Too Many Words!

Why can't they all be nice and quiet like the dog..?

Why can’t they all be nice and quiet like the dog..?

After my day of zen on Friday I had a bit of a relapse on Saturday, culminating in me loudly biting out the words “just shut up” to my son in the middle of a busy supermarket. I so love making other parents feel better about themselves.

The problem is the talking. The endless, incessant, dual voiced, competing in stereo, “Mummy, mummy, mummy” talking. Alone or together, my kids are driving me nuts.

The irony, of course, is that I am a chatterbox. A talker rather than a listener. I have spent my whole life being teased for having too much to say.

My mum thinks it’s hilarious that the kids are driving me crazy. Of course, as the office-based parent when I was growing up, with my father the working-from-home one who presumably looked after us (I don’t remember) she didn’t have as much first-hand experience as she might think.

For six hours a day on nursery days and twelve on days when they’re at home, I’m expected to be able to hold two or three concurrent conversations, and tantrums ensue if anyone isn’t answered directly. And I do try. Because it upset me so much to be ignored as a child or to be ridiculed for having too many words, I try so hard to answer every query with patience.

But oh my the repetition.

Chatterbox Children

Chatterbox Children

In the twenty minutes preceding my loss of control in Tesco, my son had said the same sentence a dozen times. Like a Chinese water torture it broke through even medicated calm.

I suppose the difference is that, instead of blowing up at them, ranting and bellowing, then sobbing and apologising, I’ve had no release, so I’ve been snapping at them all afternoon. Frustratingly to the same end result that my daughter sobbed through dinner because of something mummy said: albeit in a snappy voice rather than a sergeant major shout.

It seems that maybe the bellowing rage works as a release valve and without it I’m just a mean mummy instead of a monster. I read a beautiful post on Amy Saab’s 2me4art blog today saying she is trying to listen to her ten year old son because she knows it won’t be long before he stops wanting to talk. I found myself looking forward to the surly uncommunicative teenage years today.

I’ve heard people say ‘listen properly to the small things or they won’t ever tell you the big things’, but how can you listen and listen and listen when you’re a talker? A ‘babbling brook’ as Gary Chapman describes it in The Five Love Languages. And as my children are talkers rather than listeners they’re not even happy using up their words on each other: I’ve taught them not to talk over people so all I hear is “he talked over me!” “but she wasn’t listening to me” followed by a tantrum, tears or a thump, because no one hates being ignored more than a three-year-old second child.

I don’t know what the answer is. The more I sit in silence the harder it is to be abused by the torrent of noise. And, is it me, but do they use fewer words at school than nursery? I suppose it’s all that listening they have to do. Certainly my daughter seems to need more of my attention than she did before she started school. I might have to go back to plugging them into Cbeebies before we all go mad.

10 thoughts on “Too Many Words!

  1. Oh you poor thing. ;_; I’ve only got the one kid, and she almost never closes her mouth and is obsessed with showing me every little thing that pops up in her books or her games or whatever, and it definitely has driven me to madness on more than one occasion (I’m neither a talker nor a listener), so I can’t FATHOM doing it with more than one kid.

    Take heed in knowing that there’s not a parent out there, no matter how awesome they think they are, who hasn’t at least THOUGHT of gagging their kid with a waded-up pile of socks. That’s just the nature of kids. Even the shy, quiet ones occasionally get on a rant and make us want to hit the mute button. 😛

  2. Oh Amanda, I know how hard you try! I really do. I am the same way. Only when your kids get older, you blab out much much worse things. Because you are so patient. And your are patient listening to the little things. I really don’t think it has to do with being a talker. That you can’t stand it. I think it has to do with being patient. (To a point!) 🙂

  3. I only have one but I swear he can keep talking while he breathes in as well as out and if I miss the smallest detail he gets hurt and upset. The only thing I can suggest is to call time and make them take turns. You are not alone, a lot of my other friends suffer this too. I have no idea how to teach them to stop competing for attention and take it in turns to listen. As I said, I find it hard enough with one. Let’s just say I am trying to explain to McMini that the best conversations have spaces in where the other person gets to talk or you both think about what’s been said. It’s also hard when I set such a piss poor example.

    So yeh, my sympathy.



  4. Another one with only one who finds that hard enough! My daughter LOVES to talk, and needs to tell me everything. I love listening to her most of the time, but there are days when it really does grate. Hope tomorrow is quieter for you!

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