Those sounds are your children

Last week my kids spent three nights at my parents’ house for spring break and the silence they left behind was disorienting. Our house echoed without the usual songs about giraffes (no other way to sing about giraffes than FORTISSIMO), two-year old proclamations of toy ownership, and surprisingly dead-on impersonations of lightsaber battles to the death.

On our child-free evenings, Keith and I discovered a whole new world of sounds. Who knew our refrigerator hums? I could actually hear the dishwasher running. Apparently, my dog snores and the dryer has an end-of-cycle buzzer. We kept asking each other, “What was that?” like household sound scavenger hunters. I felt like that Passamaquaddy-guy on Pete’s Dragon, “I hear birds chirping ….”

Possibly dating myself with the Pete's Dragon reference.

My phone calls to my mom to check on the kids went something like this:

“Turn down the TV, Mom, I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.”

“The TV isn’t on. Those sounds are your children.”

“Oh. Right. Sorry.”

I’m not sure how my parents do it. It’s not like there’s a gradual increase in volume so they can adjust to the change. IT’S INSTANTANEOUSLY EAR-PIERCING. When the sound was overwhelming they had their own methods of coping: My dad turned down the volume on his hearing aids and my mom called me to remind me to come get the kids on Saturday.

 I am extremely grateful for my parents’ ability to enjoy the kids and do grandparently things in the midst of all the pandemonium … hullabaloo … boisterousness. Granted, I did receive texts from my dad that said things like:

 “Lunch and playground today. Don’t worry Molly’s forehead is just fine.”

I’m sure I should have called to ask about the forehead. But I was too busy telling Keith that I could hear my phone’s text chime from the back of the house.

148 thoughts on “Those sounds are your children

    1. no no no…sigh they don’t, sadly. They talk louder because of the music in their ears, but that is okay it is not really talking anyways. It’s more like whining for things and grumbling on how much you don’t listen to them. LOL

      Great post! My house is loud too and it may be the reason the next couple next door hasn’t had a baby yet ( they said ‘next year’ 2 years ago LOL)

      I love what your father said and I love how you were more concerned about a chime of a phone! That is great 😀

  1. I find it really tough to imagine life after kids. But I find it almost equally difficult to imagine your dad texting, so I guess anything’s possible!

  2. Ah…three days without kids sounds awfully good right now! I hope you guys took advantage of it!


    P.S. Note to other commenters who mentioned teenagers…they only get LOUDER as they get older! I was answering e-mail with MuchMusic (Canadian version of MTV) in the background last night.

  3. Your post left both me and my husband hooting with laughter. Sounds an awful lot like our house. Our three-year old has a volume button permanently set to 11, and our 6-year-old doesn’t walk – she hops, jumps, and bounces, usually while singing. Of course, my husband’s elephant-like sneezes can be heard from around the block, and he has the chutzpah to complain about his abused eardrums.

  4. They do inspire a constant hum of white noise wherever they go, don’t they? But that white noise can turn into shrieks and screams in no time…depending on the Lego that has been stolen or the Nerf gun that was used at point-blank range. Gotta love ’em!


  5. Worthy of Freshly Pressed for certain, and not just because of the picture from Pete’s Dragon! I’m always amazed at the sounds I hear when the boys are gone. However, it takes me a few hours to stop hearing the sounds that AREN’T being heard. I swear I hear the cries and snores of the boys when they are gone. Hardwired in my brain, I suppose.

    1. I know what you mean! The first couple of nights they were gone I kept muting the tv (or my husband) so I could listen for if Molly was crying. Gotta love that Mommy brain!

      Thanks so much for commenting,

  6. Not so dated with the Petes Dragon reference. I’m only in my mid-twenties and it was my favorite movie growing up. In fact, I only clicked on your post because I saw it on the wordpress home page with a picture from Petes Dragon.

    As a currently childless woman, I look to an article like this and think of the fun that has yet to come. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Funny, and well spoken. You’re lucky to have parents nearby to help out. Cherish it. We made the mistake of moving to another state. So, we don’t exactly get a lot of time to ourselves. I know the fridge makes sounds, however, because the little elves that make it work aren’t very quiet.

