Kids are freaking loud. I know people know this, and you probably shouldn’t have kids if you don’t expect your auditory nerves to be grated most minutes of the day. I mean, you can tell a kid to be quiet and exactly five seconds later—no exaggeration—they will forget. Or something. Who knows why the attention span of the young is so very short?
Actually, I think it’s less that their brains can’t retain instruction, and more that they are insular beings who don’t really see past the end of their own nose.
But holy Hannah, my daughter has two friends over right now and I have to hold myself back from scolding them every minute about something they’re doing, the volume they’re doing it at, and the mess they’re making in the process. I have to, because I know my daughter goes to their houses a lot and probably does the same thing. And I don’t want to be that scary parent who keeps everyone from having fun. I had one of those growing up, and then nobody wants to come to your house. I want my kids to have the kind of house that all their friends feel comfortable in, where they have the most fun, where they ask to hang out at the most. I almost never had friends over to my house growing up. We couldn’t watch TV or listen to music, we had no furniture in our rec room so there was almost nowhere to hang out. We usually had such popular after-school snacks as raisins, carob chips or fruit. And my dad was always home by 4pm (too early) and everyone was scared of him because he was strict (still is).
Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to be a permissive parent. I will not let my kids watch anything on TV just because it will embarrass them to turn it off in front of their friends. And I won’t be buying cupcakes when a whole-grain banana loaf will do. And I certainly won’t say come do pot at our house and not at the elementary school playground Friday night so that I can ensure your “safety”. I can’t permit things I feel are bad for my kids, just because I fear they will be exposed to it anyway or otherwise think I’m lame. But I do want to have the house that, despite getting turned upside down during a rousing game of Let’s Make a Potion in the Livingroom Using Mud, Leaves and Bird Poo! welcomes kids and makes them want to be here.
I have to remind myself of this right now. Two of the friends were in the bathroom shrieking and I did not hear a toilet flush, nor water running. I have to physically turn my head away from every place their hands are now touching. I must ignore the dirt being tracked in every time they run out to the deck to get more “ingredients” for their potion, knowing I’ll have yet another mess to clean up later. And I especially have to refrain from comment when they can’t keep their voices at a reasonable decibel when the baby is napping. Which means I may not get my break. But my kids will be happy if I exercise some restraint here, and that’s half the battle when raising kids, right?