Saturday, November 1, 2014

Please, Please, PLEASE Just Stop Talking. I'll Do Anything.

I never imagined how often that thought would cross my mind, and certainly not in the context of parenting. Some of the happiest days of my life were when my kids uttered their first words. I read to my kids constantly and encouraged them to talk all the time.

I think my efforts might have been too successful, however, because now it's virtually impossible to get either one of them to shut the fuck up for one second. In a car, on a plane, on a bus, on a train. It's like fucking "Green Eggs and Ham," all the places they simply will not stop talking: Could you would you in a bed? Could you would you on a sled? Will you stop talking on a boat? Or should I dive into a moat?

I'm grateful that my kids are verbal and curious about the world. But at the end of a long day, it becomes difficult to answer their questions: "Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?"; "What happens to your body after you die?"; "What is evolution?" "Are sharks the cousins of sting rays?"; "Why do people in your job sue you?"; "How are babies made?"; "Why is your vagina hairy?"

Each of these topics could be an hour long discussion in and of itself, but they seem to come at rapid-fire when I'm least prepared to contend with them. I know I should be thankful and cherish these moments of inquisitive interaction, and I do. Yet at times, I find myself spacing out and answering some question vaguely and obliquely because I was paying approximately zero attention.

And between the questions, silence is elusive. There's humming and clucking and throat-clearing and other noises apparently intended to fill any small sliver of merciful silence that descends on a room. My kids come by it honestly I suppose. After all, I rarely stop talking either. But when I talk, those kids LISTEN goddammit! Right? Right?

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