When you can’t find the mute button.
I don’t know one parent, not even the most loving and perfect parent, who hasn’t thought at some point of the day “I really wish I could just press mute – just for five minutes”.
You know what I mean. You don’t even need to be tired, or in a bad mood or anything like that, it’s just a natural reaction when you’re entire day is a running commentary. I’m not sure what age it starts; I guess it depends on the child. But it happens over night. One day, they will sit playing peacefully obviously they cry, they babble, they make noises and speak a little bit, but there are peaceful moments (usually when you stick the TV on and they stand staring at it open mouthed). You’re spending days, trying to get them to say “Mummy” (they always say daddy first the little traitors). Then when they do, you celebrate, your heart melts, often at 4am when they’re standing in their cot, jumping up and down wanting to play, the utterance of “MUMMMYYY” will soften the blow enough to ensure you’re not angry. I guess that’s nature?
The next day it’s like a switch has been flicked. From the moment you’re woken up by a loud voice yelling “MUMMMYYYYY”, until the minute they go to bed “wait, wait, wait Mummy, Mummy – I think Buzz needs to come to bed too” that’s all you hear. The word you so wanted them to say is grating on you more then nails down a blackboard.
I love The Beasts voice. Honestly. Especially his imagination voice, it’s really deep, and he puts his chin on his chest and furrows his brow really seriously. But oh my god, when I’m lying in bed, and he’s prising my eyelids open with one hand, and the other is walking Spiderman up my cheek “HELLO MUMMAY, I’M SPIDERMAN, I NEED SOME BREAKFAST” I just want to tell him to SHUSH FOR FIVE MINUTES.
Whether you’re asleep “Wake up Mummy, LET’S PLAY”, eating breakfast “why have you got an egg? I don’t like eggs”, on the phone “excuse me Mummy, MUMMY MUMMY EXCUSE ME EXCCUUUSSSSEEEE ME I WANT TO TALK”, having a wee “Are you doing a pooh too mummy?”, driving “Mummy WHAT ARE YOU DOING, the traffic lights are green so GO GO GO” it is always on.
The other week I was driving home, in my broken car (automatic, got stuck in first gear going onto the dual carriage way), so I pull in and explain to him that Mummy had to concentrate on the poorly car so if he was really really quiet he could have some chocolate. He nodded, agreed. I start the car again, and pull out onto the road listening to the clunk of the gearbox as it sticks in third this time. We make it less then 60 seconds before a little voice whispers “is the car still poorly Mummy?” “Yes darling, it will be all the way home” “so we have to be really really quiet don’t we mummy” “yes darling” “really quiet. I’m being quiet mummy”. I take a deep breath, Larry sneezes, “SHUT UP LARRY MUMMY SAYS WE NEED TO BE QUIET”.
Even the winning power of TV is failing. He still wants to watch it, but he wants me to watch it with him. I used to love this, snuggling up on the sofa to a film or a programme while Larry had his nap. It was really restful. “Was” being the key word in that statement.. Now it’s a running commentary. “Look Mummy, Look Spiderman is shooting a web KECHOOWWW”, “Look Mummy, no, mummy, lift your head up, stop looking at your phone, Spiderman is swinging, Mummy, Mummy, MUMMY ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION”.
It’s lovely he’s chatty. It’s lovely that as soon as you open the door to somebody he’s confident enough to greet them, usually with “LOOK…I have new Spiderman slippers” rather than the traditional “Hello Mr Naked Wines delivery man”. But by heck. I look forward to when he’s in bed, and I can sit on the sofa, with a drink, close my eyes and soak in the silence.
But after I’ve written all of this. My current favourite sound is when Fatso comes up and demands a “tuddle”, says “ahh tahhh” or squeals “DAH-DAH-DAH DAH DADDDDIIIEEE” in excitement when Daddy comes home from work. That little gravelly cute voice just melts my heart, it’s better then any Britney song, just don’t tell anybody I said so.