It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and my house is the quietest it has been since 6:00 this morning.
That is when our four-year-old barged into our room, whimpering that she had lost a specific stuffed animal and that she would not be able to go back to sleep without it.
Since we are such great parents, we waved a hand in her general direction, mumbled that she was fine, and sent her back to bed.
After she slammed our door behind her, we could hear her (pitifully fake) crying in her room.
So obviously, everyone was up for the day twenty minutes before alarms were set to go off.
If you have a four-year-old, you know what came next.
Absolute nonstop chatter.
Chatter about her breakfast.
Chatter about her outfit for the day.
Chatter about her sisters.
Chatter about the intricate relationship between her toys and her imaginary pony.
Chatter about her favorite songs and games and movies and friends and when are we going to the library next Mommy?
Questions over questions over information given freely that no one asked for.
White clouds, blue sky, green grass, Mommy that car is yellow. Who is in the car Mommy? Can I take off my shoes? I have socks on. They are purple. Purple is Sissy’s favorite color and Aya’s is pink and yours is aqua and daddy’s is blue and grandpa’s is yellow and Mimi’s is white. I like green. Green is my favorite. The grass is green. The clouds are white!
And on, and on, and on all day long.
This is why I don’t answer my phone. If you call me, there’s a 99% chance I won’t answer. (Though I will note that it is absolutely hilarious when she answers my phone – which sometimes I let her do when it’s a telemarketer. They get so much helpful information about colors and songs and toys and her little friends!)
This is also the reason why I will sometimes not answer someone when they are talking to me. I have the amazing Mom Survival Skill of Tuning Out. Sometimes the tuning out extends beyond my minivan and the living room and ends up infiltrating other aspects of my life and I will completely ignore someone who is speaking right to me. Sorry about that, friends. But when you have a house full of children and one of them is four – you’ll understand.
Don’t take this to mean I don’t love the chatter. I learn so much about her and I get to catch the hilarious things she says. And I know that too soon, the chatter will turn to back talk and closed doors.
This simply means I have learned to appreciate the quiet times while they are here. I’ve learned to take 2 hours a day (during “nap time” which used to be for napping and now is for destroying her room while she has “quiet time”) and focus on doing something quiet for myself. I usually end up writing, watching grown-up TV, or taking a long, hot shower and giving myself a facial.
Maybe I should be cleaning my house or tackling my to-do list. But this time, like my toddler’s babyhood, is fleeting. If I filled up every quiet moment with chatter of a different variety – that’s not a break. That will burn me out faster than anything. Taking care of me during these quiet moments allows me to enthusiastically respond to – or un-apologetically tune out – the four-year-old chatter.
It keeps things in balance. As much as life with three kids, a husband, and a job can be, anyway.
Until next time,