Well, I couldn't lie to her, that is what she has to look forward to--all kids do it, some more and some less. But I told her the truth: it's not really that bad.
Of course this got me to thinking after she left. For some reason, every time I write that I've been thinking, I feel like I should put "scary, huh?" after it. So...scary, huh?
But it's true, isn't it? It's not all that bad.
First of all, your gut reaction to other people's kids screaming and yelling is very different from your gut reaction to your own kids screaming and yelling. While other kids may get on your nerves, you tend to analyze your own kids' actions from the Mommy Perspective.
"Well, of course they're running around the house and screaming. They've been cooped up inside for three days and are full of excess energy. It has to come out somehow."
"Well, of course he's crying about every little thing. He's been up half the night for a week now unable to breathe because of his asthma. He's tired and doesn't really feel good and he's cranky. I would be, too."
"Well, of course she's upset that her little sister keeps bugging her--she's at that funky tweenager age and she has a legitimate need for privacy and individuality."
When it's our own kids, we think through the reasons behind the screaming, the yelling, the crying, the fits. We verify reasons for the behavior and do what we can to help (which sometimes is just to let them run off the excess energy, screaming and all).
I guess it's God's way of making mommies who they are. What kind of mothers would we be if every time one of our children cried or yelled we just got irritated and yelled at them? God gave us...Mommy Senses!
Yeah, you know, Mommy Senses! All super-heroes have special senses. Spider-Man had spidey senses. So we get Mommy Senses.
The truth is that you learn to tune a lot of that noise out. You get used to it. You can do a dozen different tasks all while chaos goes on in the background. Kids are kids, and they will be loud and messy. Of course there are times when this is inappropriate and unacceptable, but I've always been of the mind that if we're in our own home and they want to play a game involving lots of shrieking and yelling (you know, like Zombies or Pirates or Ninjas, LOL), I don't care. They're having fun, they're being creative, and they're getting along. Who could complain about that?
The flip side of this is another great perk of Mommy Senses: recognizing the genuine cry for help. You know you've done it. You're sitting at the park (or somewhere else crowded and noisy) and amid all the screams, shrieks, and laughter, you hear it. Your ears perk up, your eyes dart: left, right, center. You hone in on the sound and within seconds you've found the source: a child who has fallen, or gotten hurt, or found a pile of doggy doo under the slide that needs dealing with, or any other such actual emergency. Mommy Senses cut through all the extraneous noise of twenty other children's voices to find that one small voice that belongs to you and is in need of attention.
Mommy Senses are an amazing thing, aren't they?