  8. Lol. That is funny. I really do wonder what sounds can be heard in my house without children. Nights when they sleep I do get kind of freaked out so I am sure it is Mad quiet. I got three boys and they are now driving containers back and forth cross the floor my brain is hurting. Glad you got a break. Tempting me.

  9. Woah that would be a tough job to do,,kids are suppose to be very active and hyper that they dont care anyone as long as they are enjoying just like my younger brother who always scream when he is hungry..:)

  10. What a great post!
    My partner and I just returned from living in Haiti for a year where it is VERYNOISYALLTHE TIME! We were shocked by the quiet that is Kentucky. We listened to the silence. It deafened!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Wait till you here all the noise that is COMMENT-MODIUM!

  11. I totally remember the Pete’s Dragon movie! I am so glad I read your post today… It got me laughing and it’s not even 8am here! I also get texts from my dad of a similar nature. I love reviewing the pictures that were taken while my kids were in my parent’s care. My sons, ages 2 and 5 are always in each others clothes (you’d think my dad would be able to tell the difference with the sizes in all, but alas…not!).

    Funny! Love it.

    1. I love texts from my parents! And the pictures that sometimes go with the texts sound like yours — very interesting clothing combinations. But happy children! 🙂

      Thanks for reading – looking forward to checking out your blog.

  12. Sometimes it is so nice to have quietness from the kids, but I know that after so long I would miss the craziness. Kids are great. No matter how much fighting, or noise, or whining or bugging, I know one day when we have an “empty nest” I will miss it.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Those 3 days were a wonderful break but it’s nice to be back to normal. (I write this as my two daughters see if my son can walk with them holding his legs — it’s not a quiet experiment.)


  13. My parents use to tell us that children were to be seen and not heard….

    If I didn’t listen I would never know what they are up too!

    I loved those days sans kids, when I had an hour or two….. I didn’t know what to do first with my free time…..engage in an uninterrupted phone call, grab a silent shower, or fly to the Bahama’s……tough choice….

    spread the humor.

  14. I just have one child and it’s like I’m in a silence chamber if she’s not there. Amazing how much noise they make. Oh, and the Pete’s Dragon photo caught my eye because that’s been running non-stop in our house lately. Good movie too!

  15. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! This sounds very similar to my daughter’s house; and I too, am amazed that your father texts! My hubby would never do that.

  16. I recently started working with little kids and the first thing that struck me was the noise. I couldn’t hear the other teacher’s instructions or my own thoughts. It was deafening. What I find interesting is how the kids don’t seem to notice all the noise, they have super hearing and can deal with the loudest screams as well as the softest whisper. I enjoy when I get to go home and just be quiet, even for five minutes, it brings me back to adult reality. Oh also, I was so happy to see a reference to Pete’s Dragon, and often forgotten Disney classic.

    1. Thanks! I’ve spent some time in pre-K classrooms and don’t know how you all do it. I’m with you on the kids’ super-hearing. How do they do that? And why does it work especially well on the things you don’t want them to hear!?!


  17. Someday I will have a night at home, without my son, with or without my husband, and I will get to experience quiet. Even just living with one child has desensitized me to repetitive noises and smashing crashes. All refrigerators hum? What a concept! I will find out someday!

  18. As an elementary school teacher, i don’t even notice the noise anymore. I can completely tune it out. When i brought my sister and niece to a school play, the auditorium pre-show was so deafening my 3 year old niece started crying… and i didn’t even notice it was loud.

    Shrill little voices, these kids of ours…

  19. we had a revival of pete’s dragon at our house last year.
    I am the grandmother who now has a house full of a 28-year-old daughter, her 2-year-old son and another 20-year-old daughter. add to that two cats, two large dogs, and a nanday conure (a beautiful but noisy bird) quiet may never come to this house. that is why I love the time I get to go and stay with my husband where he works.
    I also love the grandparenting job….much more fun than parenting.

  20. The noise of the children. Yes, this is why I installed the surround sound system. Without the speakers behind the couch, I’d never hear anything coming out of the television. They only time I hear the refrigerator is at night when they’ve gone to bed. By God they’re noisy! And they never shut up! I want to listen to them. I know I should listen to them, but it’s hard to listen to them ALL of the time. On the other hand I know that when they’re grown and gone, I’ll miss the noise – won’t I? It’s hard to say sitting in the middle of it. What I wouldn’t do for a few days without the cacophony. But that isn’t going to happen. The two of them never seem to coordinate their sleepovers. When one is gone at a friends house, the OTHER one has a friend over. It never ends…

    I guess that’s okay. So long as it never ends.

