Four Moms and Noise (bonus: music and kids)

4moms35kids-1We’re supposed to be talking about the noise levels in a large family today, specifically, answering this question:

While I am accustomed to the noise that my children produce (which I don’t
consider excessive), my family often makes comments about it and
seems annoyed by them after a short period of time. How do you deal with
your children’s noise, especially when company is over?

I have a low tolerance for noise, and my husband is gregarious, outgoing, and chatty, but he’s not noisy. So our family mostly didn’t really struggle with the noise of our kids distressing others. More often, people would call the house and at some point say, “Are all your kids at home? It sounds so quite for a house with seven children in it.”

Both of our daughters are married to outgoing, gregarious, chatty, LOUD men. One of the men was always louder than the average bear, and then he lost almost all the hearing in one ear serving his country in Iraq when he was 18 (yes, being under a rain of bombs will do that to you, and worse, so we’re just glad we have him). Anyway, if he was loud before he went deaf, you can imagine the decibel levels now. They both are musical, too- they play instruments, they sing. Shasta is so talented he actually passed all the auditions for and was accepted into the Army’s music division, he would have been quite the performer. But his commander refused approval and sent him to war instead. Yah.

They have children who tend to take after their papas. The noise levels can be quite chaotic.

So I can’t really answer this question.

But I really liked Kim’s answer.

I’ll answer another question, related to a different sort of noise.  As most of our readers know, we adhere to a Charlotte Mason approach to education, and this includes classical music.

Q. How do you get your kids to listen to classical music?

With our oldest, there was not any ‘getting them’ to do this, they just did it.  It’s what I listened to, it’s what I played, and we didn’t have radios, access to the internet, television, nor did we own any CDs that Mom and Dad didn’t buy for a very long time.  So they were familiar with classical, folk music, 60s protest music, Billy Joel, and Styx.  I know, strange.  It wasn’t that we forbade pop music, per se, it just wasn’t on our radar, beyond the three things mentioned- two of which were ‘mine,’ and Billy Joel is my husband’s preference.  They listed to it all, liked it all, and were able to identify the composer of most classical pieces just because of the way it sounded.  As a teen one started donating regularly to the local classical station.

And then they got older.  They left the house, going to work, to college, doing things with their friends who did listen to pop music. They brought things home.  And the Pop Culture Cat was out of the bag for the youngest two children at home.  The oldest still liked classical music, they just liked the other stuff, too.  I understand that.  So do I.  Quite a bit, actually (I’m home alone and this is playing while I write).  But the other stuff is easiest. It appeals to the lowest common denominator.

So the truth is my youngest two almost never listen to classical music, except under protest.  We’re at the start of a new school year and I cracked the whip- as I have done before, to not much avail, telling them no listening to anything but classical music during the school day.  This year they think they found a loop-hole.

They announced this loophole to me, mischievously proud of  themselves.  “We can’t listen to anything but Mozart,” they said, “but we figured out a way around that.  Instead of  turning the music, we’ll just make our own music.”

Oh, snap.

The FYG, who has not touched the piano in a year, pulled out music books and is playing ever day.  The FYB trotted over to his bro-in-law’s house and asked if he could exchange guitar lessons (daily) for mowing the lawn, and he’s both getting a guitar lesson AND practicing for long periods of time daily.

You know Mom hates that, right?  Ahem.  So, in their, um,  rebellion, they are plucking out Pacelbel’s Canon on the guitar, playing Fur Elise and Sound of Silence on the piano, and looking at the chords to the folk songs we sing for school.

Me, I’m trying to look stern about it.  Please, please, children, don’t throw Mama in that briar patch.


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  1. Posted September 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I wish there was an answer on the noise thing. My trouble is that I am, apparently, impervious to noise. (My hearing is fine. I just don’t pay attention.) So my children, who are naturally loud, get louder and louder in a usually-useless attempt to get my attention. They are very, very loud. It drives everyone crazy, including my husband, but the only thing he hates worse than noise is the thought of constantly scolding the children for noise, so he just suffers in silence.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Maybe y’all need some sort of tool to measure decibel levels, and it flash bright lights on and off when the noise gets to a certain level.

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