Dear Next Door Neighbor:
Posted on November 14th, 2010
(A McSweeney’s style open letter that I’ll never send.)
Thank you for knocking on my door at 8:55 this morning, when my daughter was in the midst of a tantrum. Thank you for telling me that she woke you up and that you are “not a happy camper.” I appreciate you pointing out that you are a teacher, and that as a result, you understand kids.
Except that I don’t believe you.
If you knew kids, you would know three is a difficult age. If you’d been paying attention to the tantrums coming from our loft (which was the implication), you’d have noticed that there are many, many fewer tantrums now than there were six months ago, because of all the consistency work I’ve been doing. Every day, all day. You might be surprised to learn I even consulted a psychologist to make sure that I was taking the proper approach.
While you were talking about your interrupted sleep and telling me about all the tantrums my child has, you might have noticed there was a long red scratch mark on my chest. That would be from P, lashing out because I took her gyroscope away after she started tapping it on the wood floor. You see, I was concerned it would annoy our downstairs neighbor. I gritted my teeth and took one for the sake of consistency and follow-through, and sucked it up.
If you’d stopped your diatribe about how annoying my child is, you might have noticed my red, bloodshot eyes, because after the scratch, when she wouldn’t stop screaming, I – whose sleep was interrupted before 7 AM by her demands for milk and Sesame Street – started sobbing. That scratch on my chest was the last straw. I figured it was too early in the morning for klonopin, so did the next best thing: I put my head on the kitchen counter and cried.
And then you knocked on my door.
I have never complained about your music after 10 PM. I have never complained about your door, opening and shutting loudly at 1 AM. I figure it’s all the price of living in close quarters. In the past, during her tantrums, we’ve tried to knock on your door to apologize, to explain, but you’ve not been home. M wants to to leave a pair of earplugs for you on your door. I would be satisfied if you just got down off your high horse.