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The Noise Lesson

Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
September 17, 2011

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The Noise Lesson

My child teaches me lessons all of the time. It's not a whether-I-like-it-or-not situation, but rather a when and where scenario. What I have experienced is I may not be the one in the middle of a situation in order to learn these lessons. Sometimes, I am taught lessons from my teacher even if I am the bystander in the equation. Nonetheless, the lessons speak volumes and I do learn from them.

My wife and I have a noise maker in our bedroom at home. Actually it is a fan/air purifier that makes a steady noise, as my wife cannot sleep in absolute silence. She has to have some sort of steady noise while she sleeps; otherwise she is wide awake until the early hours of the morning. Me on the other hand, I can sleep with or without the noise. I am a light sleeper and I will agree with her philosophy that the constant "hum" does eliminate the background noise. We do not live near train tracks; however, during the winter months, in the distance, the sound of the trains whistle does carry our direction. I will admit I have woken up because of the whistle on the occasion that I have fallen asleep in the office. When I am in our bedroom the noise within the room certainly takes care of that.

When we travel and go on trips, my wife insists that we take the fan or some other sort of noise making apparatus. That way she could get a good night's rest during the times she is not in our bed at home. We recently found a noise maker buried in a box in the office. We recall that the item was given to us when our son was born. The noise maker is actually pretty cool. It has several noise setting options like; a waterfall, a thunderstorm, a river, birds chirping and white noise. Her favorite option is the white noise, but to me it just sounds like a TV when the cable has gone out.

On a recent outing, a large group of us spent two nights at dirt bike park where each family rented cabins. The cabin we rented was basically a studio style cabin consisting only one room, plus the bathroom. The small size of the cabin didn?t bother us since the reason were there was to ride dirt bikes and hang out in the cabin.

After we got prepared for bed that first night, my teacher climbed into the bed he was to sleep in and my wife and I got into the bed we were to sleep in. Because we were all exhausted from the day?s activities, all three of us were definitely ready for bed. It didn't matter that it was hours before my wife and I normally turned in for the night. That just proved how exhausted we were, but in a good way. We said our good nights and I thought that was the end to an awesome day. I had no idea I was about to be taught yet another lesson. That was the last thing on my mind.

In true fashion, once my wife was settled in bed, she leaned over and turned on the noise maker. In the small cabin that thing echoed like no one?s business. The lights were out and the cabin was-a-rumbling. Finally, my teacher spoke up.

"Boy is that thing loud." He announced.

"Sorry honey, but I need it to sleep." My wife voiced.

"But mom, I can't sleep with that 'gi-normous' noise." He exclaimed. Just so you know, "gi-normous" is a combination of the two words, "gigantic" and "enormous".

"But I really need it on to sleep." My wife again expressed trying to convince my teacher.

"But if it's on it will keep me up, mom." He remarked.

I was not going to get in the middle of this one. However, I knew sooner or later I would be prompted to engage. This was a tough call. I actually agreed with both points of view.

"Honey, can you please explain to your son the reason why I need the noise while I sleep." She asked.

"Dad, that's not fair because I can't sleep with that THING on." He communicated.

I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! I knew I was going to get pulled into the middle of this. I certainly was not going to take sides, but I was sure we could come up with a fair solution for all.

"What we need to do here is figure out a way that everyone is happy in the end, so let's all think about it, please." I expressed.

Silence filled the room. Actually the steady "rumbling" sound of the noise maker filled the room as the three of us thought about a solution to this problem.

Finally my teacher had an idea. "I've got it!" He exclaimed.

He suggested keeping the noise maker off until he fell asleep. Then once he was asleep my wife could turn it back on. That way he wouldn't notice the noise since he is such a heavy sleeper. He reminded us that he doesn?t have any problems sleeping through loud thunder storms.

With just enough light from the night light illuminating from the bathroom, my wife and I could barely see each other; we just shook our heads. That was such a simple solution, why didn't we think of that? My wife leaned back over and turned the noise maker off. Then we put our heads on our pillows.

"Son, sometimes you amaze me." I expressed.

"Why." He asked.

"Your idea was so simple and such a great solution. I'm just blown away. And, seriously, I can't believe that mom nor I didn't even think about that." I explained.

"Thanks." He acknowledged.

Then he got one last thought in and it was a valid point, I have to admit.

"You know mom, that noise thing doesn't work for everyone." He conveyed.

Then we all said goodnight for the second time that night.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: Just because something works for one person doesn?t necessarily mean that it works for everyone.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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