The Backyardigans:Control the Noise

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Pre-read warning: this blog post may offend parents of smaller children. And if you are offended,  you are the reason I am writing this.

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This blog is both an apology and a complaint.

It’s an apology to my neighbours of 13 years who have sat silently in their yards waiting for the endless hours of kid fun to end. Splashing in the pool, screams of marco/polo that went on for hours and the tireless screams of sibling names that went unanswered for hours. You know what I’m talking about… Emma, Emma , Emma, Emma, Emma, E MMM MMMMMM AAAAAAAAAAAAAA…. Yup, those were my kids. And it went on for years. I admit, I didn’t find these sounds of summer fun at all, in fact they drove me nuts. Even though they were my kids I found the noise obnoxious and I did my best to quiet them down. Not only did the noise bother me, but I was concerned about disturbing my neighbours.

Nunzio and I would take turns reminding the kids to answer when their name was called, to stop screaming and annoying one another – we tried to control the noise of our backyardigans. I’m sure the sound of our pestering annoyed the neighbours just as much as the screams did.

There were times I thought we were bad parents for curbing their summer fun – but the sound of their voices screaming drove me crazy – and if it drove me crazy, how did the neighbours feel about it?

Over the years there were countless moments when Nunzio and I apologized to our amazingly quiet neighbours about the endless hours of noise coming from our yard and they were always so gracious: Don’t be silly, what noise? And my favourite, we love hearing the kids having so much fun. 

But now, with my teens up in their rooms and me alone in my yard, I realize that their responses to these apologies were lies. I know this now because of the insane noise coming from other yards on our street – young children screaming wildly without consequence – without parental control.

So here is my official apology, to my neighbours, whom I adore: I am so sorry for the obscene noise levels that came from my yard while the kids were little. While we tried to control it, I’m sure listening to “we’re the muskrats, vote for us next year” was far more annoying to you than it was to us. And that says a lot.


As the first long-weekend of the season comes to a close, I feel like I have been part of the never-ending get-togethers of those same folks (mentioned above) on our street that clearly can’t hear the insane noise coming from their children. As Nunzio so honestly put it,”it adds an exclamation on what little shits kids are that they need to hear their name 20 times before they respond. Where are their parents?

Great question – where ARE their parents? Oh, they are in the yard with them, being just as loud. They are with their children as the daughter clearly chooses to ignore her name that another child has said at least 30 times now. The parents are there – ignoring the children and their neighbours.

My complaint goes out to all those parents that don’t even try to curb the noise. I get that kids are loud and having fun means being even louder sometimes, but when did it become acceptable to let kids be so wild and loud that they interrupt the lives of others? Where are the parents and why aren’t they doing something about the decibel level coming out of their kids?

Where are the parents?

I get that now that  my kids are teens people will see this as an old person’s complaint. But I’m not old – I’m 43 and my teens still make noise. When they get too loud I still tell them they are being too loud and that they need to be mindful of the neighbours. I do this because its considerate, it’s polite and it’s the right thing to do. My mom taught me “do unto others as you want done to you”, which was a life lesson that meant something once upon a time. It still means something to me.


And now as the sun begins to set and my yard has been quieted by bath and bedtime rituals … being a kid and being loud go together like PB & J. Especially in summer when being outdoors is the best place to be. But don’t be that parent that allows the insane level of noise oozing from your kids interrupt the lives of those that live next door.

E. xo






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