Some children are quiet, others will chat to you for a while before going off to do their own thing. Then there are those children who do. Not. Ever. Stop. Talking. Ever. Children like my four-year-old son, who, from the moment he wakes up at around 6.30am until he goes to bed at 7pm, talks relentlessly. In fact, he doesn’t even stop at bedtime because he also talks in his sleep (It’s surprisingly disconcerting to hear someone in the house discussing which Lego Ninjago character is the best at 3am). I feel pretty confident that he has never had one internal thought that he has not vocalised, which, as you can imagine, has led to some pretty embarrassing episodes, especially as he only has one volume setting (loud).
Don’t get me wrong, I love my son, and I love the fact that he is so inquisitive. But sometimes, I’d also really like a few minutes of peace. If you have ever found yourself wondering if you child has an “off” setting somewhere, then maybe you can relate to some of these things that only a parent of a chatterbox can understand.
1. Silence Is So Golden, You Would Sell Your Right Arm For It
During the day you seek out those golden moments of silence, when you are free from the endless chattering. It might be in the toilet (though that’s unlikely), or when your child is eating a snack (which you gave them in order to stop the chattering), or in the moments between you getting out of the car, and then opening their door to let them out. They are precious, and truly invigorating. In the evening after your child has gone to sleep, you flop onto your own bed or the sofa, without the TV or radio, just embracing the quiet.
2. No Topic Is Out Of Bounds For Public Broadcast
When you are out and about you try and time your toilet breaks for when someone else is around to watch your child, so that you can avoid the inevitable broadcast about the state of your wee-wee to all of the other cubical occupants, and god forbid you be on your period. At the swimming pool, you try and choose a changing room far away from all of the other users for the same reason.
3. It’s Very Tempting To Discourage Your Chatterbox’s Younger Siblings From Learning To Talk
When your second child shows very little interest in learning to talk (probably because she knows she won’t get a word in edgeways anyway, so what would be the point) you are, naturally, a little worried. However, there is a small part of you that is secretly relieved that you don’t have a second chatterbox on your hands.
4. Your Smartphone Is Kept Close So You Can Answer Those Really Important Questions
You know, like “how are roads made?” and “what is the centre of the Earth made from?” Then there are all those times that you need to know the names of every single engine from Thomas the Tank Engine or the individual powers of each Pokemon. On the plus side, your child is convinced that you are a genius.
5. Driving To The Shops Becomes An Endurance Sport
Mummy, what does that sign mean? Mummy, look there’s a tractor. Look, Mummy, a white car. Look, Mummy, there’s a white car with a caravan. Mummy, are we nearly there yet? Can we play I Spy, Mummy? I’ll go first. I spy with my little eye something coloured grey. No, it’s not the steering wheel; it’s an elephant. Mummy, why did you say that’s not how you play I Spy? Look another caravan!
It’s a minor miracle if you manage to complete your journey without causing an accident as a result of being so distracted.
6. You End Each Day Utterly Drained Mentally
It’s exhausting looking after a Chatterbox. You don’t get to sit down with a nice cup of tea and relax for a few minutes because there is always one more question to answer. And,you can’t switch off and just pretend to listen with the occasionally “hmm” or “yes” thrown in for good measure, because before you know it, you have agreed to host a sleepover for five kids with takeaway pizza thrown in.
At the end of each day you feel as though you have nothing more to give. You count down the minutes and seconds till bedtime. Then the night passes, morning arrives once more with a fresh “good morning, Mummy”, and you start all over again. But even though you are completely knackered, you still love that little noise-maker, and you understand that talking makes them happy, and that’s the most precious thing.