Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: The ebb and flow of white noise

Layout 1 (Page 1)So like I’ve said before, grandparenting is lot better than parenting. Parents seem more concerned with behavior, discipline, making a good impression, and such. Grandpas, not so much.

Allow me to ‘splain. I have four grandkids – 12, 6, 4, and a bit over 3 and thanks to Grandma Renee, they all showed up for supper last Friday nite along with their parents. As I write this note they are all here and there isn’t a lot of question that the noise level far exceeds, and therefore violates, the recently passed city noise ordinance.

The decibels ebb and flow from muffled conversations amongst the adults to ear shattering shrieks from the grandkids. I’ve thought about wearing ear muffs but I may miss some emergency situation like being called for dinner.

When the little ones don’t get enough attention they swing into their own incredibly loud way of letting everyone know that they’re tired of being ignored. The number of crisis varies depending on whether heads are bumped, one kid hogs something the other three want, or the noise interrupts a movie or a video game or some emergency bathroom run is underway.

Then there are those numerous accidents caused by an exuberant rambunctiousness that only kids can conjure up. This usually leads to the “NO, I TOLD YOU TO STOP DOING THAT!” complications which usually causes tears to flow followed by a wailing cry. These problems appear to be cured with a hug or a time out and the white noise ebbs… for a moment or so.

About then the kids, not the grandkids, get into all sorts of conversations that take over the house. These too have their moments as opinions about hot topics of the day cause their volume to rise and gesticulations to increase.

Having graduated from parent to grandparent, I’m grateful that my time as parent taught me how to block out what’s really going on around me. This has led to trouble at times, but I think have the kids fooled into thinking that I’m just losing my hearing.

I’m hoping that we’re no different than most families and I’m describing a typical family get together. Maybe the difference here is as I edge further into being a grandparent, it seems that each gathering becomes more precious as life moves fast and all of our days are numbered.

Someone knocks on a door and the dog goes nuts with his incessant barking that causes everyone to holler “Charlie shut up.” In due time, Charlie tucks his tail between his legs and the sounds ebb again… for a few seconds.

Then Grandma Renee informs us that there’s a pancake breakfast at the Eagles in the morning and someone else asks if anyone wants to go swimming tomorrow and another reminds us that we’ve committed to a Zumbathon… and suddenly there’s a crash as potted plant slams to the floor with a loud thud…

There’s a scramble to clean up the mess just as someone else decides it’s a good time to fly one of those remote helicopters thru the room causing a grandkid to want to fly it. His uncle shows him how and the kid ends up being a better pilot than his uncle.

Then the two of them decided to get grandpa off the computer with the helicopter.  Sure ‘nuf, they were successful because grandpa almost got a helicopter haircut that he didn’t really need.

So here I am the next morning with a slight ringing in my ears, a bit of a headache, and blissfully enshrouded in silence. Of course, it’s 5:30 a.m., but hey, it’s quiet for now.

Here’s hoping that you survive whatever storms ebb and flow through your house too.