I was in the first grade when my mother agreed to allow the little girl from up the street to come to our house after school while her parents worked. Previously, the little girl would spend time with an elderly couple who also lived on our street. I'm sure her mother thought it would be better if she could interact with someone her own age and I'm sure my mother agreed. I don't believe I was consulted about it, and I'm sure at the time I wouldn't have seen a problem with it.
But problems there were. Leslie was my shadow. Wherever I went, she was right behind me. She constantly wanted to be entertained by me. We had to interact. CONSTANTLY. I was used to entertaining myself. When I didn't, I played with my little brother but even we didn't need to interact as much as Leslie required. We could each set up our toys in our respective corners and play with them for hours with only a little bit of interaction. Leslie demanded that every moment include her. She could barely entertain herself.
She was also awful at playing many of things my little brother and I did. We loved to climb trees. She would join us but didn't have the strength or the dexterity. We had rope swings that were wooden bars hung on a single rope from a tree. We could swing dangling by our arms for hours Leslie would go back and forth once or twice but declared it was hard and hurt her hands. We played in the creek. She hated the mud was terrified of crawdads. She wasn't allowed to ride her bike on the road without an adult present. There was never an adult present. Oh sure, my mom was home but she did her thing inside and we did ours outside.
Sometimes we played inside but it would be in one of our rooms. For a long time my little brother and I shared a room so we could use the other bedroom as a toy room. We we allowed and even encouraged to be children and drag all the toys out, build elaborate playsets with them and then leave them. Clean up time was not every evening for us.
It didn't take long for Leslie's never-ending company to grate on my nerves. I began to bicker and fight with her. I'd wade out in the middle of our pond and insist that we were playing boats that day since I knew she'd never leave the shore. I spent time in the yard across the street to avoid her. I'd ride my bike away from her but I was always aware of her company and resentful of the fact that she was there. I hated that I had to leave my own house to get away from this annoying intruder.
The Fine Print: In hindsight, I always thought it interesting that Leslie couldn't entertain herself at all considering she was basically an only child (her older siblings were 17 and 19 at the time). My mom later guessed that perhaps it was because Leslie was at my house and ergo felt we had to do what I wanted and she had to have my input. Maybe, but I tried long and hard to get her to do her own thing. Some people really do suck at keeping themselves occupied and can't stand their own company. Cards from the Club Scrap "Bookshelves" kit made quite awhile ago.