Saturday, April 25, 2009

The noise thing

I have been mulling this fact over for awhile and wanted to share it with you, as I find it unusual. I'm sure there are others like me out there, but I think it is unusual. I am very noise sensitive. I LOOOOOOVE silence. LOVE it. Crave it. Seek it out. I can't decide exactly where this comes from, but it has always been true of me. In fact I think my parents are the same way, so perhaps I'm not so unusual now that I think about it!
I've always been a bit of a dork when it comes to music, which all my peers seem to love and spend hours mucking around in, and have millions of random trivia facts memorized regarding styles, genres, composers, performers, specific concerts, and etc. I have a really hard time remembering the names of my favourite musicians. And actors. And world leaders. I believe this is because (a) I'm just bad with names and titles and stuff, and (b) I'm a visual person--if I have just a name but no face, I have a really hard time remembering a name. Anyways, part of the reason I'm a music dork is because of this inability of mine to memorize names, styles, genres, composers, performers, and etc, and another part of the reason is that I don't listen to music very often. I like music. I really like music. I love my favourite bands passionately, and I think music is the modern day poetry. But I like silence SO MUCH MORE.
Now that I have kids, my 'silence quota' is always empty. ALWAYS. Especially with my Matthew, who approaches life at top volume, top speed, and top velocity. So when i drive in the car by myself, do I put the radio on? Or my ipod? Or a CD? Are you KIDDING ME???? I gleefully push the 'off' button [because my husband is NOT a music dork, and always has something playing when he drives] and sigh with happiness. Silencia. My favourite.
I think this really affected me when we adopted Matthew. Suddenly, Mr. Top Volume arrives, and he and Ayden thought it really quite funny to have screaming contests several times a day. Their favourite location for screaming contests was in the van, when I was trapped in close proximity with no possible recourse for disciplining them. I took to turning the radio up so loud it distorted just to drown out the screaming a TINY BIT. Every day. Then add to that the screaming involved in all the crying Matthew was doing, and there was this drone of noise that ratcheted up my stress without my really realizing it. Because I did not know this noise thing about myself quite yet. Then add to THAT, the fact that I'm even more noise sensitive when I'm sick, and I was sick CONSTANTLY that first winter, because Matthew was sick constantly and sneezing his sicko germs in my face all the time (poor baby), and you have yourself a recipe for craziness.
The times I've felt most overwhelmed since Riley's birth have been times when my ears were ringing from his crying. He cries so infrequently and I'm SO grateful for this, I really am; but when it has happened and I'm alone with all three of my children, I have felt like I was losing my mind. Like, ALL I could think about was HOW TO MAKE THE NOISE STOP. These few occasions have led me to this realization of the noise thing. And led me to have more empathy for myself of three years ago, slogging around in the afterbirth of adoption and wondering why I was feeling so horrible and impatient and angry, when I didn't realize how much the noise affected me.
Granted, noise is something one can increase their threshold for, and I certainly have as a mom. And I've learned ways of coping with the noise, and ways of distracting the boys when they pump up the volume (it helps that they are older now and are able to understand the 'when we get home' consequences). So that is good. I just wanted to share this insight I've learned about myself over this past few months, and to share that I think it is interesting. And to share how grateful I am that God took this characteristic into account when he gave me Riley, my easy going, happy go lucky, quiet child. He can screech like a Nazgul when the spirit moves him, but most of the time he is either quiet or giggling.
Smooches to God for that one.
Nice work.

7 comments:

Roboseyo said...

noise kills you huh? don't come to Seoul. Or when you do, bring soundproof headphones like my buddy uses when he walks his dog. I remember taking a trip to the countryside and hearing actual silence for the first time in a year once. Pretty startling.

Janet said...

Screech like a Nazgul! TOO FUNNY!

I actually am sensitive to noise too, except for me it's background noises....right down to the cat scratching the cat post. Any nagging, squeaky, rattling noise drives me bananas!

Dawn and Dale said...

So thankful that Riley is such a good baby for you!!! My 3rd baby (Caden) was by far my happiest and most content baby as well but let me tell you........my #4 was my hardest and loudest!!! lol He was sooooooooo colicky and didn't stop crying for the first 6 mths of his life! I thought I was going to loose it!!! I think had he been my first baby I might not of had anymore!! lol I think he was just making sure I wasn't going to not have time for him seeing that he was my 4th baby!! He sure had my time alright!!! lol

I'll pray hard for your #4 already as well!!! hehehehehe ;-)

Rachel Clear said...

Oh Melissa, I feel you on this. I actually AM a musician, but I still love the silence when I get the chance. I noticed this mainly after meeting and dating my (now) hubby. He loves background noise. TV on when he's not watching it (weird!), radio or music on even when we're talking over it (why?!), or flying his darned remote-control helicoptor around while we're talking. He just doesn't hear or respond to noises like I do (except when he's sleeping).

It's good that you've figured that out about yourself rather than just go crazy willy-nilly, never knowing why! And at least you know to take advantage of those (rare) moments when you GET to be QUIET.
Here's hoping you get more of those moments coming soon. :)

~ Rach

p.s. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers. Really. Thank you.

nancy said...

absolutely a genetic factor at play here! Neither your dad or I can tolerate prolonged loud noises.Take this seriously as I feel this has led to premature hearing loss for both of us. My ears are actually painful after a few minutes of high decibles and they are super sensitive for days afterwords ie, the noise of the water during my shower is irritating!
As you probably remember I had a fairly strict rule about loud car noises, telling you kids it could cause an accident - usually you all co operated (trans canada trip exempt!)
love mom

Dana said...

I'm sensitive about noise too... I can only listen to music for so long before I need it off. I am constantly asking for television and car stereo volume reduction. I think there must be some sort of male/female programming differenciation because this seems to be such a common theme in marriages.

Tonya said...

You are so totally normal! I can't stand noise either - could have written half your blog myself - and I am SO normal, so you MUST be normal! That or we're just wackos together. :-)

Hate noise here too - hate to vacuum for that reason (good excuse, yeah?).