I completely lost my temper today. Not with my kids, though, amazingly enough. It was with my neighbor.
Anyone who has read Mommy Brain for long knows of our long and tortured history with our neighbors, culminating in this rant last fall. Then, on my New Year’s post, I mentioned I was grateful we had reached some sort of tentative peace with them. Well, the peace is over.
Today, the boys were playing outside after we finished homeschooling for the day. They were playing in our back yard, and they were playing pretty rough, as boys usually do. Not mean, just wrestling around a lot. The neighbor’s four-year-old asked if he could play, to which Noah replied, “No, you can’t, because you have candy in your mouth and if you got pushed down you might choke.”
Now, obviously his mother only heard one phrase of that sentence, because she yelled over the fence into our yard, “You will NOT push him down, or I’ll come over there and push YOU down!” Yes, she’s mature like that.
When Noah tried to explain what he meant, she ignored him and yelled to her son right in front of my kids, “Just come in the house. They’re just mean little kids who don’t have any friends, so you don’t need to play with them anyway.”
Deep breath – I can feel my blood pressure shooting up again just typing those words. I’m sure the “no friends” thing came from the fact that we’re homeschoolers and are completely isolated from society with no social skills, unlike her social skills which seem to include bullying children.
The kids came in, feelings hurt (of course). She had gone into her house, so I called her on the phone. Her 12-year-old daughter (who is a whole other story, let me tell you) answered the phone, and when I asked to speak to her mother, she said, “Umm, she’s in the bathroom.” I asked her to please have her mom call me back. And I waited. And stewed.
About a half hour went by, during which time the mother had gone back out to her front yard. Now, I suppose I could have gone outside to talk to her, but many of the other neighbors were out since it was a fairly nice day, and she’s the type who is perfectly willing to have a screaming match in front of the entire street. (Or to stagger over to our yard, drunk, and yell at my husband for something he didn’t do. But, again, whole other story.) I’m not so thrilled with public (or private, to be honest) confrontation, so I chose to call again.
She would not answer the phone, so I left this message on her machine: “This is Carrie. First of all, I think there was a misunderstanding. No one was pushing Adam down. Noah told him that he couldn’t wrestle around with them because he had candy in his mouth and might choke. Second of all, if you have a problem with my kids, please have the courtesy to come and talk to me about it. Don’t yell in front of them that they are mean kids who don’t have any friends. And if that’s really the way you feel about them, then please stop your son from ringing our doorbell five times every weekday and asking to play when I’m in the middle of teaching my children.” Then I hung up.
I know why southerners call losing your temper “losing your religion.” I’m sure I’ve given her plenty of fodder for one of those, “And she says she’s a Christian…” statements. But, honestly, how do you put up with a person like this – especially when she repeatedly hurts my kids’ feelings?
I cannot wait until we can sell this house and move to another neighborhood. She has made this neighborhood a horrible place to live.