Monday, September 14, 2009

Huh? What? Can You Repeat That Please?

I am happy with my car. It is a lovely Mom-U-V with 4 wheel drive, plenty of room for 3 kids, and a lovely Bose 6 disc changer for those times I might want to turn up the music loud enough to do some ear damage.

"What?!", you say, "Does she really listen to loud music with those tender little ears in the back seat?!". Uh. No. Not really. My lovely, more than adequate, Bose speakers are mostly reserved for yet another round of Wee-Sing Bible Songs. It's in slot #1 and has been permanently ensconced there for at least a year. When Mommy can't handle another round of those 64 songs, I switch to the local praise channel and we listen to that for a while. Did I mention my car and its stereo is lovely?

Once every fortnight or so, however, I do get a chance to actually drive for more than 5 miles to the grocery store without kids and take that opportunity to revisit my past affinity for many different kinds of music. I think they'd pretty much all be considered oldies now, though. I haven't the faintest idea what's being played on the radio these days as far as contemporary music.

For that matter, I usually don't have a clue what else is in the other 5 slots of my cd player! Now and then we go on a road trip, or Colby drives the car somewhere, and he changes all the rest of the cd's. And then I'll be heading down the road, blissfully free of kids for a couple of hours, and turn on "Trucker's Jukebox Volume VIII" or something awful like that which completely offends my ears. I'll frantically push random buttons until it switches to the next cd, which will be something like "Southern Rock favorites of the 70's". Yes, admittedly, my husband has questionable taste in music, but I love him anyway.

A few months ago I was on just one of these childless excursions on which my "free time" actually turns into "getting-groceries-without-three-kids-constitutes-as-fun-right?" time. I turned on the cd player to some weird southern oldies rock thing my husband plagued me with that time, switched it over to the next cd, and listened as "Sweet Home Alabama" came on. Well, okay, I thought. Sweet Home Alabama is a classic. Who doesn't like that song? Up until that point I think it was the only Lynyrd Skynyrd song I'd ever heard. I listened to some of the other songs on the cd and actually found myself liking it. My feet were all tapping along to the beat and before I knew it I was playing "Simple Man" over and over and humming along. Go figure. I learned there really is a song called "Free Bird" like so many other songs talk about!

I eventually did pull out the other stuff and replace them with some good old Creed and maybe even some old Alanis after repeatedly trying to pull out my cd case from under the passenger seat while driving.

And then I turned it up.

See, I never really went to many concerts when I was young. If I were to count them all up, it would be in the neighborhood of, oh, six. And those were all pretty tame. No Creed, no Garth Brooks. 4 of them were outdoor concerts. So, you see, I figure I still have plenty of room on the ear-burning scale to enjoy a loud car trip now and then.

But lately I've been rethinking this.

When my first child was born, life was still pretty quiet. The loudest noises he made were BRrrrrmmmmp'ing his lips to make the sound of a truck, or the clanging of a wooden spoon on the bottom of a pot in the kitchen while I made dinner. My job was just slightly more damaging to the ear drums than a librarians.

Then I had a daughter. The girl has a set of lungs. And she knows how to use them. Most people who spend any amount of time with us will comment eventually on how ear splitting her squeals can be. When she gets hurt, she holds her breath, sometimes until she turns an odd shade of purple, and then sucks in as fully as she can and lets it loose. When she's frustrated, well, that's when it gets really interesting.

Right about then I had another daughter. Her big sister taught her well.

"Nip it in the bud!" I hear the grandmas telling me. I think I should have done that when the first girl was about 18 months old, but I was busy having another baby!

The other day I felt like I must be going crazy. I had said "huh? what did you say?" for the 50th time that morning and felt like I needed a hearing aid. Granted, I do have a son with partially paralyzed vocal chords so he's quiet, but come on! This was getting ridiculous!

And then... Emmy got hurt. I heard the initial whimper, and the silence as she commenced holding her breath. I ran to her and grabbed her up into my lap and tried to break her out of her half-panic by asking her where it hurt. Nothing.... Nothing...

Wait for it...

***SCREEEEEEEEEECH!!!!*** Right. In. My. Ear.

When my head stopped ringing, and my brain lost it's fuzziness and came out of it's state of shock, I realized I had been wrong. My job is MUCH louder than a librarian's. It's more like highway construction worker with the jackhammer going Waaay too often. It's a good thing I didn't go to more concerts. I might be stone deaf by now.

I mean, no one tells you when you become a mom that you might lose your hearing some time in your 30's. No one equips you with a sturdy pair of earplugs on a string to keep around your neck so that when your 3 year old falls and bumps her knee you don't have to say to her, "Hold on, dear! Mommy's coming!", while thinking, "... now where did I put those little orange ear plugs?". Of course, that might take away from the whole nurturing/loving thing in the poor child's eyes, so we sacrifice our hearing, like so many other things, in the name of mommyhood.

So, yes, maybe it's time for me to rethink the whole cranking the Bose stereo now and then, too. I'd rather like to hear my kids' voices when they stand up someday and say their vows. And then I'll chuckle to myself as I picture the day they bring babies home from the hospital and swoon over the tiny little newborn cries that they think are the most precious sound in the world.

1 comment:

Mama Grits said...

Oh dear, I think I am totally going deaf. I am the one always going "huh??" "what did you say" while squinting my eyes as if squinting will help me hear better???

Love Sweet Home Alabama! And Van Morrison and on and on...but yes the radio ususally remains on the Chrisitan rock station or kid tunes....not cranked up because that is when the headache starts and I can feel myself going even more senile.

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