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.)