Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fun with Toddlers and Neighbors!!!

Subtitle: The post wherein I rant endlessly and show that I may well have anger issues.  My apologies.

Quoth Daddy while speaking to my toddler: "We're going to take a shower because your balls smell, and Mama needs a break."

So true, Daddy.  So true.

2011 ended with a bang.  November and December were doozies.  El Toddler is on fire lately and is testing every last nerve remaining in my body.  I hear a lot of, "NOOOOO!!!!" and there is a lot of smacking and laying atop the baby by said toddler.  I don't know if this is just your standard "terrible twos" or if it's a special brand of awesomeness that my boy has concocted in response to the obvious stress around these parts, but it sure is swell.  I can't tell you the joy I reap from having my oldest son tell me he doesn't like me and then watching him throw his cup right at his baby brother's head.  It's just pure delight.  The screams my toddler now produces on a stupidly regular basis have also taught my baby how to scream.  He now thinks that is how to communicate.  So it's a bit of a scream-off around here.  It is awesomefuckingtasticness.

In addition to kid fun, I have the downstairs neighbor from hell.  Living in an apartment with children is not ideal by any standards, but it many cases, it is simply a necessity.  We have to live here right now because we can't afford to live anywhere else.  We have to make it work.  When we were first moving in (as in, the FIRST TIME WE SET FOOT IN THE APARTMENT), we were measuring for cribs and, out the window, saw a little man looking up into the room from the 2nd floor hallway, shaking his first.  That's right folks, shaking his fist.  Is he ninety years old?  Nope.  Just a dick.  We decided to be the bigger people and went downstairs to greet him and apologize for the noise we were apparently making.  (Actually, I wanted to go down and yell at him for being an asshole, but my husband rightly pointed out that this would not be the way to begin a friendly, neighborly relationship.  Whatever.)  So, knowing we would be living in a building with a persnickety downstairs neighbor, we taught our toddler how to do "sneaky feet" and "walk like a bird."  We have also taught him that he is not to jump, run, throw, or bounce in our home.  Is this reasonable to expect from a two and half year old?  Not at all.  Is it likely that it will be at all successful?  Nope, but we're trying like hell anyway because it's the nice thing to do.  We spend all day every day reminding our poor toddler to use quiet feet and walk gently.  Nonetheless, he sometimes runs for 5 seconds, or falls, or pounds a toy 4 times before we can stop him.  Obviously, my son is clearly trying to ruin this man's life.

After living here a little over a month, Mr. Persnickety came up to pound on our door 10 minutes after we got home from the grocery store.  My toddler had banged a toy on the floor a couple times, so he came up to complain and request -I kid you not- that we teach our child to be quiet.  Um... seriously?!?  First off, we have been falling all over ourselves trying to teach a TODDLER to be as quiet as humanly possible already.  It's unbelievably unfair to expect him to completely alter himself, his nature as a child, and his playing in order to please a pissy little neighbor man, but we are asking him to do so all the same.  Secondly, we had been home for TEN MINUTES.  Ten.  Really?  Dude, you live in a building and in buildings, you share walls.  Not sure you're aware of this concept.  Shockingly, when you share walls with people, you hear them.  Whaa?!?  Yup, that's right folks, you're gonna hear your neighbors when you live in a building.  GROUND-BREAKING INFORMATION.  Meanwhile, we hear this same persnickety motherfucker playing his electric guitar EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.  Sometimes we can hear what he's playing along to.  (In-a-Godda-Davita, anyone?)  We hear our upstairs neighbor pumping house music at 6a.m. every single morning.  We also hear her penchant for moving furniture around.  At our last place, we heard our neighbors hammering in an inexplicable number of nails for pictures and doing what I can only guess was carpentry indoors at the weirdest hours.  Have we ever gone to yell at any of them?  No.  Why?  Because we CHOSE to live in a building where we shared walls.  Because we are somewhat reasonable human beings.  Because we are aware of reality.

