Tuesday, June 28, 2011


     This morning I heard a story on the news as I was getting ready for work.  Scientist somewhere have conducted a study to find out what the most annoying sound in the world is and it turns out that it is (drum-roll): whining kids.  Now the first thought I have about this is why the heck did people spend money to learn what any parent in the world could have easily told them for free.  On second thought though, it is kind of nice to have some solid evidence that there is a good reason I often fantasize about ear plugs.
     As dads, we have developed an uncanny ability to block out the sound of whining.  Moms don't seem as skilled at this and that is probably for the best because sometimes I'm sure there is a legitimate reason for the whining.  You probably want at least one parent capable of hearing the children in case they happen to be bleeding profusely or have managed to wedge their foot in the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl.  Most of the time though, children revert to whining for far less serious things like wanting a bowl of rice crispies at 6:00 in the morning or their older brother not letting them sit in the correct seat at the dinner table.

     Dad's are far less adept at blocking of the sound of an angry mother who has been effected negatively by a child's whining and so, we ultimately are forced into action one way or another.  With 5 kids, there is an constant background noise of whining.  It starts about the time the sun rises and continues unabated until 10:00 at night. This is why I stay up too late.  It is the only time I can actually concentrate.

     I love kids.  Every day is a learning experience.  Today we learned that geckos really can snap off their tails if they feel their lives are in danger.  It turns out that having an 80 pound 8 year old grab you and try to shove you down his brother's pants produces an adequate amount of fear to make you lose your tail.

     I honestly don't know how Karlye can put up with them all day.  If I was a stay at home dad, there would be sound proof cages installed in the basement.  In the old days when I was a kid it was easier.  There was the outside.  Mom would kick us out the door and lock it behind us, the attic fan running to block out the sound of our whining.  Those were simpler days when no one worried about some sicko abducting children out of your yard.I'm sure we were bored out of our minds most of the time, but we always somehow managed to find something to do.  Now the kids have Xbox and Wii, satellite and Netflix, computers and a thousand toys and there is absolutely nothing that they can find to occupy their time.

    Well, will did manage to install malware on my computer so I would have hours of fun trying to get the internet running again.  One of the kids entertained themselves by twisting Karlye's glasses and popping the lens out.  I think I am going to need to take my poor wife out for a relaxing night out, or send her to get a massage.  I need to keep her healthy and happy because if she every quits on us then my only option will be to start reading through military school brochures.

     In all seriousness though, life without children would be so dull.  We have friends who chose not to have kids.  They have dogs instead.Not pet dogs, but family member, surrogate children dogs.  Yes they get to go out anytime they like, they can jet set all over the place and don't have to make emergency trips to the grocery store for milk and bread.  I'm sure they are quite happy with the life they have chosen, but something tells me that despite all the noise and chaos I have experienced a joy that is greater than any they will ever know.  Life is short and the only thing that lasts is imprint we make on the lives of these little one that God has given us the awesome responsibility of turning into the next generation of men and women.  I scarcely feel capable of fulfilling that task.  I worry every day that I have failed them as a father and that I am messing them up beyond any help of their future therapist.  I think every parent has felt that way though and most of us turn out okay.

     So while they can whine and can annoy, they also are capable of some of the sweetest most tender expressions of love.  It is those moments that more than negate any frustration that they give us.  I just need to remember that the next time I'm trying to talk to the annoying survey lady on the phone and Josiah screams at the top of his lungs 2 inches from my ear.

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