Ask me what I want for my birthday. Yes, I know my birthday is eight months away, but my kids do this all the time. Ask me.
A Red Ryder BB gun.
Okay no, I don’t. But with Ralphie’s intensity in your head, here’s my answer: noise cancellation earphones. Why? Because silence is an endangered species in my ‘hood and a sensory deprivation chamber is too hard to clean.
Is that weird? Then you must not have kids. At any given point in the day the decibel level in my house ranges from flock-of-killer-seagulls-attacking-a-hot-dog-cart all the way up to nuclear-weapon-testing or square-dancing-festival. My home sweet home is loud.
The air (and my ears) is constantly ringing with the chatter/banter/bickering of four kids and whatever little friends were attracted to the noise (what repels adults almost certainly intrigues kids). “Mom, he’s copying me!” “Mom, Zaida’s diaper fell off and she went on the floor!” “Mom! Tayler is bleeding.” “Mom, Damon put his head in the toilet!” This constant assault always starts with a loud piercing “MOM!” and ends…well it doesn’t.
Shea works in the mining industry around heavy equipment all day. He wears hearing protection and has annual hearing exams. He comes home from a long day at work smelling like something called Molybdenum (say it, it’s hard) and throws aside his hard hat. But the little green earplugs stay in. That is how loud my house is.
It’s not always bad noise, just noise. The fad now is a barrage of knock knock jokes that don’t make sense, but if you don’t answer with “who’s there?” they just keep repeating. Or they just have to find out if “The Song that Doesn’t End” actually has an ending. Or they are trying to throw their echoes off the walls in the garage. Some of the noise is my favorite part of mommy-hood. I love the sounds of kids doubled over with giggles. I love our spontaneous dance parties when Michael Franti’s “Say Hey (I Love You)” comes on the radio. I love our off-tune singalongs in the car. I love the enthusiastic buzz when Daddy comes home.
I don’t want to get rid of all the noise. I would just adore the option to turn it off once in awhile. To be alone with just my mind. I am not even after enlightenment or ascension, just 30 seconds of quiet. QUIET.
Before I had kids, I used to seek out parties and concerts and crowds and, well, noise. Not anymore. I have had my fill. There is just no reprieve from the pandemonium. In the bathroom, they are knocking on the door. Damon (6) knows how to pick the lock. I wish my ears had a reset button; even in my sleep they are straining to hear the noise of a kid throwing up or a toddler who peed the bed.
Noise cancellation headphones. One day I will have a pair. Probably about the time my kids start moving away. But can you imagine?