One of my main complaints about my neighbors is not the fact that they block our driveway. It is not the fact that they have 15 cars among five people. Or even that they squeeze five said people into a 631-square-foot living space. Nope. My main complaint is the noise their toddler makes.
It sounds like the @#!&@( kid does windsprints up and down their hallway, jumps on the bed, crashes down and then rides a toy truck over a room full of gravel all while wearing dutch clogs. Did I mention the kids never sleeps? "She never sleeps." (bonus points if you know what movie this is from. The prize for this contest is my neighbor's first born).
I can't tell you the amount of times I have screamed, "F-You" at this toddler from down below (With full use of the "F"). I can't tell you the amount of times I have fantasized about owning a stun gun that could shoot darts through our ceiling. And then I read this in the Sunday NYTimes.
In it, people in New York are complaining about the noise war between parents and non-parents and the tension it creates in apartment units. I feel the pain on both sides. As much as R and I loathe everything about our neighbors, we have never felt justified in telling them just how noisy they are because, hey, kids make noise.
On the other hand, they have no rugs, they never take that poor kid outside and they seem to do everything in their power to move furniture at least three times a day. It is a vexing question. What is the right thing to do?
In many ways, now that Sam is walking, I am more sympathetic. If we did not own the first two floors of our building, I am sure some poor sap below us would be covering his ears with a pillow at night (or at least until 8:30 as our child actually has a bedtime). Kids are damn noisy. But still, it is not pleasant to be awakened each morning to the sounds of horse feet and to have to go to bed each night with ear plugs in just to try to get a good night's rest.
If I lived on the second floor, I would be furious at having to shush Sam all the time or to tell her she can't run. We live in 1,000 square feet. Where else is she going to learn to run? Most of the time--in restaurants, in malls, in museums--my attitude is kids are just smaller humans, deal with it or frequent only adult-centered places at adult-centered times. I have very little sympathy for the people who complain about the noises kids (or dogs) make as long as the place is appropriate, ie. not L'espalier at 10 p.m. on a Saturday.
My motto? Suck it up or stay home. And yes, I felt that way long before I had children of my own.
But in my house, it is different. I long for peace and quiet and the assurance of a good night's rest. Thanks to our neighbors, I get neither. So, what is the solution? Kick kids out? Make them play on foam?
Advice, of course, is welcome, but bear in mind we have already considered calling DSS, stun guns and "accidentally" leaving the back door open. We are not opposed to ideas, but we are opposed to jail time.