I've lived in several different apartment complexes over my lifetime. I've lived on the top floor, the garden level, and in between. But one thing I've learned is this: the top floor trumps them all. Sure, you have to walk up three flights of stairs (good exercise!) and it's a pain to move in and carry your groceries, but it's worth it for the noise factor. You don't have to worry about people walking around, dropping things, stomping, etc.
That is one of the main reasons that I chose the top floor when I moved into my apartment building last fall. That and it has vaulted ceilings and a fireplace, which the other levels don't.
But last night, I had a knock on my door that made me immediately want to move to a house.
My downstairs neighbor is nice enough. She's always been pleasant, smiled at me, made conversation. But last night, she told me that my daughter is being too loud. She said that whatever she's doing, it is really loud in her apartment below and would I please tell my daughter to stop whatever it is she's doing because she has to get up early and she can't sleep, blah, blah, blah.
Ok. Since I have lived in a downstairs apartment before and listened to the crashing and bashing, I know exactly what she's talking about. But...I also know that ordinary walking can create such noises. Creaking floors that sound quiet in my apartment may sound too loud in her apartment. When my daughter runs into my room to tell me something, that may sound loud below, too.
So I find myself torn. Having been there, I know how irritating it can be. But here's the thing - that's apartment living. Unless there is extremely loud partying going on, jumping up and down for hours at a time, or screaming and yelling, you deal with it. The quiet hours at my apartment are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and I make sure that my daughter isn't doing anything during those hours (she's usually asleep!). I try to accomodate as much as possible.
Here's the behavior that my daughter was doing that so offended my neighbor (and this was before 10 p.m.)- she was pretending to be a dog. Consequently, she was walking around on her hands and feet. She'd made herself a tail and ears and we found a mask on the internet that we printed out for her. She was having a blast and to me, it wasn't loud at all. She wasn't stomping or pounding or barking or anything.
Now I understand that even walking in my apartment sounds noisy to the apartment downstairs, so I'm sure that my daughter's galloping didn't help, even if it didn't sound loud to me. But what irritated me was that my daughter heard my neighbor say all this. My daughter took off her mask, her tail, and her ears and put them in her closet and said, "Well, I guess I can't play that anymore." That broke my heart.
This is an extremely fine line. I can't expect my daughter not to be a kid. I have to respect my neighbors below, but they have to respect that I have a child, too, that isn't just going to sit still all day. Neither do I want her to sit still all day! At night, if she wants to pretend to be a dog, by heavens, she should be able to - within reason. And it wasn't that she had been sequestered all day and hadn't been able to get outside and play - she was outdoors all day yesterday at her dad's.
My downstairs neighbor smokes on her deck. Sometimes, when she's smoking and I'm home and my patio door is open, the smoke comes into my apartment. So what do I do? I shut the door. I deal with it. I don't go downstairs and tell her to stop smoking. And second-hand smoke is much more hazardous than dealing with the noise coming from an upstairs neighbor.
It's apartment living. It's give and take. I try to accomodate and keep my child relatively quiet. I keep her quiet during the hours specified. When she gets too loud (which is rare), I calm her down.
What do you think? Am I over-reacting to this?
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