For awhile before my husband got a C-PAP machine to wear while sleeping, I was in the habit of wearing earplugs to bed. I am a hopelessly light sleeper and he snores. The earplugs took some getting used to mostly because the silence was truly deafening. It was like total sensory deprivation. When I would remove them in the morning, the sound – even of a quiet house – seemed so… rich. Intense. Almost too much.
Returning to my boys in my house after spending a week in Washington, D.C. felt much the same. While the trip had its frustrations and its own sources of exhaustion, it was basically a get-away. Jane was a pleasure, my time was largely my own. No one was screaming or bouncing off the walls or acting out. It was a reasonably quiet, reserved vacation.
Within minutes of entering the house, I was on sensory overload. The boys were still hyped up from their own vacation and seeing Mommy again pushed them over the edge. The dog was also excited to have the clan reunited. She was running around, jumping and licking, and in general adding energy to the room. My husband was trying to show me the gifts he had purchased. I was handing out my gifts to the boys. Jane was making plans for the evening.
When my husband left to take Jane to meet her friend at the theater, I found myself alone with children I had grown unaccustomed to wrangling. I managed to sort the dirty laundry from the suitcase into piles on the floor before retreating to the bedroom and closing the door. I called my mom but she was at volleyball and unable to visit. The noise in the living room was ratcheting up louder and louder. It seemed wise to investigate.
The scene that greeted me literally made me dizzy. The boys were prancing around the room, laughing and giggling, waving their arms in the air. They almost looked like natives dancing around a fire. When they saw me, the hilarity redoubled. The real shocker wasn’t their activity though. No, it was their attire.
They were wearing our dirty laundry. Each was wearing either my shirt or Jane’s. Under the shirts, they had layered swimsuits and bras to give themselves the appearance of breasts. The strutting and dancing was performed with chests thrust forward and calls of “Look at me! Look at me!”
I wondered why I had thought my husband was being so generous to me when he said he’d run Jane into town. I was too tired and overwhelmed to yell or laugh, either one. I just pulled the undergarments off the hysterical boys and in a fit of desperation asked, “Who wants to watch Dr. Who?!”