Tuesday, September 8, 2015

From Chaos To Quiet

It's nap time and all four littles that I watch are all asleep. My house is silent. The Keurig that just finished my afternoon cup of tea sounds excruciatingly loud in a noiseless house. I pace. I wander from room to room. I decide to check on the napping kids one more time. The fifth time in 45 minutes. Not because I'm worried about them, but because I'm unsure what to do next. I turn on music to break the silence. The silence bothers me.

                                                       A clean and very still play area. Nearly unheard of in this house.

It's back to school time, which means nearly all of the kiddos I cared for have gone off to school (in case you don't know this, I am an in-home daycare provider and moonlight as a blogger and children's author). I spent the last three months will an overly FULL house of kids 24/7. If daycare kids weren't here, my three minis and I (and my husband too...I guess I can't leave him out of this fun) filled our spare time with play dates, neighbor kids, or adventuring around the city. I didn't have one moment of quiet for three solid months or for the over four years I've been doing daycare leading up to this moment.
My two oldest minis are in school full time and my youngest is in school two mornings a week. I looked forward to this moment for years. When I could have just one single thought to myself. Actually write a full story without a toilet overflowing, a fight that needed stopped, or a snack that needed fixed. At hard moments throughout the summer I found myself reassuring myself that it would all be worth it this fall when things would be less crazy. I now feel like there's something wrong when things are this calm.
Somehow in my seven years of parenting and over four and a half years of daycaring, I've become accustom to the noise. To the every day craziness and chaos. For almost five years I've never had a warm cup of afternoon tea. There's always been something that needed done, a game that needed played, or a marker cap snapped back on. For the past two years, I've had at least one child who didn't nap. Now my house is full of nappers and my cup of tea has steam rising from it. As it turns out, I no longer like hot tea. I throw in an ice cube it so I can drink it cold. 
I put my feet up and sit down to write this post. The first thing I've EVER written completely uninterrupted. How it is possible to settle into such a chaotic lifestyle? I absolutely LOVE having more time to do fun activities with the kids and my hands free to snuggle babies during the days. Yet as I sit in the quietness, burping a baby's back, I wait for a child to shriek or the back door to slam shut as a child runs in to wail about something in life that's unfair. When it doesn't happen I feel a bit lost. 
I find myself tip toeing around the living room for fear of stepping on Duplos or the other 95,000 toys that scattered my floors all summer long. I let out a heavy sigh when I realize my floors are actually clean. Is it normal to miss being unable to walk in my own house? Or to not hear myself despite trying to scream over other voices? I suddenly feel like an empty nester with all of the "big" kids gone to school. The quietness just feels wrong. Like something could happen at any moment. I tell myself to enjoy this, but I'm not quite sure how. 
I do well in chaos. I've learned to thrive in my chaotic day to day life. Do not be fooled by my writing: there are still many chaotic moments in my newly quieter days. Just less chaotic than they were a few weeks ago. Again, I remind myself to enjoy this. Because soon enough the days will once again be chaotic, my head will pound with each stomping foot, the little things in life won't get done (and I'm totally including household chores in the little things in life category), and I'll be too busy to have a moment to myself. With that thought, I take a drink of my now cold tea, turn the music up a notch to make some noise, and laugh to myself at how ridiculous I sound. How in the world did the chaos become so comforting?