I am more aware of silence as a mother. Both the need for it and the fear of it.
Growing up, I was always very sensitive to noise. If my father was listening to a basketball game “too loudly” I’d go down and say something to find that he was watching it with the volume turned all the way down. The white noise wine of the TV was too loud, not the game itself. Then, of course, there are the times when you sleep when others are awake. And, when you’re just on the cusp between sleeping and waking, the point when you just want 30 more minutes… that’s when noise is really annoying. Anything to disturb your reverie, if there was one. It grates on the nerves like finger nails on a chalk board.
But, now, I am a mother. Sure, those things can still annoy me, but partly I’ve just grown up and they more often than not just don’t annoy me because of maturity. This is what I am telling myself. Now, though, I find myself more aware of when noise stops.
I have a three year old. His whole life he has been a noisy narrator. It’s adorable. It’s so neat to watch. He’s really curious. And, you know his curiosity is being piqued when the noise stops. S I L E N C E What? Where’d that come from? The only thing that makes me leap faster is when someone makes a horrid noise that indicates terrible pain.
I am one of the founders of a local food club. We’ve been meeting regularly at people’s houses to go over things, steer the direction of our group, etc. The first two meetings were at my house. The second meeting featured 13 adults and nine children. Predominately, we are Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHMs). So, where we go during the day, the kiddos come a long too. (This is another perspective changing balancing act.)
I facilitated these first two meetings. Wow! Talk about an attention divider! The inner dialogue went something like this:
Okay, how is everyone (adults) feeling about x thing.
Wow, listen to that lovely chatter of kiddos. All okay on that front.
Okay, adult conversation needs clarification here.
What? Wait. No noise.
At which point I bolt up, let adult conversation continue, and investigate. On no less than two occasions, my darling 3 year old, was leading the troops OUT of the house, into the basement, or into the closet of his room. (Yes, no closed doors when kids over is the rule in our house.)
My darling, lovely three year old, who is just now learning to articulate boundaries (yes!!!) became the leader in a game of follow the leader. I didn’t know whether to laugh with pride or cry with shame! Shame in him potentially leading the other kids down the wrong path. Pride in his taking initiative and where that could lead him later in life.
The balancing act continues.