Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

There are many reasons I would like to live in a detached house, and my children are two of them.

on November 20, 2013

Dear Next-Door-Neighbour,

Thank you for banging on the wall during bedtime.  I can only assume you somehow believed I hadn’t noticed that Small Girl had been having a tantrum at top volume for the past forty minutes or so.  Although I would also then have to assume that you are a moron.  I’m prepared to go with this.

Or possibly you thought that I didn’t give a shit that my child was clearly distraught?  But then, why would you expect me to be bothered about you?  Your reasoning is, quite frankly, illogical.

I suppose the final possibility is that you were annoyed by the screaming (which I can quite understand – I wasn’t really enjoying the experience either) and decided to vent it by thumping on the wall.  What you actually achieved was scaring my three-year-old, who was quite alarmed by loud banging noises coming from the walls.  Way to go. You’re clearly a hero.  Let’s hope you haven’t given her nightmares.

Actually, and not that I feel particularly obliged to explain myself to you, Small Girl had been away from me for three nights while she was at her dad’s.  I can only assume that this was a bit challenging for her.  She’s only two, so she struggles to deal with all the different emotions going on, and tantrums are her way of expressing that.  Not that she has them very often, so banging on the wall seems somewhat disproportionate.

This takes me back to the last time you banged on the wall.  Actually, there have been a few.  When she was around 4 or 5 months old and would wake in the night and scream, going from 0-60 in a few seconds, and I could find no way to quieten her, and didn’t dare take her downstairs as I was frightened she would wake her sister, you used to bang on the wall.  I appreciated your intervention then even more than I do now – as a newly-single parent to two small children, sleep-deprived and grieving the loss of my marriage, I was delighted to also have to worry about you banging on the wall.

I’ve also appreciated your willingness to talk to me about this.  I am actually very aware of the noise my children make because I have (a) ears and (b) respect for my neighbours.  So I decided to come and speak to you about it after you banged on the wall at 9 am one day.  I knew you were up because you had just banged on the wall, so I hoped you would answer the door.  When you refused to do this, I put a note through your door outlining the impact your banging was having on me and asking you to come and speak to me.  You returned the note having scrawled threats to call social services if I continued to neglect my child and leave her to cry at all times of the day and night.  I would have been impressed by your x-ray vision and ability to see what was happening in my house ‘at all times of the day and night’, if it weren’t for the fact that I wasn’t actually neglecting either child.

I’m not really sure what you expect me to do when my child is having a tantrum – which, while loud, are not that frequent.  I could cut her vocal cords, I suppose (could I? Could I? Is that even physically possible?) but that would be cruel, illegal and unnecessary, and she wouldn’t be able to talk any more.  I could put a bag over her head every time she cries, but that could suffocate her and I hope you’ll agree that that isn’t an ideal outcome.  Of course, if you’d like me to stop her crying as soon as she starts I could give her what she wants every time she cries.  But bear in mind that you’ll be living next door to the nine-year-old from hell in seven years.  Or I could keep doing what I’m doing, which is responding to her needs while trying to ignore the tantrum, and helping her to feel as loved and secure as possible.

Of course, if you are actually concerned for my children’s wellbeing, feel free to ring Social Services. Explain to them that you live next door to two small children and you think they are neglected because they occasionally cry and have tantrums.  They may *sound* like they are taking you seriously, but I know they have real concerns to deal with.  Or, if you think my children’s behaviour constitutes serious nuisance, ask to speak to the antisocial behaviour team.  Again, I’ll be interested to hear how you get on.  You can contact either team by ringing the local council.

Or alternatively, you can fuck off.



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