Noise and Chaos: a 7QT post

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A couple of years ago, my editor wanted me to add a parting thought to a story I had written, something to sum up the stories I’d told, of people who were trying to discern family size. Something, she said, to illustrate the noise and chaos I was always talking about in my emails to her. And I got to thinking maybe I am just a whiny brat about the whole thing, and everybody’s life is like this with kids. Right?

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Not long after that we found our family motto…one I don’t say often enough anymore (to myself!): “EVERYBODY JUST CALM DOWN!”

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More recently, one of Alex’s friends came over to play, and in the glazed eyed look on his face, I saw the truth. “E,” I said, “is your house this noisy all the time?”

He widened his eyes and shook his head wordlessly.

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Two days later, Christian came upstairs from teaching a lesson to a new student. “WHAT was going on up here?” he said, a question I think I answered with a blank look of confusion. (It all goes kind of hazy after a while, you know.) “I thought the ceiling was going to come down. My student looked up and asked, ‘Is it always this loud?'”

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On the 4th of July, we attended an ice cream social in conjunction with the Grand Hotel’s yearly carnival on the lawn. Michael, deprived of the chance to eat Nicholas’s ice cream, took advantage of Mommy and Daddy running off after water cups (the lawn is completely airless and it was around a hundred degrees down there) to go in pursuit of Second Best: good old-fashioned dirt from the Grand Hotel’s newly-planted flowerbeds. When I returned, I couldn’t decide whether to grab the camera or the baby wipes. (After all, I’d sort of like to have proof!) Ah well. At least he was wearing mostly black.

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In the last two weeks, Michael 1) began to eat everything he can get his hands on, and I do mean EVERYTHING; 2) crawling, which makes #1 even more dangerous; and 3) poked his first tooth through. I can’t tell whether it’s crazed mommy brain or reality, but I sure don’t remember any of my other children careening headlong through milestones this quickly. It took all of three weeks for Michael to progress from being barely able to sit unsupported to being a full-blooded crawler, capable of traversing the entire length of the hallway in the time it takes me to wash my hands after a diaper change. (Insert creepy music:) NOTHING IS SAFE.

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Ah, well. Amid the noise and chaos, I managed to get a Fiction Friday post ready this week. Enjoy!

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9 thoughts on “Noise and Chaos: a 7QT post

  1. I’m the oldest of five closely spaced kids; my husband is one of two (and they are five years apart). When we were first married, for holidays we were with a family with five kids ranging in age from about 6-12. The chaos made him nervous; I asked “What chaos?, all I heard or saw was the kids.”

  2. When I was young with only one kid, I told a mother of 13 how much I longed for a large family. She stated simply, “One thing you never get used to about having a large family is the noise.” So true. Love your motto and I think I will steal it.

  3. I was reminded by my sister last night just how noisy and chaotic my house can be. My 2nd daughter (the 8-almost-9-year-old) had occasion to spend the night at my parents’ house when we traveled north in May. My sister, who had also stayed at my parents’ that night said it was so interesting to watch Dani. They asked her if she wanted to do anything fun and Dani said, “I think I just want to sit here and relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.” Dani is one of the more quiet of my children and home. Honestly, the noise and chaos seems to accompany #3 through #5. I guess if we’d stopped at 2, our house would be serene or something. 🙂

    Our house was always loud and chaotic growing up and I’m sure I contributed quite a bit to that! But it doesn’t bother me that much now with my own kids…it just feels like…home I guess. 🙂 I will be interested to see how this trend for Danielle continues to evolve as she gets older (she is my musician and artist, after all)

    • That’s interesting! Alex is often a pretty quiet kid, but then again, he can belt it with the best of them. He’s gone to Grandma & Grandpa’s tonight with cousins. Whew. Mercy on them. 🙂

  4. I only just read this post – and can completely agree about the noise!!! we ‘only’ have 3, but the pace, chaos and noise from those girls can be unbelievable! My husband and I embrace it on the whole, it’s usually a joyous noise and as such should be celebrated, I think. But it can confound other people – such as my parents, who only had me, and who look round bemusedly trying to work out a) where the noise emanates from and b) how on earth I can live with it. And I also maintain that given the chance I would rather have a house full of the noises of sibling rivalry than a peaceful life like I had. Siblings are such a gift, even if the arrival of a new one seems to increase the noise and chaos exponentially!

    • That perspective is really important. We got a late start on our family due to 3 years of infertility, and we didn’t want our oldest ever to remember a time when he was an only child. We succeeded. They don’t bicker as much as my sisters and I did when we were kids–though #2&3 are beginning to get there–and most of the time it is happy noise, you’re right. I’m just a peace and quiet loving lady, and I’m totally kerflummoxed by how I managed to get four such L-O-U-D children.

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