One night last week, I was leaving a restaurant with a friend of mine, after what I thought was a great dinner, when she sort of huffed, “Well THAT wasn’t the most relaxing dinner.” I wondered, for a second, if I had been complaining too much about something, or if the service was bad, but before I could wonder too much she added, “I hate being seated next to babies and kids.”
The ironic thing is, she HAS kids. And, as I told her, truthfully, I didn’t even NOTICE that there was a baby and a couple of kids seated next to us. Obviously, this doesn’t happen to every mother, but I definitely consider myself lucky that I have, what I like to call, “selective hearing.”
Who doesn’t know someone who has complained about the worst airplane ride in the world, because they were stuck seated beside a family with five kids, or seated next to a mother and a screaming baby with an earache? To me, I don’t even notice crying. You could put a screaming baby next to me, and I have the amazing ability to actually fall asleep during all the noise.
Long ago, when I took my firstborn on her first plane ride, and bought her her own seat (plane seats were much cheaper back then) I actually did fall asleep. I woke up from a dream of hearing a screaming baby, before I realized – doh! – it was my screaming baby.
I think, when you are a mother, there is just so much noise. I’m not just talking about crying babies, or toddlers having tantrums. I’m talking about all their annoying toys. Rattles, swings that make noises, toys that make music. In fact, I can’t walk around my house now without walking into something that makes some sort of noise. I’ve become immune to noise of all kinds.
I can now write in my house, even though there is a house being built next door to me, with jackhammers literally going every day for eight hours. I can walk into a birthday party, with 30 screaming kids listening to top 40 hits and dancing and squealing, and, although I’m aware it’s happening, I really don’t care. I can block out the noise.