Since I still have six kids at home, I write amidst distractions on a daily basis. The above example is not an uncommon ploy by my children to break my concentration. Why must they continue? Because they're nuts. They're all nuts.

This particular NUT wanted my attention so bad, he went to great lengths to get it.

And after I realized the cork board I was staring at, suddenly had a life-sized kid standing in front of it...a life-sized kid wearing a bra with stuffed animals poking out of the cups...I blinked back to the present and grabbed my phone. Ha, ha! Facebook here I come.

And since all my other kids were waiting behind the door to see what my reaction would be to this little stunt, I reached inside my desk drawer, pulled out my loaded water gun, and chased their asses down. All of 'em.

Oh, yeah. I got them good. Chased them out the front door and down the street, bra baby and all.

After a lunch break (I did seriously need one), a thought came to me. I realized the reason why I can concentrate and write through all the distractions in my nutty house is because I have trained my mind over the years to block shit out.

Shit, as in: whining and crying, bickering and fighting, running up and down staircases, banging and pounding on the floor of the bedroom above my office, small fires in the back yard...oh, yes, small fires, rap music blaring from the intercoms located in every room (what idiot thought of that one?), scooter wars, silly string wars, the next movie we're all going to watch wars, musical compositions on the grand piano, opera singing that reverberates the windows, guitar practice (ouch), group renditions of the cup song from my elementary age kids and all their friends, and all kinds of mayhem a full house just seems to create.

I tune ALL that shit out...usually...boys in bras will make me take notice...and I type, type, type away. How am I able to block all this craziness out?

I came to the conclusion that throughout the child rearing years, I've learned how to discern which sounds need my prompt attention (high-pitched screams being one of them) and which sounds can be ignored.

But the discernment took time.

With kid one and kid two, I found myself running from diaper to drawers. From bad boo boo, which usually meant a hospital visit, to wee boo boo, which usually meant a kiss and a band-aid. I was barely able to finish a paragraph during these years.

With kid three and kid four (Irish twins seems to be my thing), I was still running from diapers to mischief but with a more graceful flare. I knew what I was doing. I no longer looked like my hair was on fire. I could catch a diaper on the fly, spin and kick a run-away toy train, and still stir the oatmeal. Whew! I was good.

During this time a big change happened. I began the art of delegation, and I implemented the "It can wait!" statement. Oh, the joys of being boss!

Kid five and kid six? Ha! By the time they came around my writing life was Easy schpeasy. Nothing seemed to bother me now. All the above mentioned mayhem just began taking a nice ride in the back seat. La la la. I started WRITING.

"Mom... Michael's on the roof again!"
"That's okay, sweetie. He'll get off soon." Type, type, type.
"Mom... Juliana just jumped on Macky(our horse)!"
"That's okay, pumpkin. Catch him when he gets tired." Type, type, type.
"Mom... We really need to go grocery shopping and the dishwasher's doing that funny thing, again."
"Kick it back in place, and there's crackers. Oh, and I think...I think there's some celery." Type, type, type.

It can all wait. Kids on rooftops, kids on horses and overflowing soap bubbles... All that can all wait until I'm ready to take care of it or somebody else does it for me.

Hey, it's not selfish. It's good time management.

The only time I might break out of my zone is when something really interesting catches my attention.

Like the time my two, five and six year old snot-wads came in the house butt-naked, covered from head to toe in mud, and began running around in circles, waving their arms around and making all kinds of scary noises.

Remember delegation? I had two neighbor kids watching them for me for a couple of hours. Just a couple of hours. Seems they had a school project to do. On aborigines. They were setting out to film their two aborigines...my kids.

No, I did not allow them to film my naked babies. Although, on second thought, You Tube. I could have been famous. Still, even without going viral, fame around the neighborhood ensued. We were, since this incident, fondly referred to as the "Naked baby house."

Ah, no matter. Nowadays I can easily do about 4,000 words a day, more if I need to. I just tune it out. Well, unless my testosterone-ridden kid comes in wearing a bra. Exception understood, right?

Life is good when you know how to work around it.

How about you? How do you handle distractions? Do you just take a break and wait for the storm to pass? Tune it out? Or do you delegate and feel the power?
 

    Cynthia Wright

    An apocalyptic sci-fi writer who drinks waaaay to much coffee and has waaaay too many kids to be called sane.  

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