Ambushed by the Ingalls Family

Early one night last week, MP saw a man on a horse walking down the road. Grammy, MP and I went to say hello and after some conversation, learned he lived just a short distance away. Turns out he and his wife have two daughters — one four and one eight. They’re home-schooled and in his words, desperate for contact with other kids. We exchanged numbers and I extended an open invitation for them to come over any time.

I guess I thought they’d CALL first.

Friday afternoon I was totally ambushed. The house looked like a bomb went off — a mountain of clean laundry piled on the couch, spilling onto the floor, MP’s toys strewn EVERYWHERE and a pile of dishes in the sink. MP and I had just gotten back from a hot, sweaty bike ride and were home no more than 10 minutes before the Home-schoolers showed up at the door. I was HORRIFIED. From the looks on their faces, so were they.

The girls wore peasant skirts; Mom was fresh-faced with long brown hair pulled into a loose pony. A crunchy granola Ingalls family. Very nice, but … awkward. Like they didn’t have much contact with the outside world. I imagined them reading by gas lantern at night.

I invited them in. MP was ECSTATIC to have playmates over. She took them into her playroom. I asked Ma Ingalls if she’d like a seat, and she said she was fine sitting on the wooden bench by the door. Ho-kee. I checked on the girls. The older one, Ingrid — who MP kept calling “Penguin” — was busy cleaning the play kitchen, telling me (not without a slight note of disdain) she was “organizing it because it was SUCH a mess.” The glow of that gas lantern brightened just enough for me to now envision the impossibly tidy log cabin Ma Ingalls no doubt kept.

The younger girl ran out to her mother, one of MP’s baby dolls in her arms.

“Mother!” she said, “MP’s so KIND. She let me play with one of her babies!”

I was quickly falling under the impression these kids had NO playmates. Their speech was bookish and almost antiquated. It dredged up memories of third grade and Peter Costa, teasing dorky, bespectacled eight-year-old me in front of a group of classmates.

Not to worry. I had a comeback.

“Yeah? Well, it’s not like … I’m … FOND of you or anything.”

Good one. FOND. While I was reading Wuthering Heights and building my Victorian vocabulary, Peter Costa was busy being the Cute Boy. And while Peter and the group snickered at my prudish reply, I knew THAT choice comeback had effectively bumped me to the next level of nerd status.

So, I felt for the Ingalls girls.

After spending 45 minutes wrapped in small talk with Ma — all the while side-sweeping clutter into neat little piles — it was closing in on dinner time. Getting ready to leave, the little one said to MP, “You should give me some of your toys because you have SO many.” We all heard it. Ma just smiled. I let out an uncomfortable chuckle. MP stared. It was weird.

Eh, you can’t blame the kid for coveting Hungry Hungry Hippos, when all she has are wooden pull-toys. And sticks to whittle. In that cabin with the gas lantern.

As we walked them down the dirt driveway — MP clickity clacking in her pink plastic Cinderella heels; the Ingalls Family in their patchwork skirts atop their bikes — I told Ma we went to the public pool every Friday.

And she said they could rearrange their schedule so THEY could go to the pool every Friday too.

Apparently they’re FOND of us.


Filed under Piecemeal

39 responses to “Ambushed by the Ingalls Family

  1. Ummm, well!

    I like when people call first and give me 2 days notice so I can fold washing and hide clutter.

    Did you feel like standing in the middle of your kitchen, calling ‘Welcome to the REAL world kiddo’s!’?

  2. Sounds like it’s time for a nice visit to their cabin! Maybe ma could teach you how to bake bread and wash clothes the old fashioned way. Wouldn’t that be swell?

  3. Yowza. You were a much better sport than I would have been. At least you don’t have to worry about her reading this…

  4. wow! the next thing you know they’re going to put you in their will! haha!

  5. Sue

    Ha! That is so funny. Ambush visits are not, tho’, when you’re a scary-bad housekeeper like me. (whoops- watch out for the scrambled eggs on the floor…)

  6. Do you think that the Ingalls family will swim in their patchwork skirts, or strip down to their knickers?

  7. Oh my…that is why I don’t like playdates. Ugh. Do you think they have a phone? Maybe that’s why they didn’t call first?

  8. These people sound suspiciously like polygamists. The prairie dresses are usually a dead giveaway. Are you sure there’s only one Mrs. Ingalls?

  9. Do they also sport lovely buns in their hair?


  10. Now, buns … THAT would be a total polygamist move. (Bejewell)

  11. Tell them to STAY AWAY from Nellie Oleson.
    She’s meaner than a two-headed snake.

  12. Two-headed snake — how do you remember these things??

    I could not STAND Nellie Oleson. Or, Every Seven-year-old’s Equivalent to the Antichrist.

  13. This reminds me of that TLC show on the family with, like, 34 kids. They’re moving into a new, bigger house, and “they” ask the kids what they’re excited about, and one of the little girls says something about all the new washing machines.

    I love “penguin”–that is so good.

  14. pajama momma

    Ok, waaaaaaaaay rude. I just want to stress that not all homeschoolers are this weird. Some are even freakier. I know because I was a homeschooler.

    We couldn’t afford private school and my son was way ahead of the game for the gifted program at public school. ( in 2nd grade, he read the entire Chronicles of Narnia with comprehension, had him tested by a 10th grade English teacher).

