We have issues with our new neighbors. These are people that complained within 15 minutes, literally, to the minute, of us moving in to the apartment that we were too loud. They had management up there WITHIN 15 minutes. Not to mention a few times, we were out of the house all day, and literally within 10 mins of arriving home - literally I took off my coat, kids took off their shoes, I went to go pee - while I was peeing the door is being banged on, husband answers, it's them telling us to stop the noise. It was like 5 minutes, MAYBE 10. And the kids weren't even running around or screaming. I promise. We had just spent 6 HOURS on a Sunday morning driving around town so the neighbors could have a quiet Sunday morning (the kids woke up at 6 - so we headed out to get them out of the apt).
Within the first day or so I wrote a letter to them being very polite and asking them to please have patience with our kids' adjustment to apartment life and to please tell us about their schedule and where their beds are so that we can situate the kids' play area away from those times. Well apparently we're not allowed to make any noise ever because some of them work at night and some during the day so someone is always sleeping.
Anyway. So the complaints had settled down in the last few days/weeks so I was almost starting to breathe again. But then I found (totally randomly!!!) written about us, yes us, on a website reviewing our apartment:
[I took out the letter on further thought because it could be traced back to the original website... But it was long and pretty nasty about what awful upstairs neighbors we were and how we didn't try to do anything to quiet the kids down or whatever.]
And it had some sympathetic replies and whatever, but that was the gist of it. I started shaking from the anxiety and that awful feeling in my gut. But OK, I did what I always do - started writing. I wrote them a letter. When trying to edit it for length, that I was not going to send it to the neighbors. But it felt very cathartic writing it out. I think if I post it for whomever to see it will make me feel even better.
Even if no one reads it - and it sure is long. ;)
I read that you guys already came up with a deposit and are moving shortly - but I just wanted to give you our side of the story.
For the record, we hear tons of loud noises from upstairs - and they don't even have kids. I can only imagine how loud that must be. I sympathize. Let me start with that. But again. I just wanted to share our side of the story - if you want to ignore it or whatever, fine, but it seems that you guys have put a lot of effort into talking to management and writing on apartment boards and such. I imagine you must think we simply don't care about your problems. That's the furthest from truth. I wanted to present our side to you if you care to hear it. If not, fine. It's long and rambling anyway.
I go into the kids' room every morning when they wake up. If this means we're up for the day at 4 am, then fine. We sit there, as quietly as possible, trying to learn the lesson that we don't get up until it's light out, or 8 am, or whatever. And I just tell them, over and over and over again to be quiet. And that we stay in our beds until it's time to get up. We've tried everything - shifting bedtimes, trying to do various morning routines - these kids have never slept past 4 or 5 am on pretty much any day of their lives. Trust me, it sucks. For the first two years of their life I averaged 2 hours a night broken into 20 minute segments and had migraines every freaking day from lack of sleep. At one point it was so bad I actually started hallucinating - that's how tired I was. If anyone in the world gets that lack of sleep = suckage, it's me, and I would do whatever was in my power to make sure no one else had to suffer that wa again. No one told us before we moved in that you guys were shift workers. I was actually figuring that it was cool that the kids were quiet early in the evening because surely people were going to be gone from the house during the day at work or whatever and at least in the evening they'd be quiet. Go figure.
I never recall my husband ever saying that "it's a pain to keep the kids quiet" - but he might have said something like it because by god, it is a pain. But he didn't mean that it was a pain to do it so screw it all - whether or not it's a pain, it's our job, we do it anyway. If he was rude to you, I'm sorry, but "control your kids" first thing in the morning after pounding on the door can be construed as pretty aggressive. I swear we're not sitting around just ignoring the kids while they run around. There's only SO MUCH we can do. Physically, humanly, possibly. Even if I am in their room in the morning, I can only stay in one kid's bed at a time to make sure they don't get up - the one across the room sometimes wants to get up to go to the bathroom or something, and then I can get up and carry them to try to be as quiet as possible since they don't know how NOT to stomp, but then the other one will jump out of bed and start following us to the bathroom - and there's your running feet. I mean that's just one scenario out of a million throughout the day.
We've taken steps to resolve the situation. We put down layers of area rugs, towels, even clothes on the floor to muffle the noise to below. We never wear shoes in the house. The kids' rooms we didn't even allow them to go into during the day for fear of waking anyone up - so all four of us tried to sit in the living room all day to minimize the noise. I don't believe in young watching TV and they were TV-free before moving here. Now they're watching, like, 10 hours of TV a day in an effort to get them to sit as still as possible - and even that isn't too successful (as you can attest). If I sit with one of them to, say, read them a nursery rhyme book, then the other can lose interest and flit away. Then while I try to corral that one, the first one gets restless and tries to get up and play with toys (as kids are wont to do).