  21. Great posting! I also have 3 children, but my oldest, the boy, is by far the oldest. I will never forget the first time he attended Kindergarten for an entire day. The silence was deafening. I kept picking up the phone to make sure there was a dial-tone! My daughters actually slept through their naps. By 3 p.m. I had a headache from noise deprivation. Just in time for him to return home 10 minutes later. I will never forget that first year of bliss. Nowadays, the oldest 2 are teens and the youngest is a tween, but my little social butterflies are hardly home at all, and I miss that noise. Don’t worry, you’ll get there too some day, LOL!

  22. As a grandparent, I can identify with your parents. When the grandkids come over for an overnight, there is a period of enjoyment as we get to experience the little ones again, review their latest accomplishments, share with them their new toys of which they are proud, and try to settle into our lives now with grandchildren. After several hours, inevitably, I begin to wonder just how we did it when we were young, raising our kids, and begin wondering, “When are they coming to pick them up?” You forget about the mind numbing cacophony of noise that can be generated from a few young, short people

    Don’t get me wrong, we love the time with the kids, but also we love it when they leave. I know that sounds bad but I think the key phrase in the last paragraph is “we were young”.

    1. I completely understand. My parents love our visits and miss the kids when it’s been too long. Although they seem very willing to round up all the shoes and start my car for me when it’s time to go. 🙂

  23. Pete’s Dragon was a favorite of mine. I shared it with my children during the holidays. Love your blog. Your house/family has familiar echoes. I will be following you, for sure 🙂

  24. Well done on FP’d 🙂 As I read your post I found myself laughing and nodding in agreement. When my kids (5 & 3) aren’t around, I can hear a pin drop, and whilst it is bliss to have quite, I’m not sure I’d like it longterm. One day I’ll even miss it. Excellent post.

  25. In the years between when ours were little to grandkids arriving, we forgot about the VOLUME of having them 1) small and 2) inside. We get it now (again). Enjoy the peace and quiet and try to rest up for the return which is sure to be … glorious! Congrats on FP, too – well deserved 🙂 MJ

  26. I’ve missed your posts.

    How I wish my parents lived close enough to take the kids for overnight. Sadly, 900 miles is a bit far for single night stay.

    Sounds like you’ve adapted well to the new lifestyle.

    Life is still full of chaos here…

  27. My son visited us last weekend with our newest grand daughter. I never thought it would would be so fun being a grandparent. My wife and I got to do some of the things that you mentioned in your post. Although we didn’t babysit we did get to hold Kyla take pictures of her and just enjoy being with her!
    Thanks for sharing your post!

  28. Ah, yes……we complain about the noise when they are in the house and when we have a break from them, the silence becomes eerily deafening.

  29. With one baby, it’s not to loud at my house YET. But when I go home to visit for the holidays, I have 16 nieces and nephews. It gets pretty loud. And my husband can take a nap in the middle of all that chaos! I’m a little jealous of that trick.

  30. I want to be a kid again. Go back to those times when a Nuke disaster, or a war in the middle east had no impact on my life. Go back to the days when corn field and stick could occupy my life for an entire day. Now I resort to Blogs, and the occational designer drink from star bucks.

  31. I am a child, 11 years of age, and everyday I go to school. (Duh.) It is true, we are noisy. Maybe not me personally, I prefer to read a book than shriek, but even in 5th grade, the classroom and school yard sometimes become unbearably loud.
    I 🙂

  32. HA. My parents are so idealistic when it comes to babysitting. They have a room full of toys and an entire entertainment system set up just for their three grandchildren. When the kids aren’t there, they lament about how much they miss them. But when they are… my mother has got her third glass of wine in her hand and my father has got House Hunters on up full blast.

    Thank goodness the kids can brush their own teeth.

  33. I know what you mean. I still live at home and to add on top of that, my families huge and our only volumes are loud and louder. It can get on your nerves, but there is something unsettling about the quiet when no one is around.

