What exactly is the proper protocol to explain to my four and five year old why the next door neighbor lady won't let our kids play with her kids?
So the thing is that our backyards are touching and the houses are really close together. She runs a daycare out of her house. We've never formally met her. We moved into this house about a month ago, almost two. In that time we've seen a lot of people in and out of the house and didn't go over to introduce ourselves because I wasn't sure who was the actual owner. There were always parents dropping their kids off there. By the time I figured out who was the probable parent, we just sort of never really got around to saying hello - she'd been around plenty and never said hi to us either, so it was just a bit awkward around.
Anyway, she's usually inside and since she runs a daycare, there's always lots of kids in the yard. They have this big trampoline that kids are always jumping on. It seems to be the spot for all the neighborhood kids. During the afternoons they're usually the older kids, but in the day time it's the preschool set. I guess she's usually inside watching from the window because I never see her out with them.
Yesterday we were going to take a walk down to the park and the kids went out ahead of me to the backyard while I put on my shoes. When I got outside I saw that they were standing at the edge of the neighbors yard, talking to the other kids. They were all, "hi, I'm four, my name is XYZ and I like gummi bears" types of conversations. All the kids were their age, four and five and one two year old. The other kids were friendly and asked if they could go play, and mine really wanted to. But I said, "hey, I don't know the mom here, why don't we ask her if the kids can go play." So one of the kids ran inside to ask her. I thought that maybe she'd come outside, see who we were, and at least say hello. But then the boy came out and said that she said "no, sorry." So, that was pretty much that and we left.
All the kids were disappointed and my two kept asking why they couldn't play. Now, on one hand I get that if you're running a daycare, it can be against the rules if you have more kids than the state limit, or the parents might get annoyed if stranger kids are playing with theirs. And I know there's a million reasons why the lady might not have been able to come outside right then. She could have been cooking, or tending to a younger baby, or whatever. But in my social paranoia I kind of feel awkward now and don't really know if she just looked out the window, saw it was us, and just said no for some reason.
I *think* I should go over there and ring her doorbell and introduce ourselves. The kids are always outside but I rarely see her, so it's not really just a matter of waiting until I see her. I just, I dunno. I would have said hello to her if I knew she was the parent and not just one of the other parents dropping kids off. I met a couple of the other neighbors - but she never really said hello either. Our houses are practically touching so it's not like she didn't notice we had moved in. Maybe it's typical here to have the new people intro themselves, but if I saw a new neighbor move in I'd try to be the one to say hi first and welcome them to the neighborhood or whatever, especially if they have kids of a similar age. That doesn't really seem to be the case here. Except for one family who came over with some bread they baked, I've had to initiate the conversations with all the other parents on our block (even though they all seem to know one another really well).
So, I'm kind of at a loss. The kids keep asking why they can't play with the other kids next door. And it's always a huge gaggle of kids, so it really does seem like there are all sorts of playmates for them there. (They are homeschooled and we don't really have any friends here yet.) But I don't know how to go over to the neighbor and introduce ourselves after we were basically sent away the other day. I'm not exactly good with social things and it's seems like it would be really awkward. =/ And if she even then says that the kids can't play with hers due to regs or whatever, how do you explain to a four and five year old that they can't play with the other kids next door where ALL the kids in the neighborhood congregate? We are home almost all of the time due to my husband's disability so we can't do play groups or anything like that. I figured that since there are SO many kids in the neighborhood they would have no trouble making friends... I know that at four and five "friends" are transient, but it still disappoints them that they can't play and I want to explain it to them better than "state laws and daycare regs."