Lately, I really want my children to stop talking. I am running out of patience for being quizzed on the rules of baseball or hearing any more about the Patriots and their record, or why Lovie Smith of the Bears should not have been fired. I do not care what color Valentines they are making or the significance of which friend gets which sticker. I do not want to hear the same story about the funny, or unfair, thing that happened at school three years ago.
I am tired of trying to explain news stories in a way that makes sense to people who have zero world experience, so please, quit asking questions. Also, for the 1,000th time I really do not care whether the cracker you are holding is actually a whole cracker or a broken cracker that you are carefully holding together so that it looks like one cracker. Just please put it in your mouth so that I can have two seconds of quiet while you chew.
I know that when my children are reticent adolescents I will mourn the days when I knew everything that happened at school. One day I will beg them to take the headphones out of their ears and talk to me. I know there is a mother out there who really cannot wait to chastise me and tell me how much she would love it if her child spoke at all, let alone too much. Before you do lady, I get it, I’m grateful. I know that if (god forbid) something terrible happened to my children these words, this plea for quiet, would come back to haunt me and probably drive me insane with guilt.
Perhaps it is this guilt that makes this so difficult for me. Because it is not that my children are being particularly loud or obnoxious, or even that the conversation is about poop. Those are times when I can say “That is not appropriate” or “We do not talk about that at the table” or “You need to leave the room.” Those are times that I have an excuse to ask for quiet. But using the word “mommy” five times in the space of one sentence, a sentence that contained zero new or useful information is not a punishable offense.
I recently started reading “The Flame Alphabet” about a world where children’s speech becomes toxic and although the book isn’t my cup of tea, I totally get it. The every day constant chatter of my children is slowly driving me insane. But there is no way to say to your beloved child, “Could I please just have five minutes where you are not you, where you are a quiet person” without causing psychic harm. It is why I am very careful to never tell my children to “shut up,” no matter how angry I am. I do not want them to “shut up” to shut themselves off or up, to stop being themselves, I simply want quiet.
If that’s too much to ask, if I am alone in this secret desire, please don’t tell me. I really don’t want to hear it.