Monday, March 15, 2010

Normal

Sometimes raising three boys is a loud, chaotic, frantic and repetitive bundle of stress. They fight, argue, jump, bounce, hit, stumble, fight, and throw things all day long; and this is when they are just playing and being nice. They do all this playing in a very loud way. My wife and I try to teach them to use their "inside" voices but I think, that they think, when we say "inside", it means use the voice you would use if you were inside a stadium.

As a parent I am always "on". Constantly in a state of being ready to react to the sound of something breaking or the cries and tears of pain or sadness. Basically it is self induced stress.
My wife and I do our best to keep each other in check. We try to offer each other breaks, time away from the house, from the chaos, from the noise, for own peace and sanity.

Lauren might go to a craft store or JoAnn's fabrics for a hour or so to get away for a bit after a long day of having her patience tried. I may venture off to a book store, to sip some coffee and browse the shelves at a leisurely pace when I am feeling my nerves start to fray.

We go to a places for a little down time to feel normal, because, sometimes, when you have said "Don't do that. You are going to get hurt" for the seventy fifth time in a day, normal is what you need. Normal adult conversation and interactions without interruption is a welcomed necessity. Walking through a parking lot into a store at a normal pace, not herding children or pushing some type of wheeled containment device, from time to time is essential to not going crazy. We try to find peace. And quiet.

I recently discovered a new place to go and find peace. Not quiet, but peace and a chance to feel perfectly normal. I go to the Burger King by myself and I sit close to the play area. I sip my coffee and I listen to the noise. The sounds of kids screaming, laughing, yelling and carrying on. I eavesdrop on the parents chatting or talking to their kids. I hear, over and over again, the same things being said to each kid multiple times; "Come over here and eat", "No you cannot take your socks off", "don't hit your brother" and "Don't do that. You are going to get hurt." I hear the tantrums, the screaming the crying and the parent's muffled disciplinary threats said through gritted teeth.

I sit and listen to the parents struggle with their children.

I find peace in the fact that other children are just as loud as my children. I find peace in the fact that other parents are saying the same thing to their kids as I do to mine. I take it all in. I realize and reflect on the fact that I am normal, my kids are normal and that we are blessed.

Then I smile and laugh to myself as I find joy in the fact that I can just sit there and not have to react to anything. None of the kids in the play area are mine.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess your used to the strange looks the parents give you sitting alone by the playground with out a child actually in the playground!!!!lol

Anonymous said...

I guess you are used to the looks that the parents give you for sitting by the playground without actually having a child in the playground!!! lol

Charity Donovan said...

Anytime you need a little "normalcy" in your life...give me a ring...I'll put you on speaker phone & you can eat your heart out! lol! =)

Anonymous said...

I just love to sit and have my tea and read this blog and know that my days of noise and boyhood play are behind me. It pleases me to see the boy who contributed to my noise is now experiencing his own. What joy! Some day they'll be gone..don't spend too much time in the Burger King alone or the book store...They'll be adults before you know it. :):):)momo9

Anonymous said...

CHERISH THE NOISE!

SciFi Dad said...

The thing is, after an hour's respite from the noise, I find myself longing for it, or at least its sources.

James said...

A-friggin'-men.

Anonymous said...

You have now forced Burger King employees to be "on"

eclectic said...

I take it opening weekend went well, then, since you are writing here again? Congrats! ;)

Also, "normal" is a fascinatingly subjective measure of an objective concept, isn't it? You are blessed, my normal friend. We all are.

gigglepotamus said...

By the time "normal" is normal again, it will no longer feel normal...

Bogart in P Towne said...

I enjoy blogging, but some days it is very comforting to just pop over here and read...of course I then get freaked out by the story of the creepy bearded man checking out the kids at the burger king playground.

Effie said...

how many times a day do you have to say "don't sit on your brother" or "what did i say?!"

That would be comforting, to sit with a coffee and know those kids in the background aren't yours...

Melinda said...

Bogart hit on what I was thinking!
Momo9, you deserve some quiet time!

Kidding aside, you are right to take some time away and also that your children are totally normal.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Hilarious. I too can't be away too long without feeling guilty about it. I have myself resigned to it.

for a different kind of girl said...

I wish I could come by that same sense of Zen enlightenment from my hours in the bookstore children's department, but honestly, I spend so much time quietly encouraging kids not to climb things because they could get hurt and picking up them that I feel like I'm actually parenting a bunch of kids that I'm technically not responsible for and probably won't be inclined to want to take care of me in my old age!

The Absence of Alternatives said...

What is normal is but in the eyes of the beholder, right? :-)

Nice musings.

Kristin.... said...

I love this. I wish I had more opportunities to get away and regroup. But SciFi dad is right; after awhile, I miss the chaos (just a bit).