I am absolutely fuming. Rather than do anything rash I pose the question "What would you do?"
Here's the story: Noodle has tutoring this evening so when a couple of neighbourhood boys came to ask if anyone was up for a game of soccer in our garden Noodle told them he couldn't play. They asked whether Little Guy might be up for it and of course he was. About twenty minutes later we got back from dropping Noodle off. We stopped the car at the neighbour's gate to let them know we were back.
Within half an hour the game seemed to be over and they had all gone home. Little Guy told me he was packing up but couldn't find Noodle's soccer ball. The front neighbour boy has a reputation for hiding the ball so we went over to ask him where he had put it. He took us on a long wild goose chase around the block where he eventually revealed that 'someone' had thrown the ball down a storm drain. It wasn't clear whether it was him or one of the other boys who had been here.
I squeezed through the fence (it's an abandoned lot not far from our place) and looked down the drain myself - ripping my t shirt in the process - the ball is not even visible - assumed lost.
As I said I am livid since it's Noodle's ball that he was given as a reward for something outstanding last year. He worked very hard for that ball. It was a beautiful leather soccer ball. It's been carefully put away every night inside the house. I don't want to say I am mad over only a ball, but I am.
More than that I am mad because it seems to be a case of these boys coming over and deliberately disrespecting another person's property. That's not on. I also feel it's not the first time these boys have come to our house and broken something on purpose.
Now, my question is should we speak to these kids' parents? And risk causing a huge scene or discord among the neighbours? My gut tells me not to make a fuss, it is only a ball after all. But still, I feel this is exactly the kind of bad behaviour that escalates. What do you think?
Of course I didn't see what happened. It's Little Guy's word against theirs. I really believe that he had nothing to do with it but he's also somewhat in the dog house for not letting me know the boys were talking about putting the ball in the drain.
I feel a little calmer just having gotten this off my chest. It's probably best not to do anything. Don't you think? I can tell you one thing for sure. Those boys are banned from my place.
**Update: Mr. Mee a Bee was pretty mad too. In the end we decided that we would not say anything to the parents unless a similar thing happens again. Noodle was upset but not as much as we thought he'd be. He said he'd ask the boys about it. We will go look in the drain again with a flashlight to see if we can retrieve the ball although I doubt we'll be able to get it.
The boys in question are a year younger than Noodle and not among his close friends. To be honest they really only come here when they have nothing better to do.
On reflection I can see that it could easily be one of my kids doing something to make a parent angry (or even me for speaking sternly to the kid!).
I appreciate your words of advice so much! I am glad we did not rush out and make a big deal without the benefit of some breathing space. THANK YOU!!