This rather angry post was written at about 6am. The anger had dissipated somewhat by the time I arrived at work (as it is one of those glorious early autumn days with clear, cornflower-blue skies and sunshine and cool breezes, yadda yadda yadda) and I realised when I re-read it that it contained a string of swear words I wasn’t even aware I’d written. I don’t write a sweary blog, but occasionally I wish I did, as when you remove all the bad language from a rant it isn’t half as dramatic. So, as Joey from Friends once did, I have tactfully replaced all the swear words with the word “puppy”. Use your imagination as you read, or simply think of cute little puppies if you’re the easily offended type. Win-win.
I knew I shouldn’t have grumbled about the whole Josh Groban thing, which was in retrospect an almost relaxing way to be woken up only an hour before I usually would, given the choice. These things always come back to bite you in the ass.
I really puppy hope that my neighbour was simply babysitting or hosting guests last night, because if she has actually arrived home with a puppy newborn baby I may have to shoot myself in the head and be done with it. Babies in apartment buildings cannot be legal, surely? I must look into this. It would be completely illogical to allow babies but not dogs or cats. People file official complaints about dogs barking, and let’s face it, a baby screaming all night is a whole lot worse.
The crying started around 3am. That really horrific newborn shrieking that goes WAAAAAAAAAAH uh-uh-uh WAAAAAAAAAH like a puppy car alarm, air raid siren, or similar. I woke up in a state of mild panic, which was not reduced in the slightest when I realised what the sound actually was, and what it could potentially mean for my immediate future. The puppy creature screamed and screamed and screamed all puppy night until I was screaming along with it, my head buried under the pillow in tortured madness.
Obviously I do understand that the screaming is probably no fun for the parents, either, but – and this is the bit that gets me really puppy seething mad – THEY CHOSE IT AND I DID NOT. And yet here we are suffering alongside each other. Personally, I believe that I have made a sensible, rational, informed decision never to have children. I never feel that I have made a mistake – never. My reasons are numerous, but one of the main ones is the sleep factor… I could not do it. I just couldn’t. I feel like I’m losing my grasp on reality after just a few hours of my sleep being interrupted by a shrieking infant – after a few weeks, I’d need to be committed to a secure facility (as you will see if this baby turns out to be a permanent resident of the building). So anyway, I have decided against motherhood for that reason – amongst many others – and I am happy with my choice. I can come and go as I please, I can travel on a whim, I can have peace and quiet any time I want it, and – most importantly! – I can sleep all night without interruption. These are the benefits of my choice.
And honestly, I feel validated on an almost daily basis as I look at the likes of Facebook, where parents of babies and young children seem to post endless streams of complaints about not having slept in years, or feeling like they’re going to collapse from exhaustion. They yearn for one single night out with friends. They plan that night out for months in advance, and then the next day they can’t lie in bed nursing their hangovers because they have to get up at 6am to play peek-a-boo. In the past few weeks I have marvelled at the great rejoicing over the fact that the children have all gone back to school, and the celebratory status updates about freedom and silence and coffee breaks and time to read only make me want to post one of my own, saying “Hey, you know that this is what it’s like all the time when you don’t have children?!”
Unless, of course, your puppy neighbour brings one home and fills your apartment with the beautiful sound of screeching. Never mind the fact that I have chosen a life of peace and quiet/childlessness. She has chosen the screaming, and that means that my choice is no longer applicable or considered. It just really puppy irks me that people are allowed to bring babies home without first going through some kind of… I dunno, programme. I have been giving this a lot of thought since 3am, and I truly feel that there should be a system for dealing with new babies – like a sort of compound where the family lives until they’ve got the creature under control and are confident that it won’t puppy ruin the lives of puppy innocent people around it. You wouldn’t be allowed to keep a wild, howling wolf in your apartment, after all. But a nice, well-trained, tame dog that stops barking when you tell it to? No problem.
It was at this point that I stopped writing and went to get ready for work, with the apartment still vibrating pleasantly with the sound of screaming. When I emerged from the shower I thought I’d gone deaf, for everything was silent, but it turned out that the baby had sensed that I was done trying to sleep and so had ceased its pointless, melodramatic shrieking. Not only that, but the room next door was completely quiet, rather as if they had now gone back to bed to catch up on all that missed sleep, while the quiet and childless woman next door – who had missed the same amount of sleep – had to in fact leave the apartment and do a full day’s work. IT IS NOT FAIR. It is wrong. There is no justice in it whatsoever. They bring it on themselves, I have it forced upon me, and they’re the ones who get to go back to bed and sleep. Puppy puppies.
Still, it would have been wrong of me to switch the TV on before leaving, wouldn’t it? Like, fairly loudly, until I heard the baby wake up and start to cry, and then the woman get up and resume her tired cooing and pacing?
So obviously I didn’t do that…