Noise is thump thump thump down the stairs, tinkle of the xylophone, Nee Naw of the toy fire engine, rude rasp of the bottom burp. Noise is ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ sung, whispered, yelled, marched. Noise is banged knee, pushed sister, bitten brother, tormented cat. Noise is ‘No! I don’t want this porridge/T-shirt/toothbrush/bowl/chair/ride-on toy/potty/role in the game/toy that is being offered instead of the one I really want that my brother currently has’. Noise.
Peace. Peace is rare and a gift. Peace is a sleeping child, in bed, on lap, in car. Peace is a book-after-book story time on a chilly winter afternoon. Peace is the first thirty seconds after getting the paints out. Peace is a contented toddler breastfeeding. Peace is a sunny weekday in the park or in the safe grounds of a stately home, children roaming the lawn, the woods, the adventure playground. Peace is fish and chips for tea. Peace is learning to play together. Peace.
One day, I muse darkly, the noise and the peace will be no more and we’ll be left with the silence of children grown and gone. Silence and silence.
But for now it’s the lovely steady undulating rhythm of the noise and the peace. The noise and the peace…