I know this is hard to believe if you have a small, non-verbal baby or a taciturn teenager at your house, but there are times when I fear my ears might literally start bleeding, my kids talk so much. The other day my 4yo chattered incessantly from the moment he woke up to the moment — much, much later — when he finally fell asleep, mid-sentence. You would think he would lose his voice before that, but you’d be wrong.
7am: “Mom, I’m pretending I’m a Power Ranger, the blue one not the red one, and I have laser swords that can battle bad guys and you be the bad guy, OK, Mom, and I’m gonna fight you with my laser sword and blast you into outer space and then I transform into an alien sword fighter, Mom, and you pretend to be a bad-guy alien and we’ll fight each other with our space swords and go like this — bzzzrrppp, zap, chugachugachuga, bzzzzzrrrrrpppp, BLAM! — and then you go like this, Mom, OK? And — Mom! Mom! MOMMM!!!”
This continues through breakfast, before preschool, on the way to preschool, AT preschool, I would imagine, at pickup, through lunch, through the afternoon and evening. You can’t ignore it, so I don’t even try to skate by with a noncommittal “Um, hmmm, sweetie. That’s nice,” because he will sniff out any lack of enthusiasm and pepper me with verbal and physical jabs, if necessary, until he is SURE he has my FULL and COMPLETE attention. And at TOP VOLUME, mind you. “Indoor voices” mean nothing to my kids.
After, oh, maybe 7 or 8 hours of this verbal assault, I can get a little crabby. “Sweetie. Listen. I need you to PLEASE STOP TALKING. For 5 min., at least. Just so I can make this phone call, OK?” Or hear myself think!! This doesn’t work, though. If anything, it makes it worse. Cue the whining. And hollering and wailing, even. It’s such a shame my kids are so neglected. A mother who dares ask to go into the bathroom by herself without a running commentary?!
As excruciating as this is to experience, it’s even more excruciating to watch when my sons are trying to talk to their dad, because dads somehow possess a gene that allows them to tune out their offspring. It’s probably biological, like how moms are programmed to snap bolt upright out of a deep sleep at the slightest whimper from their baby while dad slumbers away, blissfully unaware. I can listen to this for maybe 30 seconds, tops:
“Dad, can I have some more milk, please? Dad? Dad! Daddy! DAAAADDD!!”
…before I snap: “Honey, can you PLEASE acknowledge your son?! He’s trying to get your attention!”
Dad: “Huh? Was somebody talking to me?”
As I am writing this, my children are in bed at last. I hear nothing but the chirping of crickets outside and the tapping of my keyboard. Oh, and the ringing in my ears, still echoing with shouts of “Mooooommmm!”