conversations, life, motherhood, parenting, urban life

On squeaky floors and monkey feet

Me: Hi, I’m Aisha.
Bob: Hi, I’m Bob. I live right below you.
Me: Oh! I’ve been meaning to chat with you. We have a toddler and he likes to run and–
Bob: I know.
Me: I’m so sorry. It’s really rough to get him to be still. He’s used to having his run of an entire house.
Bob: Rugs can muffle some noise. Do you guys plan to get a rug?
Me: Um, yeah, we have two.
Bob: Oh.
Me: Well, hopefully you work a 9-5 and he sleeps around 7 so it shouldn’t be too bad.
Bob: I work from home.
Me: Oh.

Bob’s a nice guy. Don’t stop him from running around, he urged I’ve got plenty of white noise to fill the air.  He has a daughter and understands toddlers do as as they wish and usually they wish to run and toss things. The heavier the better. Despite his kind reassurances, if you know me, you know, I do feel badly that each step on our creaky floor boards is reflected below and that each run, skip and hop from our precocious toddler, registers far higher on the richter scale. White noise notwithstanding the floor boards are creaky. Very very creaky.

I do my best to head out as much as we can. Each morning after he wakes, we eat breakfast, and head to the park for a few hours [which as far as he’s concerned is the epicenter of the Universe] and then its time to go home, snack, and nap for a few hours only to head out once more to run errands or explore our new hood. The weather’s been good and the sights are still exciting so this isn’t an issue at all.


I don’t want to be uncomfortable in my own home. And as much as I am making the most of my outdoor space, I do sort of miss those quiet moments where he ran about with his ‘vacuum cleaner’ and pretty much did his own thing while I could sit down and get some writing done or read a book peacefully. I want to keep the downstairs neighbor from being driven to making voodoo dolls of us but I also want to feel at ease in my own home. While I don’t want him stomping about and throwing bowling balls at the ground, I don’t want to stifle his curiosity and the rambunctiousness that is part of who he is. I’d also like to not feel guilty for living in my home.

And while I can take measures to stifle my own sounds:

I’m not sure what I can do to stifle his.

I know this isn’t forever [and on the bright side, this does help us rule out condo-living as a permanent situation] but I don’t want to rush house-hunting simply because I worry each day we live here we’re driving our downstairs neighbor closer to the brink of noise-induced insanity.

Ever lived on an upper-level and found successful ways to curb the noise? Do slippers really help tone down any noise or am I just walking around in monkey feet for no reason? Any advice, tips, ideas [or commiseration] much appreciated!!

20 thoughts on “On squeaky floors and monkey feet”

  1. Thanks Anon 😦 It does

    Muslimah, LOL well, that was BobULLAH, not Bob, 😉 maybe I'm worrying too much. I hope so. I mean, I can be guilty of overthinking things after all [gasp, who me?!?] thanks for your words of comfort 🙂


  2. That is definitely hard! We once lived above a guy (not-so-affectionately know as 'The Troll') who would come up and bang on our door at the slightest noise. We couldn't have guests, walk around in the apartment on tiptoes, barely breathing & never feel at ease. It was the most beautiful apartment we ever lived in (& a half block from Whole Foods) and we couldn't wait to move as soon as our lease was up. So I totally get the wanting to feel at ease part.

    Definitely wear slippers, & see if W will wear them too. Maybe find out which room Bob works in & have W play on the other side of the apartment from there if he is particularly rambunctious one day.

    But you know what? At the end of the day Bob is kind, understanding, has a youngster & can leave to work at a cafe if he needs to. Don't worry about it too much. Even on the days you can't take W out for the morning, don't worry about the noise.

    Urban living is all about communal living & building community. As long as someone isn't being obnoxious about it, noise is ok. And you know what else? W is growing up SO fast. He's going to be out of this phase before you know it.

    All that being said, if you decide to continue living in an apartment, you can look for one on the ground floor. Same with condos. Don't rule anything out – yet 🙂



  3. Thanks so much for your take on this Baraka! It was funny b/c the previous tenant had said, “oh its not bad here at all, my husband has heavy feet and 'Bob' never complained' and I brought that up to 'Bob' and he cringed at how it frustrated him so badly, lol. He seems very patient and I urged him to please let us know if we're getting too loud, and he said its okay. Thanks for reassurance that this is part and parcel of living in a shared community. Hm, I will have to see if W will wear slippers He hates shoes in general [slips them off even at the playground] but maybe slippers might be fun and soft for him. Thanks for all the advice! Love ya 🙂


  4. At least your neighbor is nice. I once went with a toddler to someone's apt on the second floor and ten mins into our visit (there were two other toddlers there too), the downstairs neighbor was knocking on his ceiling with a broom and expressing his frustration w/our noise!

