NPR logo Alison Checks In: 'I Now Officially Stink'

Maternity Leave

Alison Checks In: 'I Now Officially Stink'


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In the past nine weeks, parenthood has led me to do things I never, ever thought I would do involving diapers, lack of sleep — you get the idea. Yet on Tuesday, I crossed a line, and I can never go back. I called the cops on a party of underage kids drinking beer and making a ruckus.

It was 12:30 a.m. and I was trying to get Isaac to go back to sleep as the drunken mating whoops of boys in big shorts and girls in miniskirts wafted through the air. The kids were stumbling down our dirt road with flashlights and gathering alongside the split-rail fence on the dirt road in front of my parents' house.

In a flash I picked up the phone. The cops showed up and the kids began to run through the woods with their cases of beer. And in a moment of sheer devilishness, I flicked on our flood lights as they raced down our driveway into the woods. I watched them scatter like roaches and it was fun. At that moment, it hit me — I was now the crabby "get off my lawn" lady. I was also the lady worried about drunk driving and my own crying child.

What is something you never thought you'd do, but wham — there you were doing it?



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We always say we'll never be like our parents. When I said that to my Dad, he just laughed, and not a "you're an idiot" laugh, but a "yeah, that joke is still funny" laugh. I got the joke when a neighbor of mine was partying next door, and I went to his house to have him turn down the noise (it's noise, of course, because it's nothing we listened to back in my day :o).

The good news is that you have self-awareness. It'll come in handy as Isaac grows up, no doubt.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon | 3:37 PM | 7-10-2008

What is it with 12:30AM and teens?

I had almost the exact same scenario (teens,late hours), except it was weed instead of beer. I live on a cul-de-sac with very few teens in the neighborhood. Hence, it stands out when you see a steady stream of teens trooping off to the woods between houses at all hours because 1) They don't live here. 2) There's no road or anything to go to in the woods.

I concluded they were either getting high back there, or the weed man lived in the next neighborhood, or both. Plus these kids were not at all slick, looking around and over their shoulders every 2 steps. My concern was that next they'd be trying to break in cars or homes.

Finally I trusted my gut and called the police. Thankfully they left their cruiser near my house with the windows down so I heard the whole thing go down on their dispatch radio. No less than 7 teens got flushed out back there for smoking. 2 tried to run down the nearest main road and promptly got picked up by cruiser # 2.Paddy wagon hauled them all off to jail.

I too am the 'get out of my neighborhood' lady.

In solidarity,

Sent by Kristasphere | 3:51 PM | 7-10-2008

A few months back we were having an argument at work on the best way to approach a coding problem. Usually things are amicable around here, but this time we really came to loggerheads. Eventually someone said to me, "What makes you so sure you're right?!"

I replied, "Because I've been doing this for 20 years!"

The room was quiet for a few breaths. Then they just laughed at me. I deserved it.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 4:32 PM | 7-10-2008

Saying "Because I said so" in an attempt to end an argument.

Sent by Susie | 5:54 PM | 7-10-2008

Listening to the Bryant Park Project with Mike Pesca as the host.

Sent by Will G | 7:05 PM | 7-10-2008

Coming to the realization that there is, in fact, some contemporary popular music that I just don't get and, indeed, find distasteful. This from the 11-year old kid who was in the KISS Army back in 1977.

Also, I used to laugh when my mother would accidentally call me the dog's or cats' names (usually at the breaking point of despair over my behavior). "She's NUTS," I would think. Now, with two toddlers of my own, I'm lucky if I call them a name that's actually in the family.

And when it comes to sleeping babies, all bets are off: everyone needs to be quiet and show respect the exhausted, cool teens included (perhaps especially).

Sent by Jonathan Nichols-Pethick | 7:25 PM | 7-10-2008

Yep. I had finally gotten my 9 month old to start sleeping on a some kind of schedule (bedtime at 7:30p, still waking at 12a for the all night dairy bar, and then if I was lucky, no more wakeys until he was up for good at a brain-busting 5a). Going for 9 months with never more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep at a time was killing me and I was frantic to keep conditions so that baby would slumber as peacefully as possible. When my next-door neighbor started mowing his backyard at 9p (with the tractor headlights on!), I sent a polite, but cold email message asking that there be no mowing after dark as little children are in bed asleep. The minutes ticked by and the roar of the machine continued to grate on my nerves until I was in a panic and threw caution to the wind, calling his wife to complain. The mower stopped within 60 seconds. Hasn't happened again (after dark) since. I guess this is a case of, "Hey neighbor, get off your own lawn!"

