I believe the average person typically uses a little over 15,000 words a day. I believe the average kid tackles that nonsense before I’ve had enough time to finish my first cup of coffee, which, ironically is why I need the second cup most mornings. 15,000 words a day, huh? Hold my sippy cup. because my kid is a talker.
From the moment they’re born, we beg them to talk. We beg them to learn our name. We beg them to repeat us.
And then they do. And we clap and we cheer and we throw our hands in the air in victory. And then, from that moment on, they just keep talking. And we beg them for just two minutes of silence. And they never ever give it to us.
They’ll talk about things that will melt your heart. They’ll talk about things that don’t make any sense. They’ll talk about things that will make you mad. They’ll talk about things that will drive you crazy. Like…lock me up and throw away the keys, crazy.
They’ll say the word “poop” so many times you’ll think your head is going to explode into a billion pieces. Seriously, you’ll have conversations about poop frequently. Not every once in a blue moon, oh noooo no no, more like every few hours. They’ll talk about being regular regularly.
You can let them have screen time, and sure, it is going to give you some quiet, but guess what’s coming afterwards — a flood of words and stories and descriptions. And not just any descriptions, descriptions of some stupid squishy toy a family on YouTube opened up and pulled out of an Easter egg. YouTube is like reality tv for kids. YouTube is to 5-year-olds what “The Bachelor in Paradise” is to 27-year-old girls.
You may think that ignoring them is the right direction to go. It beats yelling, right? It beats losing your mind, right? WRONG. It’s wrong and let me tell you why. Because kids keep repeating themselves until you pacify their questions. I kid you not, my precious son asked me the same question 27 times in a row last week. I know, because I was so amazed at his sheer dedication I started counting.
I wasn’t being mean, I just didn’t want to agree to anything without knowing exactly what I was agreeing to, because somehow I’d over-looked the first part of his question, and all I could hear was “right, momma?” over and over and over again. I couldn’t respond because, what if I said “right,” and I was confirming that I would take him on a trip to Disney World next weekend? Or even worse than Disney World, Chuck E. Cheese? [Shudders.]
What if I said “no,” and he was asking whether or not I thought he was the greatest kid in the whole world? And I do, absolutely think he’s the greatest kid in the whole world.
He’s great, but the kid has some serious lungs on him.
Before you let the never-ending train of words take you to crazytown, or even worse, to a place where you act like the Beast, and just go around stomping and snapping and roaring at everyone, here are six simple pieces of advice:
- Wash your hands. Wash them long and good. Just stand there at the kitchen sink in peace and quiet. Listen to the water, so you don’t have to listen to any more jibberish. It only takes a minute, but I promise, it will calm your nerves. And you know, bonus points because it’s flu season and you live in a house with people who pick their own nose.
- Turn up the music. Just straight-up drown them out. “Alexa, turn on Justin Timberlake.” It’s as simple as that. Obviously, kids aren’t quitters, so they’ll try to talk over “Filthy,” but you just focus on JT, momma.
- Put yourself in timeout. Go and sit in the corner and tell the kids that you’re in timeout for three minutes and nobody is allowed to talk to you. Nobody is allowed to ask you anything. Nobody is even allowed to be in a two-feet radius of you. You’re in timeout, and you need to be left alone.
- Tell them to close their eyes and try to picture the silliest monster they can imagine. The only rule is, no talking. After a minute or so, ask them to describe their monster.
- Get your kids a damp sponge, and let them scrub the baseboards. That’s right. Sometimes kids just need an outlet, and what better way than giving them a job? They’ll enjoy it. They’ll be contributing. They’ll feel responsible. And you’ll, well you’ll just be sitting there enjoying nothing except the swishing sound of the sponge going back and forth.
- Stop being your kids entertainment coordinator. You don’t have to play with your children 18 hours a day. You have to love them and feed them and clothe them. You have to teach them wrong from right. But you do not have to constantly tell them what to play, or how to play it. Kids who can play alone are more self-reliant, more confident, and more creative. Stop feeling like event planning is part of your job description. It’s not.
I’m not complaining. Honestly, I’m more impressed. Having that much to say is quite a feat. I’m thrilled my children can accomplish such an insurmountable task like talking non-stop. I just wish somebody kind would’ve warned me, and maybe bought me a nice pair of ear plugs for my baby shower.
Kids’ love may take up every nook and cranny in our hearts, but their words take up the whole space in our heads, from one ear to the other.
I can’t lie, it drives me absolutely bonkers at times, but I’ll take it. I’ll take it with a giant smile on my face, because I know it won’t be long before I’m begging them to talk to me at all. It won’t be long before they’re all grown up, and retreating to their bedrooms, and going out every Friday and Saturdaynight. It won’t be long before the roles are flipped and they are the ones tired of hearing me talk.
So for now, I will listen, laugh, and love, and listen some more. Because seriously, they never stop talking.
***I wrote this entire entry from the comforts of my closet with a bag of Vanilla Wafers nearby, because it’s the only way I could escape from their voices for 10 minutes of peace.
I love red lipstick, graphic tees, and Diet Dr. Pepper a little more than I probably should. Most days you can find me lounging in sweatpants, running kids from one place to the other like a crazy person. My family is my home and my passion is helping women find courage, confidence, and the deep-rooted knowledge that their life has a deep and significant purpose. Make sure to come follow me on Facebook.