    I don't know if they would help with the noise, but kids may keep crocs on for longer periods of time than regular shoes.



  5. I'm sorry to be the difficult one here… but whether he's nice or not is irrelevant…. I say Bob shouldn't have said anything beyond “no worries” when you said something about your toddler (which I'm assuming you said to be nice, like I would have, right?). Time for Bob to grow up a little! Falls into the category of “just life”! Toddlers are *meant* to run around and jump and that's the most important thing!! You get to have a comfortable life and home for goodness sake. You're worried about Bob making a voodoo doll of YOU? I say make a voodoo doll of HIM! 🙂 (and I mean that in the nicest way possible because I'm really not that kind of person! Plus after this comment, how many people now want to make a voodoo doll of ME? 🙂


  6. Maybe this is a little strange, but I would ask Bob where his home office is. Like if he works mainly from a bedroom, you guys could stay out of the room above. If he works in the living room, that would be tough, though.

    And like everyone says, it's part of living in a shared space. I'm extremely sensitive to noise, so I always lived on the top floor of apartments. I know what bothers me, so I took control of it.


  7. I do need to find crocs, have heard great things about them. They wouldn't help with noise reduction in the apartment but they would help with the whole keeping the shoes on issue, lol. Thanks Rasha 🙂

    Alan, true- it is temporary. You guys sound like you were very considerate apartment dwellers.


  8. Julia, thanks for the other point of view! and LOL thanks so much for the laugh 🙂 You're right, one has to live. . . I try to remind myself he's lived downstairs 7 years through many tenants so hopefully he has had worse?

    Cheryll, that's a good point too. Like I told Julia, this guy has lived here for seven years so he's aware of the noise situation. As for his work station, he's a piano teacher and during the day I got the impression he is all over the house, not a particular work area. Next time I catch him outside I will ask him though, good idea!


  9. I'm with Julia. And, I say this as someone who spent the better part of a decade working at home as a freelancer from various condos and apartments. If you live on a bottom or middle floor you are going to have noise from overhead. That's life. And, he bears responsibility for choosing the home that he has. It is not on the people living above him to walk around on tiptoe and muffle their every utterance. Now, if your toddler were up at say 4 a.m. and running amok, it would be different.

    In the interest of good relations, I might make some effort with slippers and not letting your guy, say, bang pots and pans or slam the walls or something. But, beyond that, just smile and wave at Bob when you see him. Seriously, this is your home as well. You are not the guest of your downstairs neighbor. It is your place to live. He can't buy an urban condo and expect it to be like Walden.


  10. Aisha! I think you just too over-cautious. Just go with flow and you will realize its not that bad and all get accustomed to new voices very soon. (I am in similar or worse situation with 70 lbs son jumping all the time)


  11. Thanks so much Cat, I love your take on this and it makes me feel SO much better. Welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment!

    Kate, thanks 😦

    Mystic I hope I'm over-cautious and not really driving the neighbor bats! 🙂


  12. Ugh…just lost my comment…this is why I have been following you without commenting…it's too hard to post a comment with my WordPress profile from my phone! Anyway, glad that you're getting settled, but so sorry that there are few kinks still to work out. If it helps, I saw slippers in the baby section at Target the other day. They are like fuzzy socks that you pull up over little feet, so W would be more likely to keep them on. Good luck!


  13. Raising nice to hear from you! Have you been blogging? because reader hasn't been picking up- I hope all is well with you guys. Slippers for babies?? I'll have to check that out, thanks for the tip!!!


  14. Oh, well, yes, it might be a bit of a nuisance, but this is what living in a common building means. You want the perks of the location, you have to accept the squeaky floors.
    Bake him a kid friendly cake and give it to him alog with a bottle of decent plonk. Preferably before the weeend, or when you think you spend more time indoors. It won't make the floors less squeaky, but at least they'll squeak under friendly feet. 🙂


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