Amy Choate Nielsen has used balled-up tissues, toilet paper, newspaper, notebook paper and ear plugs to take the edge off of noise in the past, but those methods aren’t quite as effective against a temper tantrum.
The fabric of my life is made of days like today.
Days like today have highs and lows. They are a blur of sun and rain. They are punctuated by moments of me saying “yes,” and moments of me saying “no” — and I know what happens when I say no. What follows is a cacophony of wails and screams, a tsunami of noise that carries itself with the force of a wall, so you’d better take cover.
But let’s back up for a minute.
There are a few things you should know about me. My eyesight is pretty poor, so my other senses are guiltily trying to make up for it. I startle easily. I can detect an odor from across the room, and chances are the smell is giving me a headache. I love the taste of dark, dark chocolate and I can be debilitatingly ticklish.
I know, I sound like an awfully high-maintenance whiner — and that’s just the beginning. I get migraines sometimes, and the light hits my eyes like daggers. I like to hide in my room at least once a day so I can be alone. When I was a child, I couldn’t stand to wear certain types of fabric or let the tag of my shirts scratch my neck. My frustration over fabric and scratchy tags brought me to tears fairly often as a kid, but I can only imagine now how my responses then made my mother feel.
I once came across an article that described qualities of a highly sensitive person and I identified with almost all of the qualifications. And recently, I read an article about misophonia and decided I have that, too.
For my birthday, I asked my husband for noise-canceling headphones so I could make dinner in peace, instead of listening to kids fighting, kids asking for treats, kids yelling at me when I say no because dinner is cooking and kids screaming or banging spoons on the table for fun.
I put the headphones on and suddenly the world is quiet. I can hear sounds, but my kids don’t know that, so they give up easily after they’ve asked me for another piece of gum and I say no. There is no…