Sunday, April 20, 2008

Growing Pains

Can you imagine playing marbles on cobblestones? When we moved into our Casa in San Miguel de Allende, the boys were playing marbles on the cobblestone streets. And we had a whole bunch of little boys about 9 to 12 years old. About a year later the big game was throwing rocks at each other. Well in our narrow streets that meant that rocks also hit the houses and sometimes windows. I have to admit that sometimes they picked out a target for practice. Sometimes that was a street light or a porch light.

One of the best rock chunkers was a thin short boy with ear-length hair dressed in the required low slung, cut-off jeans, oversize T-shirts and high-top tennis shoes with the laces dragging the ground. One day, I called Ned to the kitchen window. "Do you think that boy is growing breasts?" I asked. His response was, Mmmmmm maybe. Well, the answer became apparent over the next few months that this boy was a girl. She dressed in skirt and sweater to go to school but as soon as she got home it was back to dressing like the boys, walking like the boys and chunking rocks. Five years later, she has grown long hair and wears it in a pony tail. She uses make-up and wears more form-fitting T-shirts. She giggles with the girls but hangs out with the boys in the street at night. We can't wait to see what she does next.

The boys too have grown up. Now they are into music....loud music. The twin boys who live next door are the most annoying with their music but thank goodness it is during the day and not late at night. But the problem with day-time music is that it sometimes coincides with siesta time. They play it loud but not so much that the windows vibrate like sometimes happens when a truck with its windows rolled down slides down the street with the monster speakers turned up to full bass.

Some of the boys have girlfriends now and they have taken over our entry steps from some of the older kids who have moved on to other places to make out. Sometimes when we are up on the terrace and look down at the steps we see some snuggling and kissing and sometimes when we come around the corner at night, two figures will jump up from the steps and smooth clothes as they get up and give us room to climb the steps.

The little girl next door, the twin's sister, has grown up. From our terrace we watched her practice on the roof-top for the presentation dance for her Quinceanera.

The boys who looked at the ground and barely mumbled when we spoke to them five years ago, now look us in the face and say, Buenos tardes when they see us.

Maybe it is because we are retired, or maybe it is because we are in a different culture, or maybe it is because we live side-to-side with our neighbors, but I think we have been more observant of these children than we were the children in our suburban neighborhood in Houston. It has been interesting watching them grow into teenagers.

1 comment:

Babs said...

It's SO true! I remember how little the kids were next door and I used to bring them little dinosaurs and "kid" toys when I came back from Texas (leftovers from the grandkids) and recently one of them was driving in town in his dad's car and I did a doubletake! How did he go from 10 to 17!! Wow, time flies. I DO have to go over every now and then and ask for the music to be turned rattles the windows in MY house....ha AND they are always so polite about it.......