Bringing the Noise

This evening, as she girls were lounging in the tub and I was trying to actually, you know, bathe them, Julia stalled me by saying, “Daddy, turn on a different album of me.” She meant that I should suggest a different set of songs for her to sing, but it’s honestly a pretty good summary of how the weekend – which was one of the best in months – was absolutely ridiculous with noise of all sorts – talking, singing, shrieking, chattering, screaming, crying, coughing. Here are four of the more lucid excerpts…

Saturday night, Julia called me urgently into her room just after bedtime. When I came in, she whispered, “Daddy, I found a mushroom in my bed.” I was sure that I had not heard her right. “A what?” She whispered back, “A mushroom. Not a real one. A mushroom from the play kitchen. Genevieve fed it to me when we were playing hospital in my bed. Can you take it?” I shook my head and took the little round piece of wood and left.

As I was playing with the girls upstairs on Saturday morning, Vivi shouted, “I be right back,” and headed downstairs. She bustled around the living room for a few minutes, then came back up with some new Little People to add to the little scenario she and I were sharing. Julia, occupied in another corner of the playroom, said to me, “Daddy, what toy did Genevieve bring up from downstairs?” I picked them up and said, “These little dolls.” A few seconds passed, then Julia asked again, “What toy did Genevieve bring up from downstairs?” I held them up again: “Honey, these little dolls – the ones I’m showing you.” She didn’t turn to look, and then after another few seconds, asked a third time, “What toys?” Exasperated, I said, “Honey! Look! These little dolls!” She finally turned to look, and said, “Oh. I wasn’t listening.”

While we were playing upstairs on Sunday morning,Vivi went over to a (yes) nativity scene which Julia had carefully arranged a few days ago, and started shifting the wise men around. Julia stopped what she was doing and ran over, saying, “Vivi, Vivi, Vivi, don’t touch those! Those are mine!” Vivi kept right on moving the wise men, even turning her body so that Julia couldn’t get to the toys. Losing it, Julia whined, “Daddy, Genevieve isn’t doing a single thing I’m telling her to do!” I avoided saying, “Join the damn party,” andd instead said, “That’s okay, honey. She’s a different person than you, and she wants to do different things. She doesn’t need to do something just because you want her to do it.” vivi, still rearranging the nativity sceen dolls, looked over at Julia, grinned broadly, and said, “No, I don’t.”

After a few viewings of A Charlie Brown Christmas last month, Vivi started borrowing Lucy’s line, “Okay, okay, quiet down here!” It’s always pretty funny to hear her say it, but Sunday she zapped me with it as I rather brusquely urged her and her sisters to get moving toward naptime – “Okay, okay, quiet down, Daddy.” She even added a sly little smirk. Point taken, kiddo.

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