The volume level in my house since having kids is exponentially louder than I ever imagined.  I don’t think I ever considered that aspect of life when pondering children.  Sure, babies would cry, kids would require attention, but with three of them now, the overall noise can be, well, LOUD.  On the positive side, the sound of three kids playing together, laughing together, running around playing chase together.  On the negative side, the sound of three children whining, complaining or crying.  I prefer the ‘happy sounds’, but in either case, I don’t always handle it well.

There are times during the day that I simply cannot take another noise.  I just need quiet.  I need everyone to stop talking, to stop requesting something, even to stop playing or laughing, or whatever…I JUST NEED QUIET.

In recent weeks, as I have sat back and watched my husband interact with the kids at night, I have gained a greater appreciation for letting my kids simply be kids.

You see, I can be a bit of  a control freak at times.  Especially by the end of the night, after a long day, I’d be ready to shoo the kids up to bed nice an early.  My husband, on the other hand, having been at work all day, wants them to stay up and play a bit.  Not extravagantly late, but later than I’d choose.  In the past this created a great deal of friction.

For some reason, in the past few weeks, I’ve been able to sit back and relax a bit.  After dinner, when I’m usually trying to round everyone up, instead I’ve been observing.  I observe my husband roll around on the floor as they each try to tackle the ‘big bad wolf.’  I’ve sat back and watched as my children run around the kitchen table – I suppose in some kind of a race – as they did tonight.  For a good 20 minutes the three of them amused themselves running around, ‘exercising’ (as Abigail tells me), laughing and playing with one another.   They were simply being kids.

I am not sure what changed in me that has enabled me to appreciate the childlike exuberance my children have, but I am grateful nonetheless.

The noise can still get to me.  At times I still hush everyone and need a minute of quiet.  But all in all, I am learning to give my children leeway in expressing themselves.  I am recognizing that loud, hearty play is simply play, and not misbehavior that needs correction.  And I am learning to appreciate the differences between myself and my husband, recognizing that maybe, just maybe, his perspective has some merit.

And I know my kids will benefit from these new revelations.  Just in time to start 2011.

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