For anyone who has kids, you know that the moment you conceive, your moments of silence are numbered. Pictures of sleeping, angelic babies crack me up because that is so not how that goes; there is a lot more crying and fussing than those pictures let on. Yes, they do sleep eventually, but who has the time to photograph them while they're asleep? You have to use that time (however short it might be) to bathe, do laundry, wash dishes, fix your hair, put on makeup, cook dinner, clean up the house, you get the point. The fussing and the crying that happens during the awake time put me totally on edge. It was excruciating to listen to either of my boys "cry it out" so I just refused to do it. Probably contributed to the whole "no sleeping through the night and you have lay down with me until I go to sleep" situation we find ourselves in, but I really don't care.
Then there are the baby and toddler toys. I swear, I think the toy companies got together with the alcohol industry and conspired to drive parents to drink. The noise that comes out of these toys is unbelievable. And of course the typical child will have more than one toy "going" at the same time. The exersaucer makes noise; the activity table makes noise; even books have those buttons on the side that provide annoying little sound effects while you're reading the story. Couple this with kiddie DVDs like Elmo's World and Little Einsteins, and you've got yourself a cacophony of "learning" going on! Meanwhile, mom is in the corner smoking her Virginia Slims, sipping her scotch and twitching.
Let's not forget the grandparent factor. My dad has given Joshua a harmonica and a guitar. Joshua has already blessed our lives with an abundance of noise - he never stops talking and with his hearing loss, his "whisper voice" is about as quiet as a football stadium during the SuperBowl. I suspect that Dad's gifts, while intended to help spark a love of music in Joshua, also carry the ulterior motive of providing "payback" for all the times he asked me for five minutes of silence while I was growing up. To my knowledge, I was never quite able to provide it and now I'm getting my just desserts. I am only just now beginning to understand the fortitude it must have taken to not strap my motormouth to the roof of our car during the three-day cross country move to Arizona when I was nine years old.
The irony is that my house no longer feels "right" when it's totally quiet. If I happen to get home before Darrell arrives with the kids, the house seems almost too still, too quiet. I actually look forward to the arrival of my boys and all the noise they bring with them. Within five minutes of their arrival, however, Joshua is telling me about his day, Darrell has turned on the TV, Caleb is fussing for a snack or a bottle or some attention or because he loaded up his diaper, the toy I kicked on my way in is singing a song, and the Leapfrog crap on the fridge is telling me what the letter "A" says.
And I am once again longing for five minutes of silence.