A room of her own? Earplugs. I’ll settle for earplugs

Suess Landing at Universal Studios' Islands of...

I didn’t turn on the radio; that was my first mistake–should have let CBC Radio One fill the void of noise, or the latest BBC Horrible Histories CD. But even though it was only 10 a.m., I had had my fill of noise, and so while we drove through the snow-covered streets, I didn’t turn on the radio.

And so. First, Cinder:

“Um-ta-um-ta-um-ta-um-ta…”

To the beat of some YouTube video… I bet you know the one. I don’t, because I’m a negligent parent, and no longer supervise my 10 year-old when he youtubes (look, I made a verb. Take that Oxford Dic). And Flora joins in:

“Moist. Moist. Moist. Moist. Moist.”

If you watch How I Met Your Mother, bet you can name the episode. Yes, my eight-year-old watches How I Met Your Mother. On Netflix. Unsupervised. And while I’d love to claim that this experience will ensure she will never date a man like Barney… I have to confess, she’s got a thing for his pecs. And I suspect she thinks she might be able to reform him. Sigh.

“Um-ta-um-ta-um-ta-um-ta…”

“Moist. Moist. Moist. Moist. Moist.”

And now, enter Ender.

“Fox in Socks! Fox in Socks! Foooooooox! Iiiiiiiiin! Sooooooooocks!”

Dr. Seuss? I hate you. And I particularly hate you in this car, and if this goes on much longer, I will hate you on a star, and I will hate you here and there…

Cinder’s chants morphs into:

“I’ve got the moves like Biscuit, I’ve got the moves like Biscuit, I’ve got the mooooooves like Biscuit.”

(If you’ve got a Minecrafter in the house, you’ll get the double-reference; if not, don’t worry. But yes, this version is just as annoying as the original.)

Flora morphs How I Met Your Mother and Dr. Seuss and starts chanting:

“Box. Box. Box. Box. Box. Box. Box.”

Ender starts free-forming:

“This is my song and I am singing! I am singing! AS! LOUD! AS! I! CAN!”

And me? Well, it’s been 10.5 years of sometimes-screaming children and 3.5 years of three of them howling in the car at the same time. I’ve got coping strategies. The best one, frankly, is noise-cancelling earphones (earplugs will do in a pinch). But I ain’t got them one me right now, so instead, I leave only a small fraction of self driving the car–just enough not to break any major laws or rear-end any bad drivers. The rest… the rest is in a bathtub. Gloriously alone. In a gloriously silent bathroom. Underwater… disassociating…

The cacophony continues. I’m now not just in a gloriously silent bathroom, but in a gloriously silent hotel room. Oh God. Yes. Please. Silence envelopes me, surrounds me. The outside is snowy and quiet. The inside–can’t even hear the central heating. The phone’s unplugged.

“I’ve got the moves like Biscuit, I’ve got the moves like Biscuit, I’ve got the mooooooves like Biscuit.”

“Box. Box. Box. Box. Box. Box. Box.”

“This is my song and I am singing! I am singing! AS! LOUD! AS! I! CAN!”

Silence. Oh yes. It’s a beautiful thing.

I try not to resent the happiness my children–most children–take in creating cacophony. If it’s noise of happiness and joy, I can usually ride it out. Β Feel fantasy water fill my ears; disappear into my head. But sometimes… oh, the real thing is the only thing that will do. Silence. All around me.

“Mom?”

Flora breaks with the noise. We’re parked in front of our destination.

“Mom? You have that horrible creepy look on your face, like you’re not here. Mom? Mom?”

“Sorry, babe. Just thinking.”

Liar. I’m not thinking. I’m just listening to… silence.

I’ve been away wallowing in silence–just me and my laptop and no Internet, in the mountains–for a glorious interlude and thus a bad citizen of the blogosphere. While catching up is impossible–I’ll be around more this week so if you’re a new visitor and commentator, I will pop by your cyberplace soon. Unless I get swallowed up by silence again. It was… glorious. Simply glorious. I’m jonesing for it already…

35 thoughts on “A room of her own? Earplugs. I’ll settle for earplugs

  1. I usually imagine myself in a bubble.
    (And I always hear that song as “Moves Like Welker,” who is an American football player on our local team, and someone did a parody of the song with video of him. I hadn’t even heard the original at that point.)

  2. I just love your stuff, Lady.

    I used to have music blaring every minute of the day. But since having kids it seems like just that additional hub-bub is enough to send me running to another room for a second of quiet. I almost never have the radio on anymore. And when I do, it’s not rock these days, it’s podcasts or folkie. Funny how things change.

  3. This is another of your posts that makes me breathe a long happy sigh of relief that someone else gives their kids a very long rein when it comes to YouTube and TV consumption!

    I totally relate to creating your own inner silence, too. My 9 year old daughter is appalled at my lack of attention when we’re listening to an audiobook in the car. I go off on lovely imaginary jaunts and when I switch back in I have to get the kids to catch me up on something crucial in Eragon. “But how could you not have HEARD, Mummy? You’ve been here the whole time!”

    Love your stories – keep ’em coming πŸ™‚

    ps while not driving, I find the “brainwave” iphone app does the trick – euphoria-inducing ocean waves to cook dinner by instead of Minecraft commentary, oh yes.

  4. Oh you poor woman. Confined with a beat boxer is bad enough, but let the other two join in and you’ve got yourself one royal headache of a song! I give you credit for not putting the kibosh on the concert, though. I would have been inclined to either join in, louder and prouder than the rest, or simply told everyone to shut their traps. I learn so much from you, Jane πŸ™‚

    • I don’t sing. Not even for the love of my children. And I reserve the “Everyone shut the fuck up NOW!” card only for real emergencies. Like, you know, back seat fights that draw blood.

  5. Ha! Reminds me of that old Calgon bath soap commercial “Calgon take me away!”

    This is why I hand my kids video games when we’re in the car…I’ll get our “quality time” in some other time.

  6. Why oh why brilliant woman have I never thought of ear plugs? I love it! I was right there in the car with you…mainly because it sounds like a car ride for us on a daily basis. I’m adding ear plugs to my shopping list this week and if I should forget them I will find my peace in the silence as well. πŸ˜‰
    Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy: visiting (and will return) from Don’t Be a Bloghole Blog Hop! πŸ™‚
    http://www.outsmartedmommy.com

    • Disclaimer: there might be laws against wearing earplugs while driving. But there ought to be laws against singing three songs simultaneously at a driver too. πŸ™‚ (Enjoyed my first visit to your blog immensely, btw.)

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