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to be losing sympathy with our neighbour?

(50 Posts)
Noisytoddler Wed 26-Jun-13 08:54:17

We live in a non-carpeted (it's central Paris and totally normal) family sized flat.

When we first moved in, it appeared that our downstairs neighbour was hard of hearing. 2 months after we moved in she was surprised to learn that there was a baby in the building (despite DS going through the 4 month sleep regression and crying all night).

We breathed a sigh of relief that we hadn't been disturbing her (she's in her 80s).

However, since DS has learnt to run she's been complaining about the noise he makes. She phoned a couple of times in one month. We were mortified and bought her a bunch of flowers to apologise. She said she understood that little ones are active but that it's really getting on her nerves and she can't concentrate for her work. We said we would be more careful in future, and we have been.

But ever since we apologised that first time she's been ringing practically daily to complain about the noise. She will "let" him run the length of our flat twice (he goes to fetch things from his bedroom) then will immediately complain.

Thing is, I'm starting to lose sympathy because :
1) DS makes no noise between 9pm and 8am (contrary to our upstairs neighbours, one of whom is insomniac and paces the floor in the early hours of the morning, but that's a different thread)

2) DS is out at playgroup/the park practically everyday from 9.30am til 5.30pm. We even take him out in the pouring rain so he can run off his energy

3) She barely waits to complain - as soon as DS has run to his bedroom twice she'll ring to complain. Even if we've been out of the flat all day

4) We never have friends over/parties in the evening and don't play music

I do feel bad at disturbing her (and if you feel IABU please give me tips to stop a 21 month old running!) and we do tell him to slow down, to walk or to tiptoe but he doesn't remember. I honestly don't know what else we can do. We've even stopped inviting little friends over to play cos we can't stop them running.

Thing is, she has said she'll complain to the building management but she actually doesn't have a leg to stand on because it's not illegal to make "daily life" noises between 8am and 9pm. The police are pretty good here at breaking up loud parties in the early hours of the morning but I highly doubt they'd come out to tell a toddler to stop running...

Anyway AIBU to be losing sympathy with her? I'm not going to start letting DS run when he likes but neither am I going to be tying him up to stop him moving around our own flat.

Noisytoddler Wed 26-Jun-13 09:30:37

DS is always barefoot.

When I say run, it's not racing, just trotting along to his room and back. We don't let him run round and round in circles for a game (at least not inside).

I might talk to DH about getting a thick rug for the corridor/hall bit as that seems to be the worst for the neighbour.

Not sure where she got our phone number from to be honest. We didn't give it to her and it's just our landline which we hardly use.

I'm now having second thoughts about his birthday party, although I might just follow what others do and put up a notice saying sorry about the noise in advance.

She never seems to leave the flat either which probably makes it all worse.

I do want to make the problem go away. But I also don't think a toddler running to his room is a problem. Prolonged noise yes, a 20 second run to a room, no.

Dackyduddles Wed 26-Jun-13 09:32:32

I'd only stop a toddler running a few steps indoors if she had picked up something dangerous eg scissors. A few steps running is hardly worth grinding them down for.

Or should I ensure enjoyment and laughing are also kept out of the house too?


landofsoapandglory Wed 26-Jun-13 09:33:42

I would absolutely hate to live in a flat underneath one where a toddler is allowed to run around. They sound like a baby elephant has moved in upstairs, so I feel sorry for your neighbour.

I'm with Neo, I've got 2 DC and they have never, ever been allowed to run around indoors. I've, also, been a nursery supervisor and spent months teaching DC not to run around inside to prevent accidents because parents let their DC run around in the house. Running is for outside!

kotinka Wed 26-Jun-13 09:36:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lowercase Wed 26-Jun-13 09:38:56

You don't think it's a problem OP, but it clearly is for your neighbour.
If you want the problem to go away, you will have to talk to the DC about running in the house.
It's not really behaviour i would want to encourage or condone.
I ask my DC to use indoor voices too - as we live in a flat and not a detached home. I want my children to be considerate, respectful and welcome anywhere.

PickledInAPearTree Wed 26-Jun-13 09:38:59

Agree noisy toddler. Unless you train him up with some whistles in the style of captain von trapp?

He's out all day, in bed all night and just does the odd spot of scampering here and there. Really?

I lived next to a family that let their kids run wild with noisy toys up & down stairs all hours of day and night. That was annoying. This is totally different.

BridgetBidet Wed 26-Jun-13 09:39:59

I was in exactly this situation from the other side. I lived below a non-carpeted flat with a toddler in it. It sounds like someone banging really hard and fast on the floor every few minutes. It really is difficult to live with. It's on a par with having a team of extremely noisy builders in all day every day. It's not just the running, the gap between the floorboards and the ceiling massively amplifies the noise as does the vibration of the floorboards.

In my case this was solved by my family and the neighbours going halves on some underlay and a thick carpet which massively reduced the noise. It dampened everything down hugely.

You need to carpet, there's no two ways about it. Then you won't have to worry every time he runs or jumps. But really, you do need to carpet.

Could you approach your neighbour and suggest this as a solution? How about suggesting she pays for the underlay to reduce the noise and you pay for the carpet?

PickledInAPearTree Wed 26-Jun-13 09:46:19

I'd be tempted to test the noise by going in and listening to it. A toddler going wild must be quite noisy but doing a scamper to a bedroom and back? I can't really hear mine doing that upstairs.

