Sylvia is a very enthusiastic child. Her volume dial is often all the way up. So, a couple of days ago when Ayla was napping and Sylvia woke her up again (happens a lot), I asked her out of frustration, "why do you have to be so loud when Ayla's sleeping?"
Sylvia got kind of quiet and said, "it's just hard to be a big sister...when you're still so little."
Of course! Squashing Sylvia's enthusiasm (and general nature) for baby-nap-time-quiet in the house is not going to happen, and I no longer feel the need to shush her. After these kind of 'a-ha' moments for me, solutions generally present themselves. Ayla is quite the agreeable little one, so I can leave music on in the room while she's sleeping (this seems to take the edge off of some of the more sudden other noises). Or she's always happy to sleep on me no matter what the noise level, a lap, or a baby-carrier give her all the security and peace she needs to sleep away. Changing the general situation and set-up rather than attempting to change the child is key to most disagreeable situations in our family.
Camille told me once, when she was five, that she couldn't hear humans very well because her fairies were so loud.
And I got it. I used to get frustrated that it often seemed like she wouldn't listen to me, but she wasn't trying to tune me out. She had to work hard to tune me in. I vividly remembered being adrift in fantastical, imaginary worlds as a child and being pulled out of them to perform some mundane chore. It seemed at the time like a large intrusion. Ever since that one comment by Camille, I try to be careful and catch her in a receptive mood if there's something that I really want to communicate about. It works so much better, for both of us.
So, as a parent, and a human, I am grateful for those little 'a-ha' moments. Something that I can get so stuck on, can in a moment, dissolve into a non-issue. I have noticed that the more I view my children with the assumption of positive intent, the more I leave myself open and unstuck in these moments, the less there is for me to get upset about. Then I can help my children to work through their difficulties, or allow them the space to work through without interference, and the taking-it-personally doesn't get in the way.
Really, how could I have expected Sylvia to keep her volume down for long periods of time in the first place? It's so much better to appreciate her for the great bundle of energy that she is....