom! Or actually, about 54, since moms and dads are BOTH suspect!

Now kids, no long faces! Throw out your paper plates and go make a maximum security prison with your blocks. That’s where most mommies and daddies belong.  

— Lenore