Lately I swear someone found Jacob's volume button and turned it up to the max. Seriously, the kid has been loud. I know that kids make a lot of noise and talk incessantly, but Jacob is really living up to that these days. While he had moments throughout his life where that was the case, for the most part he was a pretty low-key kid. He'd play quietly and mostly get loud while playing sports or when one of us got him all riled up. But recently it seems like he has to be making noise 24/7.
I described it to someone yesterday this way: "I feel like we've been transported into the movie Dumb and Dumber, with Jim Carrey's character pulling the old, 'Wanna hear the most annoying noise in the world?' line." I never thought I would describe the sound of my child's voice with those words, but some of the noises he's been making have been that bad. He explained away one particularly annoying set by saying that animals make those noises, so why can't he? To which I replied that that's fine that animals make those noises, but that he shouldn't because he's hurting my ears.
And there are actually two kinds of hurts going on right now--the figurative "bleeding ears" from listening to these annoying noises, and the literal pain that results from the loudness with which some of them are expressed. When he's not making annoying, non-sensical noise, he's often whining about something he doesn't want to do, or showing his displeasure via loud, ear-piercing shrieks. It's brutal. We've heard them before, of course, but maybe it's just the frequency with which they're being displayed these days.
Ever since Jacob was sick, he's just been difficult. All the time. Maybe it's that we went easy on him that week, or maybe it's just coincidence. Heck, maybe he's still sick and we have no idea. Strep never shows up in kids the way you expect it, and it is STILL going around his classroom, making multiple rounds through the class. One girl is on her third bout of it, if you can believe that. They've bleached the toys and done everything they can, but his room is apparently infested. For all we know, he's still got it and while the discomfort isn't clear enough to put into words, it's making him cranky. I don't know, stranger things have happened.
Even bedtime is not immune to the noise. Normally we'd leave his room and never hear from him again. Lately he's been singing, quite loudly, for quite a while...often to the tune of "Deck the Halls". He's been doing it in the morning, too, and there have been a couple times where I was *thisclose* to turning off the monitor because I couldn't stand the noise. It's just loud and not at all melodious. He's my child and I know I should take in every ounce of his essence...but geez. This isn't easy stuff to love no matter how much I love the little boy it's coming out of. I'm trying not to shush him more than necessary, because I know little boys need to make noise...but I need to maintain some sanity, too.
We're getting a lot of "no" these days, and in concert with the noise, it's been a little tough to maintain composure. We're back to lots of counting, some yelling, and withholding his Batcave for another day when he doesn't comply. Hopefully a few more days of firmness will get us somewhere...like back to low volume and a few more appearances of the word "yes". Or at least a few less animalistic outbursts. Small victories...