Did you ever do that as a kid? Run up to someone’s house, ring the doorbell, and take off running and laughing? I grew up in the country, so this was not something I did. However, some kids in our neighborhood have enjoyed this afternoon activity often. And on our front step.
The first attempt came around 3:00 in the afternoon during the school week. I thought it was odd, as my friends usually text or call before they come. I got excited about the prospect of a special visitor or a package being delivered! As I approached the door, I heard laughing and, “Go go go!” How fun, I thought as I reached for the doorknob. I opened the door to find nothing. No one. No package. No smiling face. Just disappointment. I closed the door and went upstairs to check on the (now awake) baby.
The second attempt was the very next day, at the very same time. My husband was home, and he was also fooled into a false sense of excitement. Who is it? What is it? A special visitor? A singing telegram? He opened the door to the same visitor I experienced the day before: Disappointment. And now, again, an awake baby.
He identified the mystery of the ringing doorbell as “ding-dong ditchers.”
My husband grew up in the city, so he is no stranger to these pranksters. (He may have even been one at one time or another!) We started to brainstorm ways to have fun with them. We were not about to be left out of the afternoon shenanigans!
First, we decided the age group of these friends. It happened around 3:00 each day, right when the middle school bus dropped kids off in our neighborhood. Therefore, we were probably looking at kids ranging from sixth to eighth grade. What do these kids like to play? Well, our first thought was a water fight! Of course! Every middle schooler loves a good spray with the hose. We made a plan. The next day, when they got off the bus, we would hide by the garage with our hose, ready to spray them. They would love that!
After some thought, we decided we should get to know them first. Maybe we shouldn’t spray them, for fear of ruining their iPods or phones that they may have with them. We thought maybe the next day, we could wait around the corner in our van and follow them home. Get their address, and show up later to introduce ourselves to their parents. Tell them how much we have appreciated their afternoon visits. Yeah! That’s perfect. Wait, no, that’s not cool. C’mon, we are talking about preteen boys here. We can’t just introduce ourselves to their parents! How embarrassing.
Then we thought, we could just wait by the door, and when they ring the doorbell, answer it before they have a chance to get nervous and run off. I was too nervous for that. What would I say? Is it cool to introduce yourself like that?
In the end, we realized that we just could not handle the pressure of connecting with these boys. I took a page from their book and left a note for them on the doorbell.
In the end, they were too shy to be our friends. It’s too bad really. My baby girl was really alert whenever they would come. I think she wanted to get to know them. And, I was ready for an epic water fight.