Give me some earplugs!

I’m turning into my grandmother with her intolerance for noise.  Macular degeneration stole her sight, so she sits in one chair, mostly, listening to the silence when she isn’t listening to the Bible on tape.  I hardly ever take my kids over there because I know she can barely tolerate the noise.  She’s 101.  What’s my excuse?

I am a quiet type of person, one who wouldn’t turn on the radio or television if I were alone all day (which I never am).  I have no need for conversation or for expending a certain allotment of words per day.  I have had to develop my ability to make small-talk because chatting doesn’t come naturally to me.

And yet, I’m living with a bunch of people who just can’t stop talking to me.  My daughter is the worst of the bunch.  If I sit down, she appears like a pesky genie, begging me to get a snack from the “covered” (aka the “cupboard”) and asking me if I “bemember” when she was three and cut her hand on a barnacle.  She uninterested in snuggling or playing with Play-doh or lying down to rest, even if she tells me how tired she is.  No, she just wants to talk, talk, talk.

If I happen to be alone, thinking actual thoughts while washing the dishes, my sons will traipse through the kitchen on their never-ending quest to drink all the milk without my knowledge and they will ask me crazy questions, questions that spring from the murky space in their brains where they are piecing together the mysteries of life and plotting to get their hands on some Chinese egg rolls soon.  Just because I’m standing still, working, does not mean that I’m not occupied in my head, pondering something or another.  To them, I look like a fount of knowledge, the person who can answer any question which might flit through their heads.

I can’t have two coherent thoughts in a row which positively frustrates me and honestly makes me feel a little crazy as if I’m being tortured by the systematic drip-drip-drip of words. 

I want to spend my days stringing words together like so many fancy beads, but I can’t.  I can’t because I’m living in a madhouse with chatty kids.  And I’m complaining about it which definitely disqualifies me for the Mother of the Year. 

My daughter will turn five on September 2.  She misses the local kindergarten cut-off date by a day.  I never thought I’d do this, but I am likely to send her to preschool because she has turned into Miss Extrovert who asks every visitor who appears at our door, “Can I come to your house?”  She wants to go, do, talk, visit, play, and then go some more.  She’s wearing me out which makes me feel guilty and old.  Also, uninteresting and uncreative. 

Silence is all I want which is ironic because I spent so much of my twenties crying because all I wanted then was a baby.  I just can’t be pleased.  Now I just want to be alone.

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17 thoughts on “Give me some earplugs!

  1. i’m the same way. i don’t care to turn on the tv or the radio all day. and i just this minute heard on oprah (watching it taped from earlier today) that women who have to listen to a lot of noise all day have more heart attacks! shhh


  2. My 7 yrold to go to preschool at 3 instead of at 4 like the others. She NEEDED other children in a way that wore me out every chance she got.
    Your daughter will thank you.


  3. My daughter turns 5 on August 30. We’ve debated, because she too is a never ending fount of questions, observations, and basically finding anything to say. It’s maddening. This year i got ‘roped’ into teaching preschool (2.5 hours/2 times a week. How bad can it be?) and so she gets to go as well (but not in my class because the whining.never.ceases as i’m trying to be Mrs. Teacher not Mrs. Mom). But the whining on the way home, and the absolute exhaustion i experience being with 9 3 year olds who also are required to speak many words each moment of their lives. So, on the way home i’m whiny, and so is she. And i’ve wondered why people pay for this. And sworn i will never be one of them. But that’s just me! smile


  4. Mel, once again you have hit the nail smack dab on the head. I’m quiet by nature, and my kids are all gabbers. My 17-year-old has conversations with himself and when he enters a room he just “launches” from whatever point he’s at. I never know what I’m going to hear about in a day. It makes me crazy. I want to scream, “can’t you see I’m lost in my own thoughts here?? I’m trying to have a conversation with myself Why are you interrupting??”

    That elusive Mother of the Year award — ain’t gonna show up at my house.


  5. Mel, I am the same way. My former husband used to come in and turn on music because he couldn’t understand that I liked silence and felt he needed to “correct” me. My new husband doesn’t understand it but he does respect my need to have quiet time. When my son was small he went with me every day to the preschool where I taught.. then when he was 4 and 5 (also missed the kindergarten cutoff) I put him in his own afternoon class at another school because he drove me crazy. High energy and he needed the interaction.. I needed the peace even if just for 2-3 hours! Now I have two stepsons..they can be noisy.. I will always have a conversation with them if they want but they have learned to go in the basement to be wild and crazy. 🙂 I think they do like me but probably not enough to want to talk to me nonstop like my own kids did.


