Before I had kids, anytime I was at home alone, I always had the radio or TV on for background noise. Fast-forward three children, and I would give anything — anything — for some silence in my house.
Children are loud. That’s all there is to it. And after more than a decade and various phases of noisy kid life, I’ve given up trying to fight it. No more shushing, unless we’re in a library or place of worship. No more “Keep it down, for the love!” It’s a losing battle.
Just for funsies, let’s take a look at some of the ways kids violate noise ordinances throughout their childhoods:
The Baby Wail
Remember how sweet and cute that newborn cry was when they were born? Six weeks later, that sweet little coo blows into a full-fledged baby wail. It’s like a freaking siren with no “off” button, and you feel horrible because you can’t figure out how to help them and also because you want to stab your ears out.
The Toddler Scream
Toddlers scream for all kinds of reasons, from sheer delight over kittens to seething hatred over the wrong color sippy cup. One of my kids would just scream out of nowhere, for no reason, with no emotion — just random screams here and there, just to hear the sound of her own voice. Good times.
The Yell Whisper
Tell a little kid to whisper and they basically just end up yelling with a slightly breathy quality to their voice — right into your year, usually something embarrassing, unaware that the whole world can still hear them. Cracks me up every time.
The Third Child’s Normal Volume
Every third kid I know talks really, really, really loudly. Some second kids, too, and I’m sure some first kids, but no one takes the Loud Talker prize home like those third kids. I think it’s because there are already two kids competing for attention so no one listens to them. They learn early on that in order to be heard, you have to shout above the noise of your siblings. They will not be ignored.
Any Kids in Any Car at Any Time
I know the acoustics of a closed vehicle have a little bit to do with this, but not that much. What’s wrong with just sitting and looking out the window, kids? Huh? What’s wrong with it? Let’s listen to some music. Turn it up, you say? Because you can’t hear it over how damn loud you are? I’ll turn it up as soon as you turn it down, child. Crimony.
The Group of Children Playing in the Same Room
You know the scenario — when each kid tries to talk louder than the other, so after a while, they all end up shouting everything they’re saying even though they’re all within a few feet of each other.
My Child When I’m Sitting 2 Feet Away
What is this about, anyway? Sweetheart, I am so close to you that you could whisper and I could still hear you. Why are you yelling at me like I’m in the other room?
The “Mom’s Somewhere In the House, and I’m Too Lazy To Go Find Her So I’m Just Gonna Sit Here and Call Her Name Louder and Louder” Yell
“MOM! MOM! MOOOOOOM!” Somebody had better be bleeding, kid. And you’d better be the one applying pressure and that’s why you’re unable to walk across the house because if I find you just sitting on the couch hollering my name over and over, we will have words.
The Maniacal Laugh
Okay, this one is admittedly pretty awesome. I love it when my kids laugh out loud with wild, high-pitched abandon. Unless we’re in the car — which is usually when it happens, because Murphy’s Law. But how can you get mad at laughing, even if it does pierce you right in the eardrums?
So, yeah, children are loud, and it’s not worth the energy to try to hush them up them anymore. Someday our house will be silent, and we’ll probably end up missing the noise.
At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Gotta keep my sanity somehow.