Tuesday, May 30, 2017

10 Sounds That Are Universally Feared by Parents

With all the crying, laughing, yelling, singing, banging, stomping, and screaming involved in having children, you inevitably become a bit of a noise expert.

You can hear a kid sneaking an Oreo out of the package from across the house. You know exactly what trouble sounds like. You become an auditory superhero.

As a parent with hearing superpowers myself, I can definitively tell you the 10 most terror-inducing sounds a parent can hear.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

As a parent with hearing superpowers myself, I can definitively tell you the 10 most terror-inducing sounds a parent can hear.

1. An entire bin of Legos being dumped out.


Why kids can only find the piece they want by flipping the whole container upside-down instead of, oh, I don't know, maybe just sorting through them like calm and rational human beings, I'll never understand. It's just something they have to do. Usually 5 minutes before we're supposed to leave the house.

2. Running water. Somewhere.


I may not immediately be able to identify the room it's coming from, but my heart starts racing at the sound of water trickling through the pipes in the walls. Somewhere in the house there's a faucet turned on, and no good can possibly come of it.

3. The brakes on the school bus.


Every school bus I've ever seen has the same high-pitched squeal as it slows down approaching a bus stop. I think those squeaky brakes might be mandated by law so parents have a fair warning before their kids miss the bus. Again.

4. Silence.


Sometimes I'm working on my computer or washing dishes and it gradually dawns on me that I haven't heard my child at all in a suspiciously long time. Usually it's been about the amount of time it takes to unroll every roll of toilet paper in the cabinet, stick 3/4 of a box of Band-Aids to their body, and draw all over the walls with a black eyeliner pencil. Give or take.

5. Someone throwing up in the other room.


Hearing someone else retching is such a disgusting sound, made even worse by the fact that there's only one person around here who's going to be cleaning it up. As I hurdle over the couch in the direction of the noise like a first responder after a natural disaster, I just hope whoever it was had the presence of mind to get off the carpet first.

6. A splash so monstrous it sounds like a humpback whale breaching the ocean.


Having older kids means you can run downstairs while they're in the tub to answer the ringing phone. It also means they're big enough to cannonball half the water onto the floor in the 23 seconds you're gone.


7. Someone whisper-yelling "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Don't tell Mom!"


Sibling love is a special thing. A very special, mischievous thing that cancels all your plans for the day while you go to the emergency room.

8. A chair being pushed across the kitchen floor.


Mentally, I divide my children's childhoods into two parts: before they could reach anything on the counter, and after they figured out that they could stand on a chair and reach everything on the counter. Guess which is more stressful?

9. The 4-second interval between one baby wail and the next.


Whenever I do something really awful to the baby, like for example, taking away the cigarette butt he found on the ground outside the library, he lets me know it by letting out the world's longest and angriest howl. Then as he catches his breath I start counting. Crying normally doesn't faze me much, but if I get past three Mississippi I kind of want to run away and seek shelter before the next scream hits.

10. Something going "plunk" in the bathroom.


When I think about all the disasters that have happened in the bathroom, it kind of makes me want to go back to the days when people had outhouses. What is it with toddlers and dropping things in the toilet? And what would possibly suggest to them that it's the correct place to put my phone?


Every parent dreads hearing these 10 sounds with all their hearts. Because we are the noise experts, and we know exactly what they mean.

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8 comments:

  1. Oh, these made me laugh! #5 is the absolute worst. We used to buy baking soda in a 10# bag at Costco to get all the stink out of the carpet. Nothing like having a tummy bug run through a family of 9 or so.

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  2. I've got only the one kid, but I can still identify with the fear induced by that retching sound. The dogs do it too for added excitement in my house! The fuzz butts also have a strong reaction to that school bus brake sound.

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    1. My mom has dogs and I've given a lot of thought to how owning dogs is eerily similar to having kids. Neither of us can have a conversation without yelling, "Hey, stop that!" and "What are you doing??" 10 times in the middle of a conversation.

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  3. This is really a Hot List! We did have a great solution to the Lego problem at our house with six kids, four of them boys. A sturdy two yard piece of fabric, originally painted as a Matchbox town, was kept on the top of our 5 gallon Lego bucket. It went down first and then the Legos. Cleanup was easy, just grabbed the 4 corners and dumped into the bucket.

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    1. I've seen people use a sheet and it works for them, but I can't envision my kids actually keeping it contained to an area like that. I guess even if it doesn't contain ALL the Legos, it does reduce clean up time because it contains most of them.

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  4. Yes, yes. Besides the baby wail, I think I heard all of these yesterday :)

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  5. Lol, and I thought I was done with all this. And then the grandbabies..... dun dun DUN!

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