I have a noise issue in my house – the issue being that I can’t hear anything. The radio, the TV , my husband when he is talking to me…it’s absolutely crazy at times. A constant barrage of sound travelling through the house and you can’t get away from it because it comes in the form of two little girls who follow you wherever you go.
My husband pointed it out to me last Saturday morning when we were sitting in the kitchen listening to the radio. We were listening to a show where they play a list of songs and you have to guess the chosen year, but we were struggling so hard to hear any of it. We knew it was from the mid-nineties but we were having difficulty pinpointing it (we get very nostalgic when listening to this type of music – it totally transports us back to our youth). I started claiming it was 1994 but my husband was insisting it was closer to 1996 but the problem was we just couldn’t hear enough of it to be sure. While all I wanted to do was desperately listen to Take That and ‘Relight My Fire’, all I could hear was ‘The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round’ as my 20-month-old daughter Dee Dee sat in the middle of the kitchen floor playing with her toy bus and pressing the same button over and over again.
This was mixed in with my other daughter Millie walking around in loops from kitchen to sitting room with a toy guitar which was playing a really sprightly version of ‘Rockin Robin’. So amongst all of this racket, our attempts at listening to the radio were almost completely defunct. At one stage my husband turned to me despairingly and said ” I can’t hear a thing here!!”, so I turned to my four year old Millie and said, “Girls, can you not go and play in the sitting room please?”. To which she blankly replied:
Millie: “Because we want to stay here”
And that was it. And that is how it always is. There was no point in getting into an argument with them over it, as all it does is upset everyone and you still don’t get to hear the radio. And as my husband has pointed out to me before, they are just like two little ducklings who are always at my feet. They follow me wherever I go and whatever room I am in, they will insist on being in too. So we struggled on and did our best to listen to the radio (the year turned out to be 1993, so we were both wrong!).
So there is a constant din in our house, and an everyday struggle to hear. But the truth is that 90% of the time, I barely notice it. It has become an integral part of our household. And I am very pleased with myself because I have also figured out how to watch the TV when my little ducks are about – subtitles. Hurray for subtitles! Without them I would never be able to watch television comfortably during the day. I would end up rewinding over the same scenes so many times trying to catch the piece that I keep missing, that I would end up getting fed up and turning the tv off completely. So I now have a way to get around this. I like to think of it as noise management.
I have to admit though that as much as I can handle it, I have noticed that other people who come to visit us are not so good at it – my younger sister being one. She doesn’t have kids yet and I have secretly seen her scrunch her face up a few times when they have been playing and it has been particularly noisy, because she comes from a quiet house and is really not used to the loudness. But hey, that’s what happens when you have children – they are professional noise-makers. And as crazy as it makes me at times, whenever they are both out the silence in the house is eerie. Almost unsettling after a while, to the point where I am actually willing them to come home.
So for the foreseeable future I will be using my headphones to listen to music and putting the subtitles on whenever I want to watch TV, because my two noisy ducklings have no plans to quieten down any time soon. And as my husband likes to reassure me from time to time, with a look of sincere hope in his eyes – “someday we will hear the music again”. It just might take another 10 -15 years…