Sent by LeftyMama | 10:39 PM | 7-10-2008

Dear Anon,

Your posts on behalf of freedom and civil liberties would be much ballsier if you'd, y'know, dare to sign your name to them.

Sent by Stewart | 10:46 PM | 7-10-2008

Isaac a cutie!

Sent by James Lynch | 11:22 PM | 7-10-2008

I never thought I'd be that person eating lunch at her desk. Yet many days I find myself with sandwich in one hand, mouse or phone in the other....

Sent by Fern | 11:58 PM | 7-10-2008

I would have done the same thing Im 19 and doing heavy college classes with work and I don't put up with that

Sent by Mike | 12:10 AM | 7-11-2008

Nothing to say on topic, but Isaac suddenly looks just like Alison.

There are worse fates in the world.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 5:58 AM | 7-11-2008

the show's not the same with just a single host...

Sent by Elliott MITCHELL | 7:22 AM | 7-11-2008

I just yanked a pair of comments from Anon -- they were too mean, too bizarre and too anonymous.

Sent by Laura Conaway, NPR | 9:13 AM | 7-11-2008

That is an adorable baby.

My son is almost a year old and although I swore I wouldn't, I now talk with the royal we.

"Saul, we don't hit people."

"Saul, we don't throw soggy cheerios at Mommy."

"Saul, we don't feed our dinner to the dog."

Sent by Stephanie | 10:24 AM | 7-11-2008

Oh my goodness! He does look a lot like Alison. Of course, we'd need a pic of Bill to compare as well.

Sent by Susie | 10:33 AM | 7-11-2008

Awww! Who would dare disturb the sleep of that bundle of cuteness?

Yeah, at about 26 or so I noticed my tolerance of teenagers dropped significantly. Just observing / listening to them walk around in groups... they seem so obnoxious! Jumping around, talking on their cell phones, etc. As soon as I start to think, "I was never like that!" I realize, I was exactly like that... then, I feel old.

Sent by April | 10:57 AM | 7-11-2008

Luckily, our kids sleep through almost anything, but I still call the police when the neighbor kids' (college) parties go too late and too loud. I'm the one who needs my sleep!

Sent by Sandy, Honolulu | 4:58 PM | 7-11-2008

@Susie, you probably, if you watch "Tucker" on MSNBC, he pops on occasionally.

As I said in a earlier entry, Isaac, like my own son Roy, takes after his mother, and I thank God for that.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon | 5:39 PM | 7-11-2008

I just called poison control because my 14 month old daughter ate the small top of a mushroom growing in the mulch around a maple tree in our front yard. That's something I didn't think I would do.

Sent by Jennifer | 6:10 PM | 7-11-2008

My husband and I took my 15 year old daughter to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers last night...which btw was a totally awesome show....I never really imagined myself rockin' out with my kid like that....that's kind of the reverse of becoming your parents.

Sent by Julie | 10:43 AM | 7-12-2008

Things I never thought I would do:
Tell my landlord to turn the music down!! Tell him he's not allowed to permit his friends to hang out in his apartment when he's not home at 3am. And finally, to tell him that he cannot have his nephews and all their friends playing basketball in our parking lot next to my bedroom window at 9pm when I have to wake up at 4am for work. Daddy bought him the apartment building. I have since moved on.
Oh, and then there were the bad roommate stories... (No, you and your boyfriend cannot have sex on my couch in the living room while I'm home at 9pm. That's what you have a room for. These are the things you shouldn't have to tell a 35 year old!!).

Sent by Juli | 1:51 PM | 7-12-2008

This sucks! I don't want the BPP to go!
I am glad you'll make it back for the big send off. :( You look great at 42!

Sent by Jennifer | 10:26 PM | 7-13-2008

What a perfect combination of the two of you! Congratulations! And don't worry about those rowdy teens. Running from the cops is probably the second most fun thing that happened that night!

Sent by Steve | 11:12 PM | 7-15-2008