I read a disturbing article in Sunday's New York Times. It described a terrible city where parents are increasingly forced to silence their children in their own homes, for fear of incurring the wrath of their neighbors. The article detailed the trails of parents and children forced to curb playtime, or suffer the installation of noise-monitoring equipment to measure the decibel level of the happy sound of children being children. Some families have even been forced to sell their apartments and find new homes, because the neighbors simply wouldn't tolerate the sound of running or playing!
Where is this Seventh Circle of Hell, you ask? It must be Beijing! Or perhaps, Moscow, circa 1952?
No, my friends. It is present day New York City. That's right. The hipsters in New York are so fed up with human procreation, they've decided to (almost) legislate against it.
You've guessed by now that I'm on a bit of a rant here. And you're right. But I feel a sense of entitlement, being a Mama and a former New Yorker. Ask anyone who knows me, and she'll tell you that I have a serious and deep love affair with this town.
But c'mon, New York, lighten up! We're human beings! We procreate! Deal with it already!
One family actually "had to post signs in the building saying [they] were going to let [their baby] cry it out for a weekend, so [their] neighbor wouldn't get mad at [them]."
I could say something here about the virtues of the suburbs, but that's not the point. The point is that children are not A/V equipment. Children are not inconsiderate neighbors who enjoy their music at increased volume afterhours. Children aren't hosting cocktail parties that entertain too many for too long.
One complainant moans: "I try to be sympathetic but it's very hard for me to relate to them because I don't have children." I sure hope this lovely woman isn't studying to be a physician because, never having had cancer, her bedside manner would leave a considerable amount to be desired.
I'm not advocating disrespect for one's neighbors, and I'm all for living in harmony. But the tone of this particular article leant quite overtly toward parents (and children!) being expected to placate the whims and sleeping habits of their childless neighbors. No one, not even in hushed tones, suggested that the irritated parties should start sleeping with earplugs. No one suggested these people participate in a Child Awareness and Tolerance Program. No one said, "Hey Sweetheart, lighten up! They're just kids for crying out loud!"
For all of the jackhammers and honking and loud-talking (screaming?) in restaurants that goes on in that town, you'd think most residents wouldn't even notice the pitter-pat of little children. But apparently, children and the noise they make, are becoming an increasing nuisance in the City that Already Doesn't Sleep.
Want my advice? Move to Connecticut. There's more parking anyway.