Tuesday, April 12, 2011

At least my hearing is good

I am often amazed by the different sounds I can identify throughout my house during the day while in another room. For instance, I know which child just hit which other child just by the sound of the slap. I also know each and every time a certain child got up and snuck into the bathroom after bedtime the other night (4 times over the course of 2 hours), and I also know, just by the sound, that SHE DID NOT ACTUALLY HAVE TO GO. She just didn't want to go to sleep (and thanks to her antics, my sleep schedule got thrown off, too). I can hear when toilet paper is joyously being unrolled straight into the toilet by a toddler. And interestingly, the other day I was clearly able to distinguish exactly which knives that same toddler was pulling out of the knife block. One of my favorite sounds is the moment a child goes from pounding on the bathroom door with a fist, to lying on the floor and kicking the door. It is accompanied by the sound of defeat, in case you were wondering.

The one sound I truly cannot determine, though, is the silence after I emerge from a solo shower. And by solo, I don't mean that I was singing, I mean by myself, with no other people. And if I indeed had the opportunity to shower by myself, chances are, I took my time. And I probably sat down on my shower bench for a while and contemplated the wall. I would blame that little hobby on my pregnancy, other than I do it all the time. Sure, my mind occasionally wanders with concern that my children are up to something, but generally I am able to calm myself by thinking, "It's probably too late to stop them now, I might as well take my time."

However, once I leave the shower and can actually hear, then I start to worry. I turn off the water, I turn off the exhaust fan, I may even turn off the ceiling fan in the bedroom, and I cock my ear to the bedroom door. Silence. But what kind of silence? Is it the sound of happy children, playing quietly and contentedly in the other room (wishful thinking)? Is it the sound of brain dead children, immobile in front of the television (realistic wishful thinking)? Or is it the sound of children who are no longer able to speak, and are barely breathing in the aftermath of the havoc they have wreaked during the 15 (30) minutes I was ignoring them?

The simple answer is not so simple. It seems obvious that I should just open the door and see what is going on. But alas, despite the fact that my children cannot hear their own name shouted at them from 2 feet away, they are intimately tuned into the sound of my bedroom door opening and will come running as soon as it is cracked. Then, as I attempt to complete my daily beauty regimen, I will be subjected to many questions, such as, "Why are you wearing that? What is that for? Why does your body look like that?" I will also have to fight the toddler for every makeup brush and product I attempt to use. I will have to fish things I don't want thrown away out of the trash can and/or toilet. And I will have to break up fights. Assuming, of course, that this is a day when I actually groom myself. The chances of that happening decrease dramatically with each additional child in my room.

Also, if I leave the room before getting dressed, and they are indeed near death, I know I will immediately become consumed with life saving tactics and concern for their well being, and will be physically and mentally unable to dress myself at that point. And that means 911 would be showing up at my house to find that not only was I neglecting my children, but I like to be nude while I ignore them. I'm thinking being fully clothed, maybe even in a coordinating outfit, would make me look much better.

So I try to find a happy medium. I try to at least get my underwear on, and some of my clothes. Because it is not so easy to try to wipe the bottom of a toddler who has taken off her poopy pullup and started trying to climb onto the potty by herself when you are also trying to hold your towel up at the same time. And, as I learned today, it is much easier to clean a lot of chocolate shredded wheat out of the fish tank while wearing pants.


Matt said...

Oh Ruth, I haven't laughed so hard out loud in a LONG time. I even read this post to Matt and could barely get through it through my laughing. I think I find it so hilarious because all of it rings SO TRUE to me. Before I go up to shower, I always chain our front door (so no kids can escape) and pull the front room shades shut. That way when I have to run downstairs to attend to an emergency or break up a fight at least the whole world doesn't see me wrapped in a towel or in my underwear. and staring at the shower wall--I do that too--in an effort to drag out the relaxation and peace and quiet. that is, when I don't have two little girls right there besides me. anyways, thanks for the laughs.

Matt said...

sorry, that was not Matt---how funny! It's Lindsay here :)

The Bunker Family said...

They make chocolate shredded wheat?!?! Where have I been?

Sandy said...

That was awesome - SO my life! Last time I was thrilled that the 2 year old didn't come in to the bathroom (she can pick the lock with a butter knife) yelling, "I'm stinky, too! I want to get in!" - then found her very proudly sitting at the kitchen table with three open pudding cups and several smashed peanut butter crackers (of course, the ORANGE kind) all over the place. Sigh. It's a good thing I don't have a fishtank :)

FrancesMarie said...

Oh Ruthie, you make my world all better. Thank you.