What My Three Loud Kids Have Taught Me

kids
Image courtesy of author

I’m not sure how school bus drivers stay sane.

“Mommy, Dhillon is looking out my side of the car without asking me first!” our daughter Rupal screamed. “He is only allowed to look out his OWN window!”

“She keeps blinking at me, so she deserves it!” Dhillon yelled back.

A simple car ride to Target was getting intense. Never one to miss out on the chaos, our 3-year-old, Naya, felt the need to contribute. She hurled an empty packet of apple sauce towards her brother but hit me in the back of the head instead.

“Ow, what was that for?!” I screeched.

After that car ride with our three loud kids, I decided I would no longer tolerate the constant arguing. From now on, we would be hosting the “Patel Court House” every Sunday, and I would be the judge.

Is your sibling looking at clouds without asking you? Singing a song you hate? Drinking water obnoxiously?

Do NOT complain to me directly. Instead, formally document your complaint. Develop your arguments. Wait until Sunday morning, and if you still care, line up to have your case heard in the Patel Courtroom (aka our kitchen).

Most often, the kids decided not to pursue their cases. The older two said it was too much work to write things down, while the younger one correctly noted that she hadn’t yet learned to write and lacked the proper crayons to draw.

Lesson Learned From Three Loud Kids

Things might seem like a big deal at the moment. Tempers may flare. We may hurl insults or fling apple sauce. However, a lot of issues seem to resolve themselves over time. As a busy working mom, I sometimes get impatient both at work and home. But now, I think twice before firing off a hasty email response. I ask myself: if I waited until Sunday, would this issue still matter? Would I feel the same way? Do I really care?

If Sunday rolls along and I am still thinking about the issue, I set aside the time to take action. I make my case. I advocate for what I believe is right. The rest of it? It goes to my mental paper shredder.

Our kids are older now. They are still loud, just over different things. As many siblings can relate, you don’t always have to like your siblings to love them, and incessant bickering is part of the process. But more often than not, they are using their voices to fight for things they care about, like:

I often think about how the nature of our family’s noise has developed over the years. The noise used to be about clouds, snacks, and blinking. These days, it’s about homework, friends, and activities. One day, it might be about love, loss, and change.

The noise changes over the years. It evolves.

When I get frustrated by the chaos, I pause and remind myself to enjoy it because one day, the silence might be more deafening than the noise ever was.

Here’s what I’ve learned: The incessant noise and the constant chatter is what love sounds like. It is what living sounds like.

The biggest lesson from my kids? Be present. It’s the only moment that matters.

* The identities of our children have been changed because this mom of preteens/teens knows better than to mention their real names without express prior approval!