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  • Writer's pictureAndie Kantor

Dear Neighbor

Dear Neighbor,

Happy Fourth of July! I hope you're having a terrific afternoon.

I know that there are some strange sounds coming from my home today. You can probably hear me yelling. At times it sounds like a piglet squealing. You hear a child screaming like he's being tortured. I can imagine the raised eyebrows, the pause in polite conversation as tea cups hang in midair while more arguments ensue here in my home.

As you may know, I have a two year old. As you may not realize, it's way past nap time. He's clearly overtired and does not want to to have anything to do with falling asleep, much less the Superman t-shirt I put on him hours ago, or his stuffed ferret, whose name is Feddet because he can't pronounce his "r's" yet. He's being a complete pain in the rear in addition to not wanting to nap.

We have conversations that go like this:

Me: Babylove, please go lay down in your bed.

Dude: *throws a toy* NOOO.


Me: Sweetheart, would you like some milk?

Dude: *Screams like he's being beaten with wire*

When I was changing his diaper and he yanked on the window blinds, I wasn't so calm. "Stop," I yelled harshly. He cried in response, but he stopped.

He is tired. I get it; so am I. I'm here alone with him and I don't know what to do when he Won't Lay Down. And he's too tired, too crabby to rationalize with. As the adult, I can observe that and not get caught up in "getting him back" with a punishment for throwing the toy or screaming. I don't believe in punishing him when he's acting out because he hasn't had enough sleep. At least, not at this age.

Parenting is hard. I love that boy more than I have words for. I want to present clear boundaries to him because both our lives go better when, for example, he has a nap. He is absolutely incapable of being rational right now and will fight me little nose to nose if I even look at him wrong. It's tough, when he's tired like this.

At this point, I have put a movie on--The Gruffalo's Child, or "Be-be Duffafo," as he calls it-- in hopes he'll relax enough to fall asleep. He is entranced even though he watches this film at least ever other day, and just excitedly called me in to see the Owl. I'm hoping he'll go to sleep so that we then can get to our barbecue.

So, you see, Dear Neighbor, there is nothing to fear. Your neighborhood isn't going to the dumps, no one is being murdered, there is nothing suspicious going on -- except for the Snake who wants to eat the Mouse, who will outsmart him with tales of a scary Grufflo. We may or may not make our Fourth of July plans today, as we have to be back before dark so that Casey and Bella aren't alone with the fireworks begin.

And then it'll be bedtime, and we will start all over again.



PS: The Gruffalo's Child did not work, so when it was over I put on The Grufflo, and now he's out like a light.

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