Silencing the Idle Babble

Posted on | September 9, 2012 | 8 Comments

In The Little Mermaid, Ursula convinced Ariel to give up  her voice in part because “After all dear, what is idle babble for?” The line always sort of amused me but I never gave it much thought until recently. And by recently, I mean the moment that my child learned to string sounds into words and words into sentences.

Because honest to God, he has not stopped talking since.

Over the weekend, I was the unlucky recipient of a headache that crept up the back of my neck and nestled into the base of my skull with a thickness of pain that threatened to explode my head. All I wanted was fifteen minutes of silence to lay down and close my eyes… fifteen minutes.  So I put ice cream in a bowl and handed it to my three year old, figuring that would give me a few minutes to myself.  About the time I put a cold compress over my eyes, I heard a loud crash, followed by instantaneous sobs.

Because I’m the genius who gave my three year old a glass dessert dish.

Instead of silence, I got to vacuum up pieces of glass, calm a terrified child, and herd dogs away from the pools of sweetened milk lying on the floor.

It’s ridiculous how much noise something so small can make.  From the moment he opens his eyes in the morning, he is talking.  He talks about the places we’re going, the people he sees on the roadside, and the number of leaves on the roofs of the houses we pass.  He talks about what he’ll do at school today, what he’ll do at school tomorrow, and what he did at school yesterday.  He asks if we can swim with the dolphins when he’s five, if we can drive to the beach or the zoo or hell, to the moon.  He talks… constantly

I want to encourage it, I do.  Except when my head hurts.  And the house is dirty.  And there’s glass and melting ice cream all over the floor.  Then? Then I want to scream “OH MY GOD JUST SHUT UP FOR FIVE FREAKING MINUTES, GEEZ!”  Or I do what I did over the weekend without thinking… I clapped my hand directly over his mouth and growled through my teeth that he needed to just. be. quiet.

And then I feel bad for losing my temper, losing my patience with him.  He’s three… he doesn’t understand “mommy has a headache.” He doesn’t understand that I haven’t slept in three days, I’ve got poison ivy all up my leg that burns and stings and itches like the second coming of the plague, and my head is pounding.  He doesn’t get that there’s no more beer in the house, I’m out of Aleve, and the only chocolate is M&Ms and I really don’t LIKE M&Ms.

He doesn’t get any of that and when I’m rested and happy and pain-free, I remember all of that.

But this weekend?

This weekend all I heard was “blah blah blah my three year old voice is constantly too loud and I like to break things blah blah blah” and when I lifted my hand from his mouth and he stared up at me in shock  for ten seconds before re-setting and re-commencing his commentary on… everything… I didn’t even feel bad about the ten seconds I felt like throttling him.

And I hope to God we all have moments like that… or I’m just a jackass.


8 Responses to “Silencing the Idle Babble”

  1. KeAnne
    September 9th, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    You are so not alone. Seriously. I’ve written at least 2 or 3 posts on the frustrations of this age. Reading the last few posts is like déjà vu.

  2. Kassie
    September 9th, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    I’m totally with you. Actually right now, I’m really not looking froward to my 9 month old starting to talk. It’ll be both of them talking all of the time! Driving me insane! It is crazy – because we send Graham to speech therapy for $92 a WEEK, because he doesn’t talk well, but when he is speaking (CONSTANTLY) all I want to do is scream “SHUT UP!”. I win mother of the year, over and over again. 🙂

  3. bookworm81
    September 9th, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

    Glad to know I’m not the only mom whose kid is in speech therapy and also just wants him to shut up sometimes 🙂

  4. Amy E
    September 9th, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    you’re normal. hang in there woman

  5. Delia
    September 9th, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    You are so not alone. The worst is when they repeat things 15 times because I didn’t answer quickly enough. Blah!

  6. Melisa Smithwick
    September 9th, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

    Well…if you’re a jackass, then we all are because my 3 year old is the same. He talks from the moment his eyes pop open until he goes to sleep at night. I don’t know how many times I have lost my shit and told him to just shut up. And I hate myself for it…

  7. kristinayellow
    September 10th, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    God bless you for saying this. I love my 3 1/2 yr old but honest to goodness, I’m 7 month preggie with a healthy baby that is literally draining life from me, on partial bedrest and I just want to shake my kid and say please? can’t you just take a nap? please???? Hell, just play quietly in your room for 30 minutes without me so I can collapse on my bed and try and make it through until tonight.

  8. Shannon
    September 12th, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    I know that this was meant to be a light-hearted post probably. Yet it hit a very raw nerve in me.
    Be happy. Feel blessed that your child can speak. As the mom of a 5-year old, non-verbal son named Daniel on the Autism Spectrum, I just have to say that I would give up my legs and arms to hear my son talk. Literally. I would give my life for him to have a normal one.
    Relish every word you hear, and when you find yourself getting frustrated, ask yourself what if all you had was silence?

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