  6. This might sound strange but I’ve perfected the skill of completely tuning out other people, noise, music and whatever, whenever I feel it is necessary. I love quiet as well and when I can’t have it, I think my way of coping is to tune all the annoying “stuff” out. It’s completely unrealistic, but hey, it works for me!

    On a side note…I have three children, two of them are away at college and one is still in high school, and I used to dream of the time when I would be alone and have some peace…and guess what? It came faster than I thought possible and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. My happiest times now are when they all come back to visit me and my house is a madhouse of noise and confusion. I know this doesn’t help your particular problem at the moment, but just remember…it’s over before you know it.


  7. Well, Mel,
    It sounds like time for some attitude adjustment! As Karen said, it’s over before you know it. I read eons ago in a Dear Abby column about a woman who complained for years about her husband’s snoring, and once she was widowed she missed it sooooo much. On the night my first child was born things went so different from my “plan”. My blood pressure soared, he was breech, they couldn’t turn him and suddenly I was having an unplanned (but not emergency) C-section. Then I was done with surgery and so drugged I scarcely knew which way was up and there was no baby in my belly and I wasn’t ready to be a mommy–I’d counted on being 2 weeks late, not 3-1/2 weeks early. My husband held our lovely boy for all the time it took to stitch me back together and be in the recovery room and came in when I was finally wheeled into “my” room. By then it was about 2:00AM and he was going to go home but a nurse pointed him to the 2nd bed and said they wouldn’t be needing it, and he might as well stay. I laid there with a million thoughts going thru my head and every time I started to doze off the medication pump they’d carefully placed under my pillow would cycle and wake me up again. Finally it was my husband’s snoring in the next bed which lulled me to sleep. Now when it wakes me I remember that terrifying night and how much I’ll miss the sound if I am ever a widow. When my children are loud and demanding and talking non-stop I think about how much I’ll miss the sound of their sweet voices in just a few years more. They’re already 12 and almost 10, that means college in just 6-1/2 years more. Eeeek!
    Hang in there, you are definitely a wonderful mom who just needs regular time alone. XOXO


  8. Oh, yeah, a little bit more. Last July I went to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, here in Minnesota, with 8 other ladies and finally had some time to myself! While there I spent a lot of time thinking and pondering and after returning home I went to the Dr. and 8 days later ended up having surgery to remove cancerous growths in my abdomen. Time to think is important, and be careful what you wish for!


  9. I need quiet too. I really really do. And my kids never shut up. So I tell myself (two of them are teenagers already!) how lucky I am to have teens who want to talk to their mother. And tell me everything. Really, it’s a gift.

    Now, that said, talk to your school district about getting your daughter in early. My daughter’s best friend was born Sept 9, her mom got her in early and she’s right up there with the rest of the class, socially, academically and every other way. Maybe all you need to do is ask.


  10. This is precisely why, every few days, I just get in my van and leave Mr. Dazzle at home with everyone and just drive somewhere. Can’t be too far because we can’t afford the gas, but I always take my camera with me and I tell the kids that I’m going to take some pictures. They think it’s boring, so they don’t insist on going with me, and it guarantees me a little silence.

    Having to talk is very draining for us introverts. It’s why I’m so darn tired at the end of the school day — no, I didn’t physically exert myself, but I strain every mental nerve all day long looking after other peoples’ teenagers and trying to wedge some information past their unwillingness.


  11. It’s hard to find a quiet space here too.

    Elcie not only chatters non-stop, she repeats herself and then has her tender feelings hurt when I tell her so.

    Or she claims I’m not listening. If I’m not listening, how do I know she’s said the same thing 3 times?

    I so look forward to summer vacation – not.


  12. I had to look “fount of knowledge” up because I tend to say font but I’m never sure. Turns out that no one is ever sure, even Google. Basically, we can use either. I am positive that you want to know this.


  13. Preschool! No! The horrors! 😉 I kid you. I do however relate to the bit about the talking children. And preschool may just make her condition worse. My boys come home from PreK every day and run their mouth from the moment they see me until they go to sleep. They have so many stories to tell me and so many questions. So. Many. Questions. And then my 11 yr old will attempt to explain things to them and they have to validate what she says with me, as if she could not possibly be right. Slowy, they are beginning to trust her.

    But, when no one is around, I turn up the music so loud that it pushes all thoughts from my mind and lets my brain rest for a minute. My brain never seems to stop, it is maddening. If I am not dead tired when I go to bed, I will lay there forever thinking. Or thinking about not thinking! When I listen to music, loudly enough, it seems to act as a tonic for my over-active brain. It serves as a meditation sort of. I love me some loud music =)


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