Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Operation Complete

So how did it go?? I thought you would never ask.
First off I must say that our dog is the loudest dog in the world. Even just walking across the kitchen floor is a noisy endevor, put a toy in her mouth and she thrashes about, runs and goes crazy. Add a ball to the mix and she is ripping up and down the hallway like a torando. This is why I believe dogs are not allowed in apartments. Not to mention the THUMP THUMP of her tail against the wall as she walks down the hall. So today she was the noisiest soul in the house but for the experiments sake we ignored her, afterall had we been truly in an apartment she would not even be present.
Let's just say our family failed terribly!!! As in kicked out of the complex. The lady downstairs would not only rap on the ceiling and call the police; I am pretty sure she would egg our car and leave mean messages in our mailbox.
I discovered that my kids believe that to get from point A to point B you MUST run. And running as pointed out before is a NO NO in an apartment, it is not a quiet way to go about the house. After reminding them many times they finally developed a light footed canter. And remembered to use it...most of the time.
I discovered that my kids feel it is necessary and acceptable to yell my name from any location in the house at any decibal they feel fit. Especially the three year old. "Mommy!!!! I would go to the room they were in, remind them to use their quiet voice and then they would whisper until the next crisis i.e. wipe their butt. Then it was back to "MOMMY, please can you wipe my butt?" And once I was in the room it was back to whispers. I am sure the lady downstairs enjoyed hearing my child's potty needs.
As we did school I noticed the house settled into a nice quiet routine. I am sure the lady downstairs was smiling. That was until my kitchen chairs got pushed away from the table and their was a horrendous SCREECH across the floor. Yup, this is why kitchens are carpeted in most apartment dining rooms. I get it now. Then there was the throwing away of some trash and the door did a double slam as my knee brushed up against it. Wince, double wince. Thankfully our lesson plans for today had two very time involved projects. Making pretzels. Rather quiet. Next melting broken crayons into "rainbow crayons." Which involved sorting the broken from the still intact, stripping them of their paper, and placing them in a foil lined muffin tin. Again rather quiet. If you ignore the chair SCREECHING every time you move it even an inch. Then yes it was a very quiet hour. But school was far from over and our day far from done.
There were many little sounds that I tune out daily. Marbles rolling this way and the other, yeah, it would be rather annoying to the lady downstairs. And the fire truck that my little girl loves to drive around, foot powered, does not always follow the straight path of the hallway. No it runs into the wall, many many times. Again I usually tune this kind of stuff out.
I discovered today that my kids do not step out of their chairs, they jump out of their chairs. THUMP.
Recess was a welcome break and I was more than eager to shove the kids outside to run about. I perked it up by explaining that they could run, yell, jump and be very very loud outside. DS was very eager and suited up in his snowsuit and not so quiet snow boots and TRAMPED outside where he played for an hour. DD wanted nothing to do with the cold, no snow suit, no boots, no go on the outdoors. So we decided we would try and dance...quietly, go ahead laugh. I thought it could be done. I put on Selahs Greatest Hymns, nice, relaxing, slow moving, I was thinking ballerina like grace across the room. So DD tries to swirl gracefully around and trips over a shoe on the floor. CLUNK down she goes and the lady downstairs hit the floor twice. We giggled and she hit the floor again. We got back up and tried again. Yet the music was too quiet for little girl. So she turned up How Great Thou Art to the full volume of our speakers. Doh. Too loud. As if a worship song could be considered too loud. We turned it down and I whisked her around the room. Trying ever so carefully to use the tips of my toes. I thought to myself this may work for a little girl but there is NO WAY my son would go for ballerina hour for recreation indoors. Push ups and sits ups, yes, dancing yes but surely not the quiet type.
Later as DD finished her snack she put her dishes in the sink, only she did not set them in the sink, they CRASHED into the sink. My son comes in from outside, STOMP STOMP STOMP. Reminder of the quiet as a mouse, to which he rolls his eyes. Humor me kid, humor me.
We went on with our day, we did more school. We talked about On Fire For Him and her kids. We talked about the real lady downstairs for them and how she called the police because the kids were running down the hall. He liked hearing about their world. My son began to taunt the "pretend" lady downstairs at our house. If I reminded him to be quiet he would give a good STOMP and then comply. There were a few times he said, I am done playing this quiet as a mouse "game". On with school. As long as they were at the table there was relative peace. There was still an occasional scwabble, which leads me to my next point. There is no such thing as a quiet TANTRUM. A crying fit can not be hushed. I can only imagine what the lady downstairs thinks of us now, I know she is not amused. THRASHING, STOMPING, SCREAMING, CRYING, sitting on her bed, "MOMMY!!!" Yes this happens to me.
Hopscotch was the recommended activity for my cirriculm, before DS came in from outside I tried it out with little hops and found that while the thumping was not present the CREAKING of our floor was. So I passed on it, no hopscotch, no jumping jacks. Instead we made card houses and played board games.
Later in the evening I was entertained by my happy son who started dancing about. I reminded him we were still being quiet. To which he replied. "I was dancing like Happy Feet. Do I sound just like him?" I am sure he did and I am also pretty sure that the lady downstairs did not care one bit about his dancing even if it did sound like Happy Feet. For I concluded that she must be an old crab with a snaggle tooth, she must have never had children of her own or she would have compassion on a stay at home mother who is with her children ALL DAY, and she would know that it is not possible to keep a child "quiet" for such a length of time. Nor is it for the better health of a child or his family to keep them quiet all day.
I found this experiment to be very enlightening. I find that I have a whole lot of compassion for On Fire For Him and a whole lot of respect. How does one raise her family to be respectful without compromising the happiness of her children. Kids do need to be kids. They do need to play and run and jump. No not all day long. But these things are not bad, these things are good. I would be sad if my kids did not have the energy that they do. If they moved about their day in a lull, video hypnotis kind of state. I think that there are natural rhythms in a day that allow for quiet times and times of activity. I do think learning to be quiet is an important thing. One needs to be quiet during a church sermon or when their mother is on the phone. They need to be respectful around others and learn to control their impulse to act crazy. There are places where it is not appropraite to run from point A to point B. So training these things are important. But living them day in and day out I would find incredibly difficult and compromising to our quality of life.
So give me my silly, running, jumping, laughing, dancing, LOUD kids any day of the week. And the lady downstairs can either join in the fun or she can move.