  34. FYI- If Dr. Terminus is the focus of ones Petes Dragon reference, then it can never be dated. It is a character that renders space and time more meaningless than my roller-blade pads..

    ” Excuse me folks, I witnessed what happened today and I’m completely sympathetic with you.”

    Dr. Terminus for president, 2012.

  35. Speaking of dating one’s self…When I was a little girl, I loved Pete’s Dragon. I think I had a coloring book of it or something. I watched it a few years ago with my kids and didn’t think it was so great. Same with Benji. I don’t know what I saw in that movie…it was hopelessly boring.

  36. Fabulous post. I’m so glad it was “freshly pressed” so I could find it. I have two toddlers, and they go from quietly playing together to shrieking and tearing clothes of each other within 15 seconds. It’s quite a jolt to my psyche if I allow myself to relax.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  37. I can’t image how noise my future will be with my kids.But I really loves children.Once you have adjust to their noisy,when they don’t make noise any more you will feel something lost.

  38. Nice post! I don’t have kids but I babysite my two nieces. One of them will turn 3 in one month and the smallest one will turn 1 at the end of June. I love to take care of them because I love kids and I’m only 20 years old so I can pretty much take them to the park and actually play with them and watch cartoons together in the living room. But I hear you!
    The big one is already talking and she runs back and forth in our hallway while screaming just for fun and then she is playing with all the books from the bookshelf and running after my dog while my dog is trying to bark her away.
    The little one doesn’t talk yet, but she hasn’t forgotten how to cry. It’s actually quite insane because her mother has spoiled her to the max. And she’s crawling after the dog and it’s just insane!
    Sometimes I can’t hear my phone (while on the highest volume possible) and I can’t hear my parents calling me from the room or the door knocking. But they’re lovely. I’m actually thinking of calling my sister tomorrow morning and ask if I can babysit tomorrow. Haha!

  39. Seriously so hilarious! I read it to my husband and we both laughed out loud! I can’t wait til our kids get to spend a weekend at the grandparents and I get to hear all the cool sounds around my house… hahahaha

  40. HAha that was a great post. Sometimes customers come to the makeup counters with their over rambunctious toddlers. It’s like they have auto tuned them out and just keep talking to the artist about some random lip color and the kids are screaming or jabbing their fingers in shadows and we are scrambling to calm them down. We give each other the look of “oh, that’ll never happen to me”. But every so often you get those quiet, calm kids who we hope we will get and think “oh please let my kids be like that”.

  41. Congratulations on being Freshl Pressed! I would have missed your delightful post otherwise. I love the way you express your life, and ahh…when the children are grown and gone, how you will miss the noise. I have a lot of silence now, and I do like it – but oh, the noise of laughing, playing fighting, fussing children is a delight beyond compare.
    Peace and light to you.

  42. I think of Chuck E Cheese and sensory overload. When they get older they go to their rooms and only talk to you at dinner. So enjoy the noises while you can.

  43. well, it was happened to me.
    suddenly, the childs speaks too loudly. of course, right now they are live at the shore. it was different when they are live in village which is silent and no need to speak loudly.
    for me, it is called adaptation.,
    Nice Post 🙂

  44. This is hilarious! Excellent choice with Pete’s Dragon! It was a definite favorite as a kid.
    Side note: Sometimes I wish Bella (my pit bull of course) would talk, just so I’d know the sound of her voice — I imagine it sounding a bit like Nahla from the Lion King.

  45. Love it! But here’s the burning question on my mind: HOW DO I CONVINCE MY PARENTS OR MY INLAWS TO TAKE MY CHILDREN AWAY? I want to hear the hum of the refrigerator! And I’m tired of hearing everything my mother says when she calls!
    Great post.

  46. Such a wonderful blog post! I had to share! I’ll be back again. I can totally relate. Except for my parents won’t take my kids over spring break… Hmmm I wonder why? 😉

  47. I am so used to my house constantly sounding like a zoo and a three-ring circus in the background. Last week, the planets aligned perfectly and I found myself completely alone in the house for the first time in eons. It was so quiet I found it very unnerving. The silence was louder than my kids.

  48. Haha! So funny and SO true! My in-laws kept my son for a week last year. Everywhere I went I heard phantom baby whines. I woke up swearing he was crying only to be reminded that he was the next state over 🙂

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