Consideration is keeping him out in the days, stopping him going totally wild running around, no banging etc. OP sounds like she is doing quite a lot already.

Would a Parisian have neen as apologetic do you think, or would they have shrugged off her initial complaint? I live abroad too and know Germans are certainly not as apologetic as Brits, you can leave yourself looking as if you think you're terribly in the wrong, which invites the other party to expect you to change your behaviour to suit them, in a way they wouldn't have if you'd been less apologetic initially ....

fedupofnamechanging Wed 26-Jun-13 09:57:24

I would buy some rugs, but that is the only concession I would make. I would be making formal complaints about her phone calls - that's harassment. I think if she wants to not here any noise she needs to buy a house in the middle of a field and not live in a flat.

I would tell her to fuck off next time she called. In being so nice and considerate, she is now taking the piss.

fedupofnamechanging Wed 26-Jun-13 09:58:36

here should say hear.

WildlingPrincess Wed 26-Jun-13 09:59:59

Is she lonely?

beginnings Wed 26-Jun-13 10:10:47

She should try staying in my parents place in Nice for a couple of nights. The people upstairs have a baby, but that's not the noise that keeps us up at night grin

(v. funny when MIL came with us on holiday and poor DH spent the following day thinking she was thinking it'd been us!)

Oh and YANBU. It's one of the reasons that, if I live in a flat again, it'll only ever be top floor. Unless your toddler is wear stillettos or football boots (which clearly a barefoot babe is not), then she is DBU

beginnings Wed 26-Jun-13 10:12:04



fluffyraggies Wed 26-Jun-13 10:12:15

Daily phone calls would drive me nuts! It's OTT in this situation. No one is saying it's ok to thunder about in a flat for hours - but this isn't what the little boy is doing. What does she say if you do pick up??? Does she chat to you, or is it just a snappy ''i can hear him again!''?

The situation as it stands is untenable. Who ever is at fault, she shouldn't be calling you every day.

You are already restricting your DSs running. Buy some cheap rugs for the larger hard floor areas when your DS does run. As this could be an easy way to put an instant end to the problem. See if that helps. If your DH is that set against rugs tell him to find a way to sort the problem with the old girl out himself!

If the rugs don't help, then i am afraid you will have to accept that you've either got to put up with the phone going every day (ignore), or you need to complain about her.

fluffyraggies Wed 26-Jun-13 10:13:38

Or change your phone no.? ....

Owllady Wed 26-Jun-13 10:18:54

I would get some rugs put down
I lived ina house with a lounge above a basement kitchen and if the children were upstairs the noise from the floor suspension was really quite loud and horrible
I am not agreeing she should keep pestering you though, but maybe compromise in order to get through it all

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 26-Jun-13 11:10:08

I enforce no running because my niece was burned when she ran into my mil who was leaving the kitchen with a full cup of coffee it went all over myniece who smacked right into her

EasterHoliday Wed 26-Jun-13 11:14:28

you live in central paris with a toddler. living in the centre of town with a small child is going to involve compromise, so either put some rugs and underlay down and have some consideration for your neighbours or move to the bois and run around all you like.
she needs to compromise by accepting that she lives in central paris and it's noisy too.
apartment living is all about compromise.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 26-Jun-13 11:16:28

As for those who wondered what work an 80 year old could be doing....she could be a writer! She could be painting...anything! Plenty of 80 year olds work.

gotthemoononastick Wed 26-Jun-13 11:54:43

Thank you God that Hiddenhome (so harsh about elderly patients) will never be my nurse!!!

Pigsmummy Wed 26-Jun-13 11:56:42

I agree that a nice carpet runner with a decent rubbery underlay, it won't be expensive and get your son to wear slippers/soft soled shoes inside.

I lived in flats in London and the sound of a running child on wooden floors was more annoying than baby cries or loud music/tv (or the Latin couple upstairs having sex Every morning).

Noisytoddler Wed 26-Jun-13 12:05:30

DH has agreed on a rug if it looks nice.

I have to say, I think it's a bit my Britishness. DH is French and does the gaelic shrug very well grin

He doesn't like that we're bothering our neighbour but at the same time feels that we are being reasonable (see OP for the fact that DS is the only noise to bother anyone)

I've spoken to some French colleagues and they tend to feel that it's part and parcel of living in flats - that you hear the neighbours.

She didn't mention it at the AGM which surprised us.

Thing is, where we live is noisy. It's on a main road, there's always building work/road works/demonstrations etc. going on and the restaurant on the ground floor has outside seating so there is noise up until 1am. Our flat was previously owned by a family too (the woman who sold it to us grew up there).

Noisytoddler Wed 26-Jun-13 12:07:25

Oh and DS is never allowed to bang toys on the floor. Certain toys are only under supervision (eg the hammer and pegs, to stop him hammering anything else!).

DoJo Wed 26-Jun-13 12:18:54

Could you maybe show willing, go downstairs and have a listen and if it's loud then agree a resolution. It might be something as simple as telling her that he will always be in bed (or at least not running around) by x time, so she will know that there is an end in sight if it is getting to her, or offering to buy her noise cancelling headphones to wear whilst she works if that would help (not saying she has to wear them, but if she'd be happy to that could solve all the problems at once). Even if you just appear to be meeting her in the middle it might make it easier for you all to rub along nicely together.

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