Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Stop Yelling!", I yelled.


I can't stand it!

Especially when I'm trapped in a small area with the decibels reaching eardrum-rupturing levels.

For example, the other night our entire family (even our dog) were safely buckled into our SUV, on our way to our lake house. It's a two-and-a-half hour drive, but we hadn't even made it out of our village's borders when I had a Mommy Meltdown. It was big. It was bad. It was ugly. It was caused by....


It probably didn't help that I had spent the entire day doing laundry, cleaning the house, and packing up food and clothes for our weekend getaway. All these chores were "extra"; they were in addition to my regular chores of shuttling the 4 oldest kids to/from school, "regular" cleaning, and chasing a very active toddler.
It also didn't help that the dog picked that day to eat from the garbage can, and vomit her "plunder" all over the kitchen floor.
And, I wasn't overly-pleased that the afore-mentioned toddler learned how to open the lid on the toilet that day and give himself a lovely hair washing.

The cherry on the sundae was the fact that 3 members of the family were still recovering from a bad stomach flu, and my husband was showing all the signs of coming down with the same virus.

Still, we (stupidly) soldiered on and packed up the car.

Everybody was crabby, and I was no exception. At that point, I was probably fueling the fire.

"The DVD player isn't ready to go with a movie already playing? WHO screwed THAT up?!?"

"Where's the dog's leash? Why isn't it in the back of the car?"

"Did you turn off the basement lights? NO??? DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING???"

Yeah. I wouldn't have wanted to get into the car with me, either.

Cue the baby's non-stop screaming. That's his latest trick. While he has a pretty good vocabulary for a 15-month-old, he has only grasped about a dozen words that convey his wants/needs. So, he screams. High-pitched. Over and over. It reverberates really nicely in a car.

In situations like these, I've lost all control over my emotions. And, NOISE, any NOISE, makes me want to crawl out of my own skin. So, try to imagine how far my eyes bugged out of my head when my 10-year-old, 8-year-old, and 5-year-old started arguing over who had more of the blanket they were sharing. GAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

"It's not covering my feet!"
"You are hogging it!"
(Series of loud screams from Baby Brother)
"She keeps trying to put her legs on top of the blanket!"

Mommy Dearest: "THAT'S IT! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"

I warned you it was ugly.

It was at this point that my darling husband informed me that he had no desire to ride with me any further, let alone spend a weekend with me in this emotional state, and he would happily turn the car around and go home. How DOES he stay so calm when he says those things? And, why doesn't all that NOISE bother him, at all?

I'll tell you why: over the years there have been a few studies done on noise and it's effects on stress-levels and blood pressure. Some studies were even gender-related. These studies found that women were noticeably affected by noise, even more so than were men.
It's also a long-held scientific belief that primitive woman was wired to be more sensitive to her offspring's sounds. After all, back in the good ol' Cave Days, if your children were screaming, it was a good bet that it was because they were being eaten by a wild animal. Sound triggered Mama's adrenaline, and she would run to save her babies.

I am very happy to report that in modern-day America, we aren't under the constant threat of our children being eaten alive in some faraway field. However, our children are still equipped with their "alarm system" and women are instinctively listening for these screams.
But, when our kids are screaming out of frustration, and both they and Mama are strapped into our seats, AND Mama's intellect tells her that there is no danger, that dang adrenaline still kicks in! Therefore, it has no outlet other than inappropriate emotional outbursts.

This is no excuse for my behavior. I am a rational adult who should always have control over her emotions.
This is an explanation of why I (sometimes) appear to be a raving lunatic. For me, my children's whining, screaming, and other annoying sounds are worse that nails on a chalkboard. And, when these NOISES are coupled with seven (8, counting the pooch) bodies crammed into a small metal container on wheels, it's unbearable.

Don't worry.
I've assured my husband that I will purchase some heavy-duty earplugs before our next car trip. Since I can't temporarily remove my kids' vocal chords, it seems to be the only way to cure my problem!

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