Thankfully, my husband answered the door when Mr. Persnickety came a-callin', or he would have gotten an earful of the above from me.  IN ALL CAPS.  My husband told him that he was sorry for the pounding and that we had already been working on being quiet with our TWO AND A HALF YEAR OLD CHILD and that we would continue to do so.  My husband was kind.  I would have bitch-slapped that sonofabitch.  Actually, I probably would have burst into tears, because that's what I do when I'm mad, but then I would have yelled at him... while crying.  Which is not particularly effective, FYI, but I can't help it.


All of this happened about a month ago and in the meantime, we have been attempting to live our lives normally.  We are still reminding our toddler not to stomp across the floors and trying to keep him from doing the laps that all toddlers do from time to time, but sometimes it's a losing battle.  During those times, we're trying to remember that we are not doing anything wrong.  We have fallen all over ourselves trying to keep our neighbor happy and be as quiet as possible and he still complains.  So, fine.  We won't trouble ourselves anymore.

He called again a few nights ago because- god forbid- it was 3 days after Christmas and our kids were still filled with yule.  We had a friend over and our toddler was having a blast.  He wanted to dance for a moment and (gasp!) I didn't stop him.  It was 7:15pm.  Within minutes of said dancing, our phone rang.  At first we didn't answer because we had a friend over and weren't sure we wanted to pursue the inevitable drama, but my husband decided to call him back and have at it.  Persnickety claimed that there was a ton of stomping going on for an extended period of time and it "felt like living in a bass drum."  This, apparently, was getting in the way of his nap.  A nap.  At 7:15pm.  Not even joking.  I would like to make his head into a bass drum.  My husband proceeded (very kindly) to tell him that we are constantly, constantly, CONSTANTLY trying to be quiet and bend our lives to fit his ridiculous requirements (i.e. total fucking silence at all times), but that we cannot actually physically strap the children (or ourselves) down 24 hours a day.  He responded by saying that "perhaps this isn't the right building for children."  Wow. Really?  First of all, restricting children from living here would actually be totally illegal, you douche-bag, so that's kind of a moot point, don'tcha think?  Secondly, is he seriously attempting to bully us out of our home?  As though we would actually turn around and say, "OMG!  You're totally right!  We should move immediately!"  What was that comment supposed to accomplish?  Am I aware that half of the building is full of older couples with grown (or no) children?  Yes.  Are there play structures scattered across the grounds?  No.  Does that mean that we have no right to live here?  NO, it does not.  Trust me, we will fly out of here like 4 little jet planes as soon as humanly possible, but that little fact is due to YOU ALONE, SIR.  Ugh.

Anyway, my husband told him in all kinds of ways and all kinds of tones that he was being ridiculous and that we needed to behave in a neighborly fashion.  That we hear our neighbors (including him and his goddamn guitar) all the time, but that we don't run whining to their doors.  He backed down, but I know we'll hear from him again.  We always do.

I cannot wait to live in a house where my children and I can run and jump and have dance parties and generally enjoy our lives without wincing every time the phone rings.  And I cannot wait to see who moves in here next.  I hope they have triplet toddlers.  And mastiffs.

May 2012 be a shinier, happier year and may it bring all of you the love and laughter you deserve.  With less bitching from that persnickety fucker downstairs.  (And less whining from me.)  Yeesh.


  1. *eye roll* what a tool. Does the building have a contract that you can check out? My building has quiet hours, but they are between 10 pm and 8 am. Also, is there a building manager you can appeal to as a go-between? Or do you have a friend that is a lawyer that can point out to him that he is harassing you? Good luck my friend.

  2. Yup. Looked at the rules and regs for the building and (SHOCKING!) we're not doing anything wrong. We are simply living here. But if he keeps this crap up, a-lawyerin' we'll go! Total tool.

  3. You know, Joanna is a lawyer....and I wouldn't wanna mess with her.

  4. You are awesome and you children are lucky to have you and brugh. Quit answering your phone. Save his messages. And let this be his problem :) enough bending over eh? Kindness towards assholes was sooooo 2011. That man has a special place in hell :)
    Me (smooochies)