The fact is, we try to get out of the house most of the daytimes to let them let off energy, but it's just not financially feasible to be out and about all day every day. Honestly, if you had kids, what would YOU do? We tell them, ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY, to be quiet, walk, don't run, please be quiet, for the love of God be quiet! All I do is nag them and get anxious when a toy gets dropped or my daughter has to "run" to the potty. Instead of praising her for remembering to go, I have to scold her for not using her "walking feet". We take them out every day when possible for hours to the park to get energy out - but what am I supposed to do, realistically? Get them bundled up at 6 am and head out until they're ready to go to sleep at night? Where would we even GO?
Don't get me wrong. We care. We care a lot. I have spent night after night literally crying and trying to figure out a way to break our lease because I was so anxious about the noise the kids have made. I am NOT one to be inconsiderate of neighbors, but having two kids - and yes ONE of them has special needs - is really a lot for me.
I know you don't care about sob stories, but for the first 2 years of his life, my son screamed. All day. Every day. He slept 4-5 hours in a 24 hour period, and it took 4 hours of me rocking him, with him screaming in my ear, every night, to put him to sleep. I lost partial hearing in that ear. He would sit and bang his head on the floor for hours, not making eye contact, not talking until he was almost 2 years old, just screaming. Bet we woulda made lovely neighbors then. If I held him in constant motion, he could sometimes relax. If I stopped, he would scream again and not stop. I had him tied to me with a baby wrap but even if I was holding him like that, I had to rock back and forth - if I tried to use the computer I had to stand and sway back and forth, because if I sat down in the chair he would scream. I was unable to work since he was born because I couldn't get anyone to watch him - they couldn't take it.
I couldn't put him down to brush my teeth. I had to sleep with him laying on my chest because he couldn't lay still in the crib. I couldn't watch a TV show - maybe with subtitles - or listen to a CD because he would scream. I didn't leave the house more than 4-5 times in the first YEAR of his life because he would scream the whole time, in the carseat, etc. I couldn't go to the grocery store without someone glaring at me for having "that" baby.
We took a plane ride (out of necessity, my father died) and the whole time, he screamed. The other passengers all glared and made nasty comments at us. We nearly got thrown out of the hotel room we were in - and again, it was not a pleasure trip. I spent hours sobbing after that - not even because of the funeral but because everyone had just basically hated us for having a child. We were "those" parents - and it's not like we could do anything about it. I lost friends left and right because no one wanted to be around a screaming baby. We weren't allowed to go to mommy and me classes or anything like that, playgroups - because we had "that" baby. People wondered (out loud!!) what was wrong with me as a mother.
I cried happy tears when he got into the state's special needs therapy after numerous, numerous trips to the doctor. Finally I was validated. I didn't suck as a mother - my son had special needs. He received 3X weekly therapy from the EI system until he "graduated" from the program when he learned to talk. They still considered sending him to a special preschool because of his hyperactiveness but he was a borderline case and there was a waiting list and then we moved out of state, so he didn't end up going and we chose to do home therapy for him instead. But again... we are working with him to the best of our ability. Even if he was a typical 4 year old... they're still noisy!
I tried to put him in the Y daycare downstairs or try to find another daycare - but no daycare will take him because he's "not a good fit" because he doesn't nap like the other kids. There is a daycare I try to take them to when I can, but the max on that is 3 days a week for four hours a day - and that's really cutting into our budget as it is. But I try to get them out when I can.
We are only living in an apartment temporarily. We moved from a house, and are moving back into a house as soon as we humanly, possibly, can. My husband needs treatment at the hospital up here and we had to live in an apartment in the interim. We're not thrilled to be up here, and we don't dig the fact that the upstairs neighbors used to play loud music well after midnight and have parties - when we're trying to sleep. (Which is, incidentally, from like 9 pm and onwards in order to get in enough sleep for when the early mornings come around.)
In our situation... please be honest. What would you do? What IS there to do? I get trying to be out of the house as much as possible, but we can't afford to go anywhere really and we are technically paying rent as well so we feel we have the right to be at home at least SOME of the time. What would YOU do if you were us? We're brand new to the city and it's kind of hard to make friends, even at playgroups and the like, when you have the hyper kid.
And while I am really, truly, TRULY sympathetic to your concerns, and believe me - I want nothing more than to be quiet and respectful to everyone, and I have not had one person in my life even come close to call me rude or inconsiderate prior to having kids - I ask you... what can I possibly do? Or, rather, what can your calls to management get us to do - besides get us in trouble? In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen? For us to get kicked out? Then what? Where could we live? Any other apartment would have likely the same issues with us, and if we'd already been kicked out once it'd be even harder to find somewhere to rent to us.
And that's that.
Edited by seawitch - 4/9/11 at 4:14am