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post #45
bio: erik

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Parenting, RI-style
There are a number of children in our neighborhood who are simultaneously obsessed with and terrified of Mijo. The ones next door hang over the backyard fence and yell what sounds like "Peo" at him (which makes me think it is spanish for ugly dog, combining perro and feo, but who knows), and then scream and run when he sees them and charges the fence. It's cute for like a minute, but they do it for hours, regardless of whether he's even in the back yard or not.

Then down on the corner we have the underpant twins. They have a blow-up pool in their yard, and usually swim in their undies or tiny speedos. The older one has mustered up the courage to touch the dog when we go by on walks, but only when the dog is not looking at him. He'll run up, pat Mijo's butt, and run away. The younger one won't come within more than 10 feet of the dog, though he really seems to want to. Then he will hold up three fingers on each hand and say "I'm dos!" (His brother told me he is actually four, so I have no idea what's going on.)

The thing about the underpant twins is that their parents seem to have no concern about where they are or what they are doing. We live several houses down from them, but some days I have pulled into the driveway, and there next to my car is a boy in his underpants on a bike. Some people might be psyched about this, but it makes me uneasy. They roam all over the place, frequently in undies, and the parents have yet to notice or put a stop to it.

Last night I was out after dark in the backyard. You cannot go into the backyard without Mijo coming along. But if there are people in the house, he will sit by the door waiting for them to come out, completely focused on this, and only this. Collin was in the house, so there he sat. I was watering the back corner of the yard, and I heard the gate shake. Concerned that Mijo had figured out a way to escape, I ran to the edge of the house, only to find the underpant twins trying to pet him throught the fence. Now, at any given time our neighborhood has drag racing, drug dealing, and loose pit bulls (which have resulted in a number of dog deaths). If I had kids and they were outside in this environment, I would flip out if I lost track of them for a second (especially if they were 4 and 6). But these people just don't seem to notice or care. Does something bad have to happen before they do?

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