Some of you will remember my previous post about our upstairs neighbors, in which I try very hard to see the situation from another perspective. I had many complimentary comments about how good I was to be able to step into another person's shoes and try to see things as they do, how sweet it was of me, how kind. Well guess what. That's all over. Because as much as I want to be good and sweet and kind, when you are constantly woken up at 5:30 in the morning by screaming and stomping, and when you are constantly having to pause your favorite TV shows at night to wait until yet another tantrum is over, all that good and sweet and kind stuff flies right out the window.
A couple weeks ago, we had an interesting development. We were awakened, as usual, by screaming and stomping, but this time, it was worse than usual. Our whole apartment was literally shaking. Our dog, Hugo, was cowering beside us in bed, and we wouldn't have let him down anyway for fear of something falling off the walls from the earthquake-like shaking! We heard the dishes in our cupboards rattling and the pictures on the walls slid to the side.* There was no going back to sleep. We lay there listening, shocked and scared. Suddenly, though, we heard a man's voice, and the screaming and stomping subsided a bit. He was saying they had received 15 or 20 complaints that morning about the noise from both the daughter and the dog (oh yes, they have a dog too, and it likes to bark, a lot). The man was asking how old the children were and if they were in school, etc. etc. We could not hear the mother's voice, as she must have been speaking softly. Ryan and I assumed it was the apartment superintendent, but in peering out the window as the man left (yes, we are a little bit nosy. OK, a lot nosy), it turned out to be 3 policemen! Someone in the complex had called the police on them!
Nowadays, I can see how calling the police when you hear a child screaming like that is a good thing, as you never know what is going on. However, in talking with this mother through the years (and being privy to all their conversations), I knew there was no abuse going on.
Just a good, old-fashioned, American devil-child!**
*I will freely admit that I have sometimes exaggerated for the benefit of a story. This, however, is no exaggeration.
**There is still a part of me that feels badly for the child, because I truly believe that she is in dire need of some counselling (or perhaps a new counsellor?). But com'on, think of the neighbors and keep the noise to a minimum!