Friday, August 22, 2008

Dear Neighbors,

We've been living with you on either side of us for seven years now. I wanted to write and say Thank You. Thank you for never calling The Police.

For seven years, we've had the same barking dog. Five years ago, we added a crying child, and two-and-a-half years ago, we added another.

You're nice people. Smart, socially conscious people. The kind of people who would call the cops if they suspected a child was being abused. I will admit that I've asked myself if tortured children sound much different from our overtired ornery ones when they're screaming and wailing. You seem to have faith in us, and I appreciate your trust. Even when one of our children is screeching at you to CALL THE POLICE through the open window.

Sorry for the open windows and close proximity, by the way. Even pride doesn't overrule our need for ventilation. You get to hear it all. Well, maybe you can't hear my frustrated hissing through gritted teeth. My wordless wielding of child with flailing limbs followed by passing of said child to spouse. With That Look: SHE'S YOURS.

But let's be frank here: you've also heard us yell. You've heard us Lose It. Thank you for understanding, for exchanging glances in the safety of your own home that signify: Here they go again; cheers!

Thank you for discreetly checking on our children's welfare the next morning by lingering in the driveway and making smalltalk.

I will also admit that sometimes I am tempted to call the police myself. On my own children. Because this must be some form of Domestic Abuse--this regular subjection to tantrums. It feels like mental abuse. We feel our self esteems eroding, with each irrational outburst chipping away at our collective parenting confidence. Surely no one else has a five-year old who still melts down, embarrassingly so? Surely there's a cure for these epic emotional paroxysms? Something we're not doing, something that will save us from greeting you with the vague shame of acknowledging an audibly exhausting episode from the prior evening?

Thank you for helping us continue the charade of Normalcy: Good morning, neighbors! Say good morning to the neighbors, darlings!

That yelling last night? Oh, wow, what a scary video we watched!

Say, would you like two children? You can have them. We promise not to call the cops when we hear them wail.

Wink, wink.


The Nelsons


JJ&K said...


me said...

Amen, sister!! Glad to know we're not the only ones! Hugs!

Debbie said...

This had me rolling. My gosh, I do know what you mean! I yell at my dogs all the time and think my neighbors for sure think I am loony tunes. This CA livin' is definitely different from the 4 acres of land we had in TX!