Vow of Silence

Wow. Unexpectedly, I have a full fifteen minutes to myself this afternoon. Actually, it was half an hour, but I just wasted half of it surfing the net looking for info on recalled toys and symptoms of lead poisoning, because baby CJ was discovered earlier this afternoon with a blue tongue caused by sucking on a little rubbery fireman figure, provenance unknown, likely a dollar store, definitely made in China, and claims to have once been a Tonka product. The blue dye was what his saliva dissolved off the fireguy’s pants. That doesn’t seem normal. I’ve been sitting here seriously considering chucking all made-in-China toys that currently populate our house, along with all toys with small magnets. CJ is so very very mobile all of a sudden, and I cannot keep my eyes glued to him every minute of every day.

But let’s move on to cheerier topics, shall we. Tomorrow I’ll get down on hands and knees and crawl the house in search of disposable toys, but hey, this aft, I’ve got a few free minutes and I wanted to write about being mute for a couple of days. It was such a frustrating and simultaneously enlightening experience. On Wednesday I literally couldn’t speak. I could whisper, but my actual voice emanated as a high-pitched whistle that a) made me sound like a squeak toy and b) was highly ineffective for virtually any communication. But still having these children to look after, life went on, despite an almost silent Mommy. In fact, life went on really darn peacefully. For example, on Wednesday, the kids and I walked home from school in near silence, just a few comments from them to each other since I could not moderate discussion. We walked through the door and things did not fall apart. On the contrary, big bro A was on best behavior. Supper got made in record time. Peaceable children read stories to each other. Any intervention I made was whispered and therefore calm-sounding, patient. Children started whispering to each other. I swear, it was the best after-school-hour we’ve had all year.

I’m big on silver linings, and must confess it was really really frustrating not to be able to talk, like having a vow of silence forced upon one, but what I wanted to take away from the (admittedly brief) experience was how powerful a quiet voice can be. Much more powerful than a loud one. And additionally, how children can be moved to pitch in and help when really needed, how adversity raises the behavior bar for everyone. Not that I want to be sick again!

Oh dear. Naptime is abruptly over. The kid has napped a total of forty minutes all day! And it’s almost 5pm!

Superhero Cinderella

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