"The Entire Floor Can Hear Your Infant": A Case for the Need for More Tolerance?
What happened after a Singapore mum found an anonymous note slipped under her door?
Babies cry — it’s an indisputable fact.
They cry when they are hungry, tired, over-tired, thirsty, sad and sleepy. When they have colic, a tooth sprouting, fever, a blocked nose. Sometimes, we don’t even know why or what they’re crying about.
Babies don’t cry because they want to annoy adults. They do it because that’s the only way they can communicate their needs (because, obviously, they can’t talk).
In a perfect world, people with no kids or older children would be understanding of those with small babies, who sometimes cry for a reason, and other times, for no apparent reason. But this is not always the case as a mum in Singapore recently found out.
May is mum to a seven-month-old baby girl Kayleigh. Dhe found this note slipped under her apartment door.
May’s response was this:
Thanks for the above note, slipped under our door, unsigned. Very community spirited of you.
We are probably more aware of the crying than you. The pitch little seven-month-old Kayleigh can create within the apartment is impressive, to say the least.
I’m sure you are thankful that she sleeps the entire night and only cries occasionally between 9 am and 5 pm.
Rest assured we have given her a stern talking to this evening after receiving your note. I note sure she quite understood it, but she did look serious for a second.
I’m hoping baby number 2 and 3 don’t cry so much.
May took to a Facebook mummy group to highlight what happened. She says in her post that the note from the neighbour was unsigned and that she and her husband decided to paste their reply under the original note, next to the lift.
However, the note and the reply had been removed soon after.
Still, May got plenty of support from other netizen mums. Here are some of their ‘posts’ of support:
“It take a person who been through the situation to know how tough it is to have an infant crying down the roof. Perhaps only when they have an infant then they will understand…”
“Wait till your neighbours have [sic] baby, then they will know. A baby crying is uncontrollable. We see our LO cries [sic], we as parents also heart pain.”
“We as parents do our best but babies are not robots they may not perform exactly as how we want them to. Think people who don’t interact with children may not understand”
The need for a more tolerant society?
Singapore is a city of high-rise living, with the majority of people living in apartments or condominiums, within close proximity to their neighbours.
Apartment complexes are home to a wide mix of families, including those with very young children. Children and babies will create noise, and while parents can do their best with older kids to keep the noise levels down, sometimes, with young babies, it’s near impossible to get them to stop crying.
So, it’s inevitable that a certain level of tolerance and understanding must exist among these communities for peaceful cohabitation.
Tolerance goes both ways
While being aware of the fact that the sound of a small baby crying might be disturbing to some (especially if they do not have children, their own kids are big or for whatever other reason), it’s also distressing for the parent of that same baby — not only do they fret about why their baby can’t be consoled, they also worry about disturbing others around them.
Perhaps in May’s case, the person who posted the note could have gone about it in a different way. Rather than slipping an anonymous note under her door, they could have just spoken to May about it and sorted it out face-to-face.
Youth for Tolerance, a group in Lebanon, has this to say about tolerance:
Tolerance creates a society in which people can feel valued and respected, and in which there is room for every person, each with their own ideas, thoughts and dreams. This is why we believe tolerance is important: because it is an essential aspect of a healthy, livable society.
Let’s endeavour to make the society we live in ‘healthy and livable” by fostering qualities like tolerance, understanding and compassion.
A society where others don’t make parents feel bad when their baby cries, where both kids and parents can live peacefully without being judged, and where your neighbour feels comfortable enough to approach you directly about a problem, instead of resorting to anonymous notes.
*This article is from our archives.
Share your thoughts on this story in a comment below. How else could the neighbour have managed the situation rather than resorting to this note?