Like things that go bump in the night there are sounds in my home that visitors and non-immediate members of Traci's Frat House find extremely frightening and yet I have come to anticipate, understand and at times ignore.
Not a day goes by that I don't hear a crash, a thud or the sound of bodies bouncing against one another. Of course when you walk around the house with a sand pail on your head, you're going to run into a wall or brother or two - don't ask; it's a phase.
My mother and others who are uninitiated have a tendency to jump and run towards the sounds of bodies falling upstairs, where as I wait and listen for the audio that accompanies these actions. Only rarely is there a real need for me to run out of concern and to offer comfort. More often than not when the perpetrator comes looking for sympathy (and taking into account there is no blood, bruising or missing teeth) my response is "whose fault is it?" or "shake it off."
On those rare occasions when I hear the 2nd floor about to collapse, followed by a cry and the sound of an older brother saying "shhhh...it's ok, you're ok, don't cry....it's ok mommy, it's just a boo boo and (insert child's name here) is fine" I take a deep breath and wait. Because if it's really dire, the injured victim will slowly make his way down to me, tears pouring from his eyes, holding the affected appendage and asking for a band aid for the boo boo. As a mommy of 4 boys, I make sure to always have a full supply of bandaids and kisses for boo boos. It's in the job description.
I gave up asking "why did you do that?" long ago. You ask the question and the response is a vacant stare as you see their minds working backwards to try and remember what prompted them to see if they could hang from the door frame and swing their bodies down the hallway without touching the floor. Or there is the inevitable "I don't know" that absolutely drives me insane. Not because it's their excuse but because they really don't know. They are not yet able to articulate what prompted their actions and I just have to shake my head.
Mommy - What was that?
Name a kid - Nothing. It's ok.
Mommy - Knock it off.
All kids at same time - Ok
A few minutes later, CRASH! followed by whimpers and cries which results in mommy heading upstairs.
Mommy - What on earth is going on up here? It sounds like the roof is going to implode.
Name a kid - It wasn't me it was (fingers are pointed and accusations fly) Thomas, Myles, Hunter. Jax is just on the cusp of being brought into the fold of the blame game.
I must admit that as a mother, I find it actually quite touching when Hunter, a 2 year old that barely walks straight is pointed out to be ringleader for said activity. On the one hand it's sad that JT & Myles actually think I'm going to believe this and it's also warms my heart because the older boys have initiated the 2 year old into their fraternity and where 1 goes, all follow.
I have no basis of comparison as I've only been raising boys and I, myself, was an only child. I do not recall having a need to throw my body around the house, jumping from the top of the stairs or seeing if I could go from one point in the house to another without actually touching the floor. But something tells me that 4 little girls don't spend their time trying to figure out if they can catch a 2 year old jumping off the bed. Even poor Jax, who is just beginning to walk has been told by Myles and Hunter to "shake it off" when he's landed on his bottom while trying to grasp the finer concepts of walking.
Initiation into Phi Gamma Tan isn't easy but it is filled with lots of love, support and bandaids. And noise, don't forget the noise.