This assertiveness training is really paying off!

Wally has been trying to nap for the past 45 minutes, but every time he fell asleep a loud drill or sawing or banging from the upstairs apartment would wake him up and he'd start crying. Not that infuriating full-body scream, just a gentle--I'm really tired, I really want to sleep--little cry to himself.

I sat here and wrote this passive letter about not wanting to be a pain but wondering how much longer the construction was going to go on as it's been several months now and I really should change our schedule if it's going to last for a while longer...then I stopped typing...went in and picked up Wally and carried him upstairs and rang the doorbell. Just before my finger hit it I thought, what if this guy (not to assume it's a guy) going to do? He can't stop working because Wally can't sleep. That's not his problem. I dreamed up all kinds of vitriol he could throw back and maybe it would get to the point of the owners trying to get us kicked out because they've put up with a crying baby for two years. What happened was this: I explained that I had a baby trying to sleep and asked if there was anything quieter he (the work-person was, after all, a guy) could do for the next hour. He said, "I'm so sorry. I'll finish this part in five minutes. I'm so sorry." I went away feeling amazing. Sometimes you just have to ask. Of course maybe he would have been done in five minutes regardless but it just felt so non-neurotic. There's a problem, someone might be able to help. Ask. The workman seemed to, in that tiny interaction, in a language he was not overly familiar with, communicate a sense that a baby not being able to sleep was his problem, that he'd be more than happy to help.


  1. Good action; good outcome. Just the opposite of that old joke, where a guy gets a flat tire in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. He spots a light in the distance and starts walking towards it, hoping to borrow a jack. As he does, he imagines the occupant's response: "what are you, a madman, ringing my bell at 3 AM?" He walks on; the imagined responses become ever more aggressive. He rings the bell; the owner opens the door. The driver yells at homeowner: "OK, keep your f*!#ing jack," and storms off.

  2. Proud of you!!! Unlike most, some are happy to help. Some!

  3. 7 works for me, I'll be there at 7.

  4. Bravo, Rach! And bonus points for great use of "vitriol."


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