Apparently in some homes children are seen and not heard. I know it’s a completely antiquated idea but I have to admit that a tiny part of me finds it quite aspirational. My boys are SO loud. Off the scale loud. Grizzly took Big Bear to a football match last week and people were turning to look due to the volume of his shouts. At a football match! They were surrounded by noisy horns, yet still Big Bear’s voice boomed out. Little Bear is no quieter. He is very excitable and likes to squeal and scream. Unfortunately he is also going through a phase of shouting rude words at the top of his voice (and not just at home).
I seem to say “don’t say bum-head” a lot more than can possibly be healthy. I’m pretty sure we haven’t done anything en famille where we have been seen but not heard. We can usually be heard before you see us, probably at about 50 paces. Yesterday we were wandering beside a boating lake where a group of older model-boat building enthusiasts were sitting. Big Bear chose the moment we were passing them to start singing “I see you baby, shaking that ass” with about half his might, which is plenty enough to ensure that all the hearing aid users amongst the group had caught it.
The thing is that I’m not a noisy person. I’m chatty but at a normal volume. I think I have a fairly quiet voice as I can’t project it at all. I always struggle when I’m running training courses and I ask people to work in a group – I can never get their attention back again and usually have to call on a louder voiced friend to help me. When I shout, Grizzly says I sound like a mouse whispering (though as you can tell he does exaggerate).
Big Bear has a tendency to get into trouble now and again at school and I’m sure it’s because the teacher can hear his voice over everyone else’s, even if they are being just as silly. His sizeable lungs come into good use in assemblies though, as he’s very good at public speaking and a microphone is always surplus to requirements. Although I like fun and messing about as much as the next mum, my quieter nature can mean that I sometimes (often) find the incessant noise a little over-stimulating.
We have recently completed a renovation project at our house so we now have an open-plan family room. I love how it looks and being able to keep a close eye on the boys. However, in auditory terms it’s much worse: noise levels have sky-rocketed and I can no longer hide in the kitchen. Usually it starts with two boys watching TV (perfectly normal and bearable) then one will lose attention and switch on his I Pad. The other will then want their I Pad, increasing noise levels to a little confusing but just about ignorable. Big Bear will proceed to play some music on his before also switching on his football game, which has its own sounds. Then, to tip me over the auricular edge, Big Bear will begin commentating as he plays (in his aforementioned none too dulcet tones). Little Bear has been to know to then want his music playing too. That is 5 or 6 different sound streams assaulting my brain at the same time! At this point, a cat usually saunters in and starts mewling plaintively and I feel as though I may drown in the cacophony.
The TV goes off and at least one child is handed a pair of headphones, though unless I start doling out gags I can’t quell the noise storm completely. I have literally no idea how people manage more than 2 children. The noise alone would keep me locked in the bathroom most of the time. That said, I’m well aware that other children are not AS noisy as mine. I reckon in volume terms my 2 are equal to approximately 4 typically-voiced children. And it is not as though my 2 are shy and retiring creatures. They are both outgoing, opinionated and chatty (“spirited” if I’m feeling euphemistic). I shouldn’t complain about them speaking: as a Speech and Language Therapist communication is kind of my thing. It’s just that, now and again, maybe if they were quiet for just 5 minutes, my brain would really appreciate it.
We have recently tried to introduce the idea of turn-taking in conversations as both tend to speak over the other. Frequently I have Big Bear giving me a very detailed account of what happened in Star Wars in one ear whilst Little Bear is chanting “Mum! Mum! Mum!” in the other without so much as pausing for breath. It is a situation compounded by me sometimes trying to speak to another grown up (can you imagine?!) or, God forbid, having a sensible phone conversation. I have realised that the secret to it all must be having well-honed ignoring skills. Grizzly has it down to a T. World War 3 could be breaking out but he’d still be happily snoozing. Unfortunately, I’m completely rubbish at it. Grizzly takes advantage of my poor ignoring if we are going to play a competitive board game like Scrabble or Boggle: he puts music on in the background knowing I won’t be able to think straight. It’s an affliction! During term time I cope by making sure I have a quiet morning at least once a week to give my jangled senses a rest. Now it’s the holidays, well, bring on bedtime! I love my boys so much but maybe sometimes, just for 5 minutes, they could be seen and not heard.
Do your children have a voice like a foghorn? Do you have trouble ignoring the cacophony of
parenthood? I’d love to hear how you cope with it.
Thank you so much Blog Fox for willing to guest post here! You can read more about these noisy boys here.
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