Boys. Are. Loud.

As the mother of two males, I have realized something about the opposite gender: boys are loud.  They are really, really loud.

Nothing prepared me for this, honestly.  I grew up with one sister and no brothers, and if my memory is correct, the loudest thing Amy and I ever did was put on the record album of Annie and lip-synch with our friends in the living room. And though “It’s a Hard Knock Life” might have lost some of its charm with frequent repetition (want to weigh in, Mom?), it was still Annie, for crying out loud; it’s not like we were headbanging to Iron Maiden.  So yes, I think it is fair to look back and say that my sister and I engaged in play that was relatively low on the decibel scale.  My boys — not so much.

Part of the problem are the hardwood floors we have around here.  They were a huge draw when we bought the house, a time when we could not imagine that we would one day have two boys who would take large plastic vehicles and shoot them careening down the hall into the living room, with such a jarring clatter that I instinctively jump out of my chair to see what is the matter.  Without carpet to slow them down, those trains really fly.  They crash into the walls, break small flecks of paint off of the baseboards, and fill my reckless little  engineers with wild delight.  I am not a nervous or edgy person, usually, but wow — that kind of crashing is not conducive to inner peace.  Trust me on this.

It finally got so bad around here that I took the favored plastic trains and put them high, high up in my closet, way out of reach.  I informed my woebegone boys that the trains needed to take a little rest, which is a textbook example of projection.  I felt ever-so-slightly mean, but when locomotives lead to loco Mom, the course is clear: Ta-ta, Thomas and friends. I am rather fond of my sanity, and I would like to keep it a little while longer.

It’s a funny thing, though, that there are few perfect answers in parenting.  Noisy play is really, really hard to deal with when you’re already tired and stressed out, but silent play is often not all it has cracked up to be.  I have learned from bitter  experience that when I suddenly look up, aware that I have not heard from the boys in a while, it is a sure sign that Lukey is in our bedroom resetting my alarm clock and Matthew is reaching into the toilet to see what poop feels like.   What’s the old saying — be careful what you wish for?  Indeed.

But anyhow, I’d love to get your take on this (whether you have  boys, or girls, or are raising kids of both genders).  Am I right here?  Is there a “loud play” gene in all boys — or just in mine?   Is there anything comparable in girls?  And while I’m asking, did you ever lip-synch to Annie in the living room?  (If you are an American female born between 1970 and 1978, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer.)

6 responses to “Boys. Are. Loud.

  1. Boys: Noise with dirt on it. I get it. I grew up with 3 brothers (They blared Bruce Springsteen albums in the living room from a wooden stereo cabinet that was the size of a deep freezer, meanwhile my mom was in the kitchen mumbling about the double meaning of the words in Born to Run.) It all sounds so innocent now! 😉 I , the 8th generation of “only girl” vividly remember playing These are a Few of My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music over and over again in the dining room while I sang along in front of an imaginary adoring audience. I now have two boys and even my 3 brothers weren’t preparation enough. They are 14 and 11 now and we live in a contemporary 750 sq. ft condo in the city surrounded by neighbors on all sides. I thought the concrete floors were a positive thing until my 1st floor neighbor stopped up to ask my son to PLEASE stop bouncing the golf ball on his head. I could write about this forever…

  2. Girls are loud, too. Not all girls, but mine don’t have a quiet gene anywhere to be found. I hid a loud rumbley camper toy just this morning on top of the fridge because I COULD NOT STAND THE NOISE ANY MORE! I was accused – perhaps quite accurately – of being mean, mean, mean, but I instinctively relate to your need for sanity. Mommy going crazy = bad. A little mean is better than a lot of nuts. Right? Right? Heck, they even shout in their sleep! Oh my….

  3. I have two VERY loud boys. My husband’s mom is from a family of farmers who are ALL very loud (like my ears are ringing for hours after gathering with this family kind of loud). Whenever my boys are loud (always) I just remember it’s in the genes (but not mine). My husband isn’t loud though, somehow he was spared. One of my girls is louder than the other, but she doesn’t even remotely compare to the boys (although her nickname as a baby was “the mouth” because she was a screamer). We also have hard wood floors, but to top it off, we have all vaulted ceilings on our top floor and very high ceilings on the bottom floor. When we first moved in, I thought I’d go crazy from the noise. Curtains and rugs were a definite priority and those things have helped tone it down considerably, although I can still talk in my normal voice from our bedroom and my kids can hear me downstairs (when they’re not ignoring me, that is). The acoustics here are something else….which makes SINGING all songs from “Annie” a definite MUST! I just brought our kids to the Mpls Children’s Theater THIS WEEK to see “Annie”! I was way more excited than they were, but only because they didn’t know what to expect, even though I had been singing the songs to them in full voice for a couple of weeks. Now they have been convinced of the awesomeness of “Annie” and we’re all singing together! 🙂 (I guess I’m on the tail end of the “Annie” generation, born in 1978.) 🙂

  4. Victoria DeBayle

    Although born slightly after the 1970s…my school’s sixth grade performed a musical every spring and my sixth grade year, it was “Annie.” Against all odds, my drama teacher was cookoo enough to give me the part of Annie (after years of trying out for a solo at the school concerts and never ever getting one). That year, I’m sure my parents wanted nothing more than to give me a mute button. Songs, lines, the whole shebang was practiced over and over again. My “professional” musical career ended after that but I still keep singing the songs….”The sun’ll come out tomorrow…” 🙂

  5. I looooove all of these stories (and I feel better to know that I’m not the only one with insanely loud offspring!). And yay for “The Sound of Music,” too — another classic that has spawned a thousand lip-synchs.

    And no matter how loud it gets at home, it is a comfort that the sun’ll come out tomorrow …

  6. Yes! I have one 4 year old boy who makes the noise of 50!!! He loves jumping off of the couches and beds and yelling. He role plays knights, sumarais, and of course Luke and Darth Vader. So Ginny you are not alone. I love your blog and look forward to reading it everyday!!