Last Saturday morning, at around 8:45, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a bedraggled 20-something on my doorstep. Without introduction or salutation of any kind, she proceeded to say, "I have not had a good night's sleep for over a week because of your kids. You have A LOT of kids, right? I just moved in and I really need sleep!"
To which I calmly replied: "My children were in bed until 8 AM this morning." I knew this for a fact because I went running and was surprised that no one was up and about when I returned at 8.
"Well, yeah, but it's the weekend? (She said this as if I was 3 years old and I desperately wanted to quote Grand Dame Maggie Smith and say, "What is a week-end?") So yeah, I really need to sleep in."
By this time, I was so put out by the manner in which she had patronized me that I said, nicely, "Well, good luck, good-bye," and shut the door.
I was so angry after that confrontation. I stewed about it for hours. Everyone told me to let it go. It really bothered me that she said she hadn't slept in a week. My kids are in bed from 9 at night until 7:30 in the morning, so when exactly is she trying to sleep? It bothered me that she insinuated that I was a crazy cat lady with kids instead of cats, as if I had 14 of them wandering about. The drama queen act was not going to work on me, sorry. Plus, the lovely couple (with two small children) who lived under us before her had never complained once.
So, imagine my dismay when there was pounding on my door at 8:15 this morning as we were trying to rush to leave for church. I answered the door to the same girl, and she was not happy. "I was awakened again this morning and I want you to know, I was wearing earplugs that block up to 30 decibels of sound," at which point she held up the earplugs for me to see, probably in case I didn't know what an earplug was since I spent my life making babies instead of going to school.
I said, "We are leaving in 15 minutes and then you can sleep until 12:30." But that wasn't the right answer. She continued, "I was in the hospital and I need sleep! You need to understand that you live over someone!" I then decided to calmly ask the question that had been plaguing me all week: "I'm curious, what time do you wake up in the morning when it's not the weekend?"
"7:30, because I go to work at 9. But your kids woke me up BEFORE 7:30 some days (probably like 7:15.) You just really need to know!"
I didn't know what else to say, so I just said, "OK" and shut the door as she stormed off.
Ben has said the following on the subject:
"If she stays up all night, that's not our problem."
"Tell her that firetrucks wake me up all night long and I'm mad about that, too! You live in New York, deal with it."
"She's the one who decided to move into an apartment under four children. Deal with it."
Part of me is annoyed and wonders why I should cater to someone who is clearly from the lovely rising generation of entitled kids who say, Me, ME, ME!!! She needs to learn that other people exist on the planet, right? If people are being quiet between the hours of 10 and 7, shouldn't they then have a right to walk around in their living room without fear of reproach?
But then another part of me, probably the Molly Mormon part, thinks I should do what I can to appease this girl, be a good neighbor. Do I need to buy foam and cover that with rugs? I know friends who have done that in New York, just to make the complaints stop. But we have A LOT of children, and money is tight. Covering our whole floor in rugs would be a bit pricy.
OR, I could handcuff my children in their beds until noon on the weekend and then drug them so they never dance or jump or run during the waking hours, because that's reasonable.* Is that what she wants me to do? Why does she keep coming up here?
Two things I am going to try to do are talk to my super and talk to the family who used to live beneath us. My super is the most lovely man you have ever met and he loves the twins. I just want to ask him if we are out of line making noise after 7 AM and what he would advise. The previous family moved to a 3 bedroom apartment in our same building and I just want to ask them to give me a brutally honest answer about the noise level. We have people over us ourselves, and I hear footsteps from time to time, but it's very quiet.
What do you think? I'm asking for gems of advice from your collective wisdom. Maybe the answer is that she needs therapy to work out her incredible anger issues toward small children. I just need to know if that's what
*I must apologize for all the snark. I've been reading Bossypants and Tina is in my head, bless her.