Many an apartment dweller knows the aggravation of noisy children wreaking havoc in the next unit. But consider the other side of the equation—the anxiety of a parent whose crying little one is tormenting the neighbors.
That’s why one mom’s anguished apology letter to her fellow apartment dwellers went viral.
The note, which The Sun reports brought one neighbor to tears, said that new parents Kelee and Matthew Ward were trying the “cry-it-out” method to coax to sleep their 6-month-old son, Atlas, who was struggling with sleep regression.
“Apartment 207 here,” Kelee’s letter reads. “I regret to inform you that we have begun sleep training our son … we have decided it is time to start the cry-it-out method. If you hear the cries please pray for me and know I am also crying and going insane. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you, let’s hope it doesn’t last long.”
Kelee’s apology came with a sympathetic offering of liquor if the crying became unbearable.
“If you start to feel hatred towards us just give us a friendly knock on the door and I will bring you a shot of tequila to mend our neighbor-ship,” she wrote. “It’s cheap tequila but it will calm your nerves, it’s been tested and proven to work by yours truly.”
Another neighbor, Amber Bennett, Fox News reported on Dec. 16, said that she found the letter amusing: “I was laughing. I thought it was the cutest thing. Like I understood where she was coming from. I just thought it was the cutest thing also offering tequila.”
In fact, Amber was so tickled, she posted the letter to social media last month, captioned: “neighbors left this on the door. I’m gonna bake them some cookies.”
The post went viral, garnering interactions from over 1 million Twitter users, who left encouraging comments, such as “Everyone should have neighbors as respectful [as] these folks.”
Others expressed concern about “child neglect,” calling sleep training “heartless.” But the common wisdom arising in the discussion claimed infants eventually stop crying not because they learn to self-soothe but because they learn the parents aren’t going to respond.
The new parents had planned to try this method for a short four-day period, after which they would take a break if it didn’t work.
“If he doesn’t get with the program I will give it a week or 2 break and try again,” the mom explained. “Please know I am not neglecting him, but I will let him try to self-soothe for 45–60 minutes at a time during this period I will be in the room every 5–10 minutes to reassure him he is not alone and is okay.”
Her letter highlighted an important aspect of the “cry-it-out” sleep-training method.
Some parents make the mistake of letting an infant cry themselves to sleep, but experts advise providing reassurance by checking in with the baby often.
“Wait for five minutes before going in to comfort them,” experts at Mumsnet advise. “Then leave the room again. If your baby continues crying, repeat the process, waiting two minutes longer each time before you go back.”
The parenting site explains that consistency is key with this method, and advise waiting until the baby is at least 6 months old before attempting the “cry-it-out” method. They added that this method can come with its own problems.
“This is a quick fix solution in that it can work after just three days,” they write. “But the first night is always horrendous and some of you might simply not be able to stand it. It can be heartbreaking listening to your child crying for you.”
There’s no question that despite the method one chooses, getting an infant to stay asleep at night is difficult for any parent. At least the Wards seem to have supporting neighbors who will help them get through it.
The couple told Fox News that they were overwhelmed by the social media response and attention.
“We definitely didn’t expect the neighbor’s response to be how positive it was. We kind of really just expected to put the letter on their door and then not really hear anything about it,” Matthew said.
This story was last updated in February 2021.