Many of the things I experience on an everyday basis with four children ages 4 and under are not a surprise. I EXPECT there to be messes. I EXPECT there to be fighting. I EXPECT there to be dirty hand prints on the sink. I even expected the mounds of sand I found scattered in the playroom yesterday.
So I have expected lots of the mayhem and mishaps. Not that it makes them easy or fun to deal with, but they were things I had thought would happen, so that helped me, well, deal with them.
But there is one thing I didn't expect. Something I wouldn't have forecast or would have thought was a big deal. Something that sounds pretty predictable, but you really don't know what it's like until you're smack dab in the middle of it.
Y'all, my kids are L.O.U.D.
I can see you all laughing now. "Well, duh, of course they're loud! They're little kids who scream and yell and play." And I would say to you, "Yes, yes, I KNOW about that kind of loud. The loud where the kids are running and laughing and yelling to each other. This is sooooo not the same thing I am talking about, my cyber space friend."
You see, it's loud in our house all the time. The kids are always competing with each other for face time with me. They all have certain points to be made or ideas to share and somehow they always seem to want to share these thoughts and ideas at the EXACT SAME TIME. So they try and talk over each other in order to be heard. Loudest one gets the attention, right? Well, that's the method in our house.
And I know that other people have the kids talking over each other problem, so that's not unique to our family either. You see, the problem has become that my kids now talk loud ALL THE TIME. Even if they are facing me one-on-one with no competing sibling to steal their thunder. I think they have gotten so used to yelling at me to be heard that they think it is the sole method of communication accepted in our household. The following conversation took place this morning ...
*Please note that this entire conversation is taking place inside my personal bubble ... so about 3 feet from my face.
Sam: "MOM!!! WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY?!?!?"
Me: "Today is a school day, so we're going to school."
Sam (inching closer, 2 feet away now): "COOL! CAN I BRING MY NEW AIRPLANE TO SCHOOL?"
Me (recoiling): "Sam, dude, I am RIGHT HERE bud. You don't need to yell at me."
Sam: "Oh, sorry Mom."
Me: "Now, what were you saying?"
Sam: "I'M SO EXCITED TO GO TO SCHOOL ... CAN I TAKE MY AIRPLANE?!?!"
It's never ending and I feel like I'm getting reprimanded by three foot tall disciplinarians all day long. I am constantly reminding them to "talk softly" and "did you notice that I'm standing right here in front of your face while you're yelling at me?" I know it's just what they've grown accustomed to when competing for air time, but it can get pretty embarrassing. You would think my kids have never been to a Target or grocery store if you saw us walk in one day. Normal mundane comments get amplified and it sounds like I cage them in the attic all day and they never get out.
"MOM, LOOK! SHOPPING CARTS!"
"LOOK! THEY HAVE APPLES HERE!"
"MOM! WHAT DOES P-R-O-D-U-C-E SPELL?"
"I NEED TO POTTY!"
"MOM, WHAT'S THAT STINKY SMELL? IS THERE A SKUNK IN HERE OR DID YOU TOOT?"
"LOOK, MOM! THIS STORE HAS VINO! HAHA! DIDN'T YOU SAY YOU NEEDED MORE VINO?"
"I FEEL MY PEE PEE COMING OUT!"
"MOM, WHY DOES THAT GIRL HAVE GREEN HAIR?"
I've been mortified on several occasions. And it's hard because they really are having normal conversations at the (mach 10) decibel level they are used to conversing in. It's just that when we have to try and assimilate into the real world it becomes very obvious that I have four really LOUD talkers on my hands. The only strategy that seems to work so far is if we play the quiet game in the store and only talk in hushed whispers for the duration of the trip. I realize this may make us look even crazier than if we were loud talking, but I'll take my chances. Better to think I'm crazy that to have my kids broadcast how much vino I'm intending to buy!
What about you? Does anyone else suffer from this problem? I'm dreading the day my kids head to kindergarten and yell at the teacher during introductions. Any ideas how to teach them to talk at a normal decibel level? Please save my hearing!
Here's a taste of what I experience every day ...