Are your kids noisy?
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And, if so, does it bug your neighbors? Do your neighbors go so far as to complain to you about it? And, if they do, do you care? I live in New York City, in Brooklyn, in an apartment. I am surrounded, in my condo complex, by people to the right of me, on top of me and below me. I also have a fifteen month old. To say that he is rambunctious would be putting it mildly. No one has complained that my son is loud. After all, there are also a set of two-year-old twins across the hall. Many parents, however, aren't so lucky. In an article in the Real Estate section of the New York Times, the author uncovers just how a lot of neighbors feel about their neighbors' kids and how those parents feel about the neighbors. Most try to get along and make it work. Most are sympathetic--we've all had a new baby cry throughout the night and we've all greeted the following day with colic.
Some parents, however, feel like they are caught between a very rough rock and a very hard place: to be the perfect parent while being the perfect neighbor. In Brooklyn, perhaps, it is accepted that maybe you cannot be both. In places like Park Slope, which we mock all the time for being full of the mommy mafia, where we joke they won't let you in without kids, at least you know you can go to a restaurant and they'll treat you like a human being when you bring your kids with you. Your neighbors generally have kids too or at least understand what you're going through and they refrain from giving you a hard time. After all, your kids will grow up--eventually.
Elsewhere it's not so easy to be a parent and a neighbor. And, I would say the trouble isn't limited to apartment dwellers, either. Anyone with a backyard that sits next to someone else's backyard might complain your kids are making too much noise in the pool, or are coming over into their property, etc. You might respond the guests at their non-stop parties get too drunk and throw lawn darts too close to your kids' heads!!!