Compared to some houses, I’m sure ours seems quiet.I credit the carpet. Good acoustic damping.
I’m not big on loud voices, in particular, so the kids have learned to fight really well in angry whispers, at least. Then I catch them, and ground them all from speaking, unless they can do it in a silly British accent. The bickering sounds better that way, I guess… and they all start giggling, so the fights stop pretty quickly, which is the goal. I’m like Machiavelli that way.
One thing we do have a lot of is music. My Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal husband is from an older musical generation than I, so the music ranges from The BeeGees (which he listens to because he actually likes the music, and he’s not being ironic or retro, as I originally thought when we met) to 80’s pop to Taylor Swift to classical to folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and Sacred Harp. The baby sings theme songs (Brit kid show “Kipper the Dog” is a favorite).
When we first had our Eldest, I was a bit nervous. I knew my parents had managed to avoid “kid music” for years, and still had their own musical heritage firmly in place, but so many of my young mom friends spent their days listening to Barney and other musical abominations! I was afraid that Momhood meant I was doomed to such a fate.
But, I figured, kids are malleable little creatures. They have pudding for brains, and it firms up into whatever mold the parent provides, right? So, out with Barney, and in with classic Hollywood musicals, and Hildegard von Bingen, and Alison Kraus, and RunRig, and the Levellers, and Huey Lewis and REO Speedwagon.
And it worked! At two, the Eldest would dance along at my side as we went on a walk down to the library, stomping in all the puddles and belting out, “Sing-un in da rain, I’m sing-un in da rain! What a gloooooor-ee-us feel-un, I’m HAP-pee again!” (Picture a big jump with both feet on HAP, with both arms flung out dramatically. She’s not a shy or retiring person. Spiral-sliced and honey-cured, maybe, but definitely not reserved.)
The Boy came along, and we trained him to giggle at Mr Bean and the chases on Benny Hill. He didn’t sing much until fairly recently, though he still has an aversion to “the girly notes”, and I think he’s waiting eagerly to become a baritone/bass like his Daddy. His birthday gift at age 7 was the sountrack to “O Brother Where Art Thou” and it usually rotates residence in his disc player with Brian Setzer’s big band CD and the soundtrack to Shrek III. We’re working on that last one, really.
We’ve kept it up with the Little Girls… Our Spicy Child likes 80’s pop and Hollywood musical show tunes, and the Littlest’s favorite “go to sleep” music alternates between Glenn Miller’s orchestra, and Metallica covers by a punk cello band called Apolcalyptica. Everyone indulges my hymn fixation on Sundays, and I try not to roll my eyes too hard when my husband puts on a 70s mix CD (thanks, darling sister-in-law with a weird sense of humor. Really.)
Six people, one small house… it’s a good thing our musical diversity is somewhat harmonious. I just hope no one peeks in the windows when we’re all rocking out to Aqua while we tidy up. I’m not sure I want to explain that at church.