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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The miserable downside of my fabulous new neighborhood

I never considered the downside of our fabulous new neighborhood with lots of fabulous neighbors. It never occurred to me that all of those neighbors would be able to hear what a terrible mom I am or how miserable, loud, and obnoxious my children are. But now that we spend a lot of time outside and the lot sizes are small and tightly packed, they can easily hear my children screaming, crying, and throwing temper tantrums, which are frequent and long-lasting.

Then between screeches, you can hear me trying to stop them from crying and screaming. At first, my voice is even-tempered and soft-spoken as I try to redirect them to something less frustrating. But as my attempts backfire and the crying escalates and shouting persists, I get annoyed and my even-tempered voice escalates into an annoyed boom. I cannot figure out how we went from happily swinging in the hammock to hair-pulling, kicking, and sobs alternated with screeches in just two minutes flat.

As this all-too-common scenario unwinds, I immediately think of the neighbors that I've met a couple of times and who I wave at whenever I see them. I think of their one child who is only 16 months old. I think of how at 16 months, she can't cause much havoc. And then--as they hear all of us shouting and crying and screeching--they must cringe and wonder what kind of terrible mom and terrible children and terrible family moved in right next door to them, not 15 feet away from them, and their nice, quiet, single-child household.

Then, I imagine, as they have a moment to consider the situation, they must certainly think: there goes the neighborhood. Sure this crying and shouting happened at the old house, but our lot was bigger, the house was bigger, and the neighbors were camped out in their own expansive house, far away from our loud sounds. Well, hopefully these new neighbors will be fabulous enough to overlook these flaws.

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