My name is Sarah and I live in a noisy house and ONLY after all are asleep is it ... quiet as a mouse.


This Journey of Mine said...

You have no idea how much I giggled over this all day long. I can't believe that you and your kids actually did this "experiment." And it was really neat to read what you learned out of it. How sweet that you and your children talked about the "real life" situation! I learned alot today. First, I was thankful that God gave me a reason to really chuckle at the situation. And second, I thought alot about the woman downstairs and what she is dealing with. Which brought me to my third, lesson, forgiving her.
It is the end of the day for me and though my children did thump around alot, I felt at peace with the lady downstairs.
You really blessed me today! Make sure you tell your kids, that I appreciated them doing this experiment!! They brought joy to me!

momteacherfriend said...

Other random things thought from yesterday....

Homeschooling is great, we can take even social things and make mini experiments out of them. We truly can pretend to be anyone, anywhere with a bit of imagination.

I thought a lot about the "grace growers" in our lives, like the lady downstairs. How we react to them is our choice, we can be resentful or we can see them where they are at in life and choose to love them. They may be hurting, they may need God, they could have just lost a job or a loved one...you never know what others are going through. You never know what brought them to a place of anger or bitterness. So love them.

I am thankful for a fenced in backyard. I thought about this as I scooted my 5 year old son out the back door. I know in many complex's the kids must be a certain age before they are permitted to play outside alone. And even if they are of age, there are more potential dangers and boundries, when it is not your own property.

No apartment manager in their right mind should ever put a young stay at home family above anyone but the deaf.

Families of young children would probably be best on the first floor.

I thought of our apartment days...and when we lived in our apartment we were on the second floor. There was a single mom above us with two kids. They were gone most of the day. They were at school and childcare while the mom worked. So they were in the apartment maybe 3 or 4 hours a night. There were times when the kids would run about but overall it was not too bad. Because they were out more than they were in. And we were a blessing to that family. Many times the son would come done and play games or we would bake cookies. Relationship. I did not mind the noise because I knew the name behind it.

God is good and he can teach a good lesson.

It is not only my children that yell from anywhere and any decibal. I too yell back to them throughout a normal day. I didn't realize how much.

Don't underestimate the power of a post. It can change someone's day.

Mindy Richmond said...

Now I know why it's so hard to keep your kids from running in my house! I don't allow running mainly because it's dangerous with the wood floors. I try to drill this into them but they always forget.

I also try to teach them no throwing in the house, and they do great with this rule until Mike comes in and starts playing catch with them in the living room. Oh well.

Overwhelmed! said...

What a funny post! I think we'd fail miserably in such an experiment. At almost 2 years old, Snuggle Bug is the chattiest chatterbox now! And he does not understand the concept of an inside voice. He yells, squeals, and roars with laughter in his excitement. And did I mention he nearly bounces off the walls with all of his toddler energy? :)

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Also, I wanted to be sure to say "thanks" for your kind comment on my Adoption #2- We’ve Got a Lead! post. I do appreciate your heartfelt prayer!

Anonymous said...

You are lucky! My nights are not peaceful...my husband snores.

Wild about Doll Houses