My son doesn't have an "Off" switch. Except when he's asleep, only then, he's coughing like an old man.
When I picked him up from school last week, the teacher called out, "Voices off, please." By last night, after a full two weekend days of being solo mommy, I was begging, "Voices off, for the love of God, VOICES OFF!"
You have a child and you yearn for the day that he or she will speak. You celebrate the words, the sentences, their crazy, idealized way of putting thoughts together verbally. And then they never stop talking. You hold your head. You beg for quiet time. You try to explain to your childless friend, whom you have met for lunch, why your own child never stops speaking. Something about being an only child. Being a spirited child. Being six. You run out of excuses and order extra food for the child so that you can at least talk with your friend for five minutes without constant interruption.
The noise continues. Through Target. Through the grocery store. You get stares along with looks of sympathy. The volume goes up in the car. For the full hour that it takes to get home from the lunch outing. You feel your sanity slowly, ever so slowly, slipping away until you pull over the car, take the child's face in your hands and as lovingly as you can, say: "Please stop talking. Please listen to the music. Please look out the window. Please do anything that doesn't involve moving your lips."
I am not exaggerating. My mom walked in from her evening out last night and found me, on the couch, in a catatonic state. "What's wrong?" she asked. I could barely piece together a full sentence: "No words, please, no words. No noise. MUST. HAVE. QUIET. TIME. NOW.
She actually agreed that the non-stop chatter has gone a little too far. "You don't want him to grow up to be an adult who talks all the time," she advised. No I certainly do not.
Starting today, we are going to have periods of quiet time. I'm not asking for much; just a mere 15 minutes every few hours would do my emotional state a whole lot of good.
Last night, Ben spent the last 30 minutes of his after dinner play time attacking me on the couch. Full blown body attacks. Monster style attacks. Never mind the hot cup of tea that I had freshly brewed to enjoy on the couch.
I know that someday I'll yearn for the time that he actually wanted to speak with me at any length but for now, I'm investing my money in lollipops and Advil and hoping that he can develop great respect for the timer that is about to come into his life this afternoon.
Wish me luck.
PS. What is up with pneumonia? Does it ever go away??? When he wasn't talking, Ben was coughing - all weekend long. We're seeing the doctor - for the third time in a month - tomorrow.