We spent a week at my grandmother’s house. This was wonderful as Kai got to spend time with her great grandmother, and my and her aunts, uncles, and cousins, many of whom she had never met before.
It also posed a few challenges. Two other small people live at GG’s house, which meant that there was a lot of sharing to be done. Food, space, arms, laps, and most contentiously, toys. And those toys made noise.
All of the noise.
It seemed like every toy at GG’s talked, sang, beeped, or otherwise made noise all at the touch of a button. Kai doesn’t have any toys with buttons or batteries or that make noise without her making it.
By the second day I was over the noise. It left me irritated and I had to work a lot harder to parent peacefully. As much as she initially loved it, all the noise didn’t do great things for Kai, either. By the time we headed home she was cranky and uncooperative even with trips to the playground most of the days we were there.
So we did what I always do when things aren’t working. We walked in the woods. We go to a local park with hiking trails most mornings as part of our weekly rhythm, but sometimes we only eek out an hour or two outside. Instead, every day since we’ve been back I not only packed breakfast, but lunch, too. We eat breakfast in the meadow, lounging on a picnic blanket that was originally my great grandmother’s, and then we put on our packs and go walk into the woods.
Sometimes Kai gets tired, and we sit under an oak tree and look at acorn caps, and sometimes I wrap her up on my back and I walk while she falls asleep. (Her pack fits in my pack, and I jury rigged a shoulder strap for my pack, so I could back carry if I wanted to. I’m still a little sad she’s gotten too heavy for prolonged front carries.) When she wakes up, we eat lunch and play on the playground before heading home for art or baking time.
Slowly, bit by bit, we’re getting back to our rhythm, and on a even keel.
If you are overwhelmed by noise:
1) Turn off the TV. I suggest getting out of the house during times you would’ve normally had it on. If you can’t, try replacing it with read out loud time.
2) Do a slow fade on noisy toys.
3) Go outside (yes, it is my answer to everything).