The Kids Down the Hall

The kids down the hall – where to start? Since Chris & I have lived here, we’ve had some interesting experiences with the kids down the hall, some good, some not so good. Lately, it’s been more of the “not so good” type. The actual kids down the hall include a 6 year old & a 2 year old – however, they have numerous friends, & since it is now summer, many of those friends come over & plop down for a visit on the front stoop of our apartment building (right next to our apartment door), with little or no adult supervision. These kids seem nice & friendly, & whenever we have interacted with them they are polite & very interested in our 2 dogs. It’s hard not to feel sympathetic for these kids – they come from single-parent homes, & the moms are constantly yelling (loudly) at these children & often using words that would make a sailor blush.

However, we are sometimes at a loss as to what should be done regarding these kids’ behavior when it involves our personal property. Since living here (8/1/06) we’ve had clumps of dirt put in the gas tank cover compartment of 1 of our cars (not in the actual tank, just in the little area around the tank cover), 1 of our antennae has been unscrewed & disappeared, we’ve had “Danielle” (name of the 6 year old) scratched onto the hood of our car in 6 inch letters, the nameplate ripped off of our mailbox & the lock tampered with (so that the mailbox just hung open), & tonight we had our doormat ripped apart, with 1 of the pieces draped ceremoniously over our doorknob!

How do I know that these children are responsible? Well, I despise all children & naturally blame them for anything evil in the world (just kidding). Seriously, Chris & I aren’t sitting in our living room, spying on the kids – but we have seen them messing around with other cars, & have observed them being generally naughty. That, & the fact that the little girl’s name was scratched into our car was a pretty good giveaway. Now I don’t think that these kids are being malicious, I really just think that they are bored & don’t know what it means to respect other people’s things.

We have talked to the mom about 2 of these things: namely, when “Danielle” was scratched into the hood of our car, & our ruined doormat. I had approached Danielle earlier to give her a chance to ‘fess up regarding the car-scratching. When I asked if she had done it, she looked at me like a deer in the headlights & silently shook her head. We felt bad, but knew that it was important for Danielle’s mom to know about her behavior, even though we were afraid that we would hear the punishment from down the hall. One of the many nice things about being married is that when you don’t want to do something, you can send your spouse! The mom is a formidable women and I would not want to be on her bad side…but I don’t mind if Chris is (he really appreciates my concern for his welfare, let me tell you)! Seriously, that women kind of scares me! However, she’s always been very nice & apologetic, & quick to assure us that she will make sure it never happens again! Still… I’m getting a little frustrated about all of this stuff (perhaps a bit more than necessary?). It helps to be able to blow off steam in a written format. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on any more antics & let you know whether or not we decide to install kid booby-traps around the place!

By the way – the scratches were buffed out of our car for free. Once we told the auto-body guy what had happened, he had a good laugh and took care of it in less than 5 minutes. Thank goodness for good-natured, understanding (and cheap) mechanics!

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