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My house is so quiet that I can’t think straight.

That’s right; it’s so calm in here that I can hear a bird singing outside in the trees … and it’s about to drive me crazy.

I may have to pause and turn the TV on to Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon just so I can hear the comforting banter of SpongeBob and Patrick.

This is the I have reached after all these years of being a mother. I’m not at ease unless there is noise — preferably lots of it — in the background of my life.

I function best when at least three things are going on at once ... or when at least three Zich boys are trying to get my attention at the same time.

They escaped the house more than an hour ago to enjoy the freedom only a summer day can offer.

Because I made sure to feed them a hearty breakfast, compliments of McDonald’s, none of them realize it is way past lunchtime. Normally, by this late in the afternoon, all three of them have shown up in the kitchen to request three different things for lunch.

I’m trying to take advantage of the situation and get a little work done, but like I said, it is just too quiet in here.

I haven’t had to solve a disagreement or clean up a mess in a couple of hours, which feels just plain weird to me.

Even Glory is leaving me alone. I finished off a box of Nilla wafers five minutes ago, and she didn’t even bother getting up off the floor to try and beg a cookie off of me. There are crumbs on the table she hasn’t even sniffed.

The boys need to realize their stomachs are empty, come home and make some noise so I can get something done around here.

My fingers would be flying across this keyboard if I were listening to the familiar sound of Jimmy and Ronnie arguing over who gets the last Dr. Pepper in the fridge.

Maybe Tommy would join in on the fun by hiding the Dr. Pepper so neither one of his brothers could find it.

That could provoke an all-out battle involving the three of them and even Glory, if she happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is in the midst of such chaos that my moments of true inspiration come along, and I can’t seem to stop myself from writing them down.

That’s when I have to yell out to the tumble of boys and fur rolling around on my living room floor, “Hold it, boys. Try not to kill each other while I finish this column!”

My need to be surrounded by chaos and noise did not develop overnight. It started more than 15 years ago when Jimmy was born and increased every time a little brother or pet joined the family.

We have grown into one big family that makes too much noise for me to ever stop to notice the sound of birdies singing in the trees. On the rare occasion, like today, when I can hear that strange music coming from outside, I don’t know how to react.

It’s sort of creepy.

I’m going to go wake up Glory and wait for Jimmy, Tommy and Ronnie to come home. They are likely to be so grouchy from hunger that they will already be bickering by the time they walk through the door.

Then I will finally feel at home again.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 19 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at or visit her Web site at

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