Babies cry. It’s a fact. You show me a baby that doesn’t cry and I’ll show you a real life unicorn.
But according to the neighbours of Jessica and Karl Ronnevik, who live in Greensboro in the US state of North Carolina, babies shouldn’t cry, apparently.
Jessica and Karl have a one-year-old son called Peter. Peter doesn’t cry obsessively. He doesn’t cry because there’s a serious problem. But sometimes, being a baby and all, he well, just cries.
Jessica and Karl with the handwritten note. Source: Fox8
Jessica and Karl are ok with it – but their neighbour is not. This week, the couple found a handwritten note outside their door. It accused Peter of crying “loudly” and for too long, and contained a threat that the young couple would be fines by the owners’ association.
The note read:
“Please consider buying a parenting book or consult with a child care expert. Your baby should not be crying that loudly and for that long. Try more calming techniques, music, turn on a vacuum, rocking chair, go for a walk . . . anything! Also, you might consider switching bedrooms. I have lived in The Mill for 15 years and never had neighbors as loud or disruptive. If you don’t makes changes immediately, you risk being fined by the association.”
Jessica and Karl with one-year-old Peter. Source Fox8.
Understandably, Jessica and Karl were both shocked and upset, with the young mum – who is also pregnant (to add to the stress of it all) – saying she no longer feels relaxed in her own home.
“I don’t feel comfortable living here, knowing that our neighbor is so intolerant,” the beleaguered mum told Fox8. “It makes me feel like we have been bullied in our own home.
“And I don’t like to have to be the mother who is constantly shushing my baby from his happy toddler noises.”
Sticking to his (miserable) guns
Fox 8 contacted the neighbour, a man, whose name was printed on the note. He responded to the news site in as bitter a tone as he had in his first draft.
“It is unfortunate when parents are unable to calm their children,” he told Fox 8. “The impact of a baby who continually cries or a toddler who continually screams can be stressful not just for the parents, but also for the community near them. This is true in restaurants, in churches, and even in neighboring homes with adjacent bedrooms.
“After being awakened each morning and each night for the last several months (despite wearing earplugs), I was simply reminding the young couple of this and encouraging them to take the matter more seriously.
Now the Ronneviks are planning to move house because the stress has become too much. It’s a sad state of affairs for the parents and for Peter.
You’re not alone, Jessica….
I remember very clearly being seated across the aisle from a middle-aged woman on a plane when my son was three months old. He was screaming loudly because his ears were hurting on the bumpy descent in to London. We’d been travelling for 24 hours from Sydney and my little guy was tired and exasperated.
I soothed my son as best I could and turned to offer an apologetic smile at the woman seated next to me. She didn’t say a word, but she looked at me, sneered with what I can only describe as pure ugliness, and firmly put her fingers in her ears. It was an incredibly childish and hurtful response from one woman to another.
It was enough for a first time, sleep-deprived mum, as I was back then, to curl up in my chair and cry along with my baby.
I wondered if she had kids and if she remembered how hard it is to parent a young baby. Or how mortifying it can be when you can’t calm a crying child.
Some people are unkind, and some simply don’t get it, but just remember, Jessica, that unsympathetic neighbour who is making your life hell will never sample the utter joy Peter brings to your life.
Embrace every kind gesture, and shrug off the bitter ones.