Dear new neighbors

When I’m upset, I blog.

Dear new neighbors,

For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve felt extremely lucky to live in this neighborhood. Thank you for welcoming us.

Thank you for looking out for our children—and most especially for CALLING THE FREAKING POLICE FOR “NEGLECTING” OUR CHILDREN. That one right there—that‘s what it means to be a good neighbor, right?

I’m guessing you heard me shouting to my 3-year-old that I was leaving her. I’m guessing that you somehow missed the massive fit she was throwing. You couldn’t have known that her cruel, cruel mother was forcing her to leave the house through the garage with everyone else, instead of through the front door.

I’m also guessing that you do not have, probably have never had, and, in fact, never were a 3-year-old. If you had, surely you would remember and understand how difficult this age is. This particular 3-year-old typically responds best to idle threats. I tell her I’m leaving her somewhere on a weekly basis. As you can see by her continued presence in our home, either she’s got a very good internal GPS or, hm, I’ve never left her anywhere. (Here’s a hint, since I can’t trust you to jump to the correct conclusion: I’ve never left her anywhere.) Telling her I’m leaving her (often accompanied by hopes that she’ll find a nice family to take her in) is the only way to get her to come when I need to go—such as when we’re five minutes late.

I’m also guessing that you were not actually watching my home. Because if you were actually watching my home, you would have seen the 7-year-old, 4 (not yet 5)-year-old and said 3-year-old all in my front yard. You would have seen me applying sunscreen to all of them. You would have seen me load all of them into the van before, yes, I did leave. To take those “neglected” children to their swim lessons.

You would have also noticed that the house was very quiet while my van was gone. Not a phenomenon observed very often with three unsupervised children, is it?

You would have also noticed me arriving back home with all of my children in tow—getting in and out of a car is always a production with that many children.

Not sure how you missed so much, but hey, WTG on calling the police anyway! Why wait for the facts? Idle welfare checks to ascertain reality are the cops’ FAVORITE THING TO DO.

Since we’re missing so many of the facts, let me give you a little fodder for your next chat with the cops:

  • Just this morning, I made my children CLEAN. Couldn’t you hear the protestations from your home?
  • Then there was that awful episode where I stopped my children from fighting. I’ve considered instituting a “death match” policy in the future, but the cleanup would probably be too much effort.
  • Oh, did you hear that I had to go to the bathroom today? By myself?? The kids don’t like that either.
  • The baby fell asleep and (gasp) I put her in a swing instead of cradling her for every second of my day.
  • I’ve made my children wear sunscreen, rinse off after swimming, take turns getting in the car (surely you heard that screaming match), and even practice reading and math. Next time you should just call Child Protective Services directly.

It’s a good thing you filed this report anonymously. I’m actually happy to not know who you are because I might very well be on your doorstep telling this story. Also, filing a false police report is, y’know, illegal. So at least you made sure to get that one really important fact right: you’re anonymous.

The thing that makes me the angriest, though, is not dealing with the fourth fit in as many hours from my three-year-old. It’s knowing that someone out there—whom I will now be forced to live by indefinitely—truly believes that I would and did neglect my children, and nothing I can or will ever do will change that first impression.

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7 responses to “Dear new neighbors”

  1. Brooke says:

    I sure am glad that I don’t have someone in my neighnorhood calling about me seeing as I probably do things daily they would deem unsuitable. Especially yesterday when I had three girls in my front yard playing with the hose and before I wrapped them up in towels I stripped um nudey right in the front yard.

    The best way to deal with them would be to bring everyone on your street cookies make them know they cant ding your armor. Poker face :)

  2. Jordan says:

    Ah!! Indecent exposure!!

    Mom suggested cookies too. I’m not sure the cookies would make it out of my house ;)

  3. Elisa says:

    W.O.W. I’m with the cookies– but put them on a real plate (not paper) and then when they come to return the plate you can invite them to view the “crime scene” for themselves to actually CHANGE that wrong first impression. Good luck! (I imagine moving on from this emotionally is going to have you on your knees a lot. Remember– you are worth it. Even if they don’t deserve your forgiveness, YOU deserve it!)

  4. Lindsey says:

    You moved?!? Fun…ish;)
    I think you should read this- http://www.theonion.com/articles/majority-of-parents-abuse-children-children-report,2183/

  5. Erin says:

    I’m floored. I can’t even imagine. Every parent makes idle threats (I YELL mine.) I’ve made one little boy pick his own switch! I was a little worried the screams would incite 911 calls. I’d say let it go, too. You may never know who did it and you don’t have to prove you’re a fantastic mom. The people who know you and your kiddos already know that. Anyone else is just a bonus!

  6. Jordan says:

    Thanks, guys!

    Elisa—I’m feeling a lot better now that I’ve complained to so many friends (and they’ve told me how wonderful I am, LOL). I also have a PLAN. That helps.

    Lindsey—Yep, not far, but to a bigger house. Love the punchline from the Onion!

    Erin—Thank you :D . I can’t imagine a mother who never threatened to leave a tantruming tot somewhere!

  7. Dad says:

    …and the Onion article was perfect.

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