    Anyhoo, it was fun because we had freedom. He only had to school 2-3 hours a day because there was no time wasted disciplining unruly students, changing classes, blah, blah, blah.

    We had other homeschoolers that we met with everyday for playtime and social interraction. The zoo and museums and other really cool places had special classes just for homeschoolers.

    Alas, I quit homeschooling and sent him back to public school because I am a grouch. “What part of that math problem don’t you get? OMFG!!!”

    I’ve always had quite a bit of granola goodness in me, but some of these homeschooling moms were wiggedy wack. All had peasant skirts.

    I knew I didn’t fit in the one day we had a play date and I brought up South Park. Um, yeah. You would have enjoyed the reaction on their faces. I was on the fast track to hell.

  15. Goodness gracious, so the mom was scared to venture further than the bench by the door?

    I bet they’d be great to know if anything ever happens to the world- they could teach you how to hunt and live off the land.

  16. rofl!
    Maybe you can teach them how to be more normal by showing them the proper way to wear a Pull-Up on their head. 🙂

  17. Oh, SNAAAP!

    I so deserved that one. That’s awesome. 🙂

  18. I couldn’t STOP laughing throughout that whole post! I swear! The whole “Ma Ingalls”….the gas lanterns…hahaha!!!!

    Is it normal where you live for people to be riding horses down the street??? Or should that have given you some clue?

    hysterical as always, mommy pie.

  19. Oh my. I hide under the dining room table and duct tape P’s mouth when unexpected company knocks.

    One good thing could definitely come out of it – the older Ingalls obviously likes to clean, I say you get her an apron and invite her over each Wednesday.

  20. Golly, this was such a swell post! I could feel your angst, AND HOW. Hopefully MP will have two new chums, and a brand-spanking clean play stove to boot. And you may get some hearth-baked whole grain bread with home-churned butter, too.*

    *This comment brought to you by the years 1934 and 1952.

  21. I think it’s fun to meet people who are so different from myself because I find them so refreshing and unique! What a fun new friendship- I’m sure you’ll both benefit from it!

  22. littlemansmom

    First of all…they weren’t horrified…they were in AWE … 😉

    Secondly…you guys are tooo cute!

  23. KD

    You need to hide a camera somewhere and take pictures—OOO OOo or record a video–that would be better. Then we could see.

    At least they were polite.

  24. Oh, trust me — that’s ALWAYS on my mind. Hmmm … perhaps at the pool?

  25. LMAO @ Foolery!

    Everyone else already stole all the brilliant comments, so just know that I came, I laughed, I commiserated (we had our very own “Ingalls” family back in CE…3 girls, one boy, all homeschooled. Girls all in skirts and with long hair, the boy in genes and a button down shirt – ALWAYS, and ma and pa older replicates of their spawn….anyhow, we pittied them until we realized THEY were the ones in the $5M home along the ocean ledge down the block from us! Pity no more!) and now I am leaving a comment.

    Seriously though, see if you can’t get a gander of their log cabin. Kinda makes me wonder if they have an outhouse.

  26. Oiy! *smacking head*

    Did I SERIOUSLY spell jeans, “genes”….

  27. You are a far more patient and KIND woman than I. I guess I’m I’m just too superficial for prairie skirts.

  28. You know the Ingalls have internet and have totally read your blog post.

  29. Dude, you KNOW I’ve been worried about that ALL day. With my luck, they rode down the dirt road to their million-dollar techno-ranch.

  30. this goes in your top 3 posts. i’m feeling for those ingalls girls. i want to read about how you’ve taken them under your shawl, and protected them from nellie. i hated her curls.

  31. “The Drop By” is fantastic when its done by good friends… or those who I wouldn’t care if they saw my house with crap thrown everywhere. For those I don’t know… you MUST call in advance.

    You were one good “friend” to be host these people. It sounds like a day to remember!

  32. oi. What a blast from the past.

    Too funny though.

  33. I love watching the Amish families when we trek through PA, I can only imagine what they would think of me if they were observing me. Dirty dishes piled high, dog hair all over the floor, kids toys all over, me sitting at my giant screened computer at 12am when I should be in bed.

    I hid in the attic once when my Dad stopped by. Shameful.

  34. pisceshanna

    For reals, B. Too hilarious. There is a “compound” in the next town over from me. Lots of Mormon activities here on the border of Colorado and Utah. I regularly see Prairie Dresses at the local City Market. I can’t wait till LB makes friends with them.

  35. MommyTime

    I have nothing to add except that you can be very glad the Ingalls and not the Olsens turned out to be your neighbors. At least you know little MP won’t learn to stick her tongue rudely out at everyone who ticks her off. Also — PLEASE be sure to post an update after the swimming hold episode. I will be very curious about whether they wear one piece, knee-length wool bloomers or not.

  36. See, this is why I love reading blogs. I’m glad to read that I’m not the only one that gets “sidetracked” from chores to blog and surf the web.

    When we first move into our house our neighbor down the way, who was also new, did a “drop by” to introduce herself. My house looked like a bomb went off in it. I have four kids!!! She sat at the edge of the couch the entire time and as we made polite conversation all I could think is, “when the frig is she going to go?” I’m so nice.

    You some of the best adventures!

  37. Pod people…they do exist!

  38. Shopping Plaza Online is the best way to find everthing you needed for your kids.

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