Sounds of Silence

Be careful what you wish for because sometimes the sounds of silence are deafening.

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I have mentioned it a couple of times in the past how my oldest child corners me in the car and peppers me with questions. Some of them very difficult. Sometimes I dreaded the ride.

Since she started kindergarten this year, that car ride has been reduced from approximately 10 minutes to less than one. I now drop her off with a woman very near us who watches kids in the morning before they head off to school.

At first, I thought this would give me some time with my youngest. A few minutes in the morning for us to bond. She’s more reserved than her sister, and sometimes this can mean her sister overshadows her. However, my youngest daughter is NOT a morning person.

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Yeah, about like this.

 

So, while the occasional squirrel gathering nuts, dog being walked, or goose parade gets a comment, most mornings it’s just quiet. I’ll ask her questions, try to sing to her, and all I get is either a grumpy grunt or, “Walk away, momma!” That is her general response for leave me the heck alone, and is said in an angry, crabby toddler voice.

So, I let her have her quiet time.

Maybe once I get used to this, I can use the time to think through plots, characters, and story arcs. Or maybe I’ll use it as time to plan my day. Or maybe I’ll follow her lead and just use it as time to wake up.

Life so seldom works out the way you think it will. Who knew I’d miss questions about how big the earth is, why is the south pole colder than the north pole, and why boys don’t say excuse me when they fart?

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But I do.

Kids are amazing, wonderful, horrible creatures that consume your writing time and make you worry. They are expensive and infuriating. And they’ll make your heart melt when they give you a card out of the blue telling you how much they love you.

It’s a wild ride, tumultuous and full of the unexpected. Like missing fifty questions in the morning.

 

How about you? Ever gotten an unexpected break from something and found you missed it more than you thought you would? Or maybe you think I’m crazy, and you were totally relieved to get a few minutes of peace?

Dreaded Morning Ride

There’s this time each morning a I dread. Not as much as actually waking the kids up, getting them dressed, and getting breakfast in their stomachs, but a far stranger time. A time I never know what to expect.

The time from the moment I start the car engine until I pull in daycare’s parking lot. During this time, I’m a captive audience. I have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. This is when my preschooler peppers me with the strangest “facts” and then demands to know if they’re true.

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Of course they’re not, and then comes the explanation.

Which must be worded carefully because you know she’s going to share with her whole preschool.

For example, earlier this week, my daughter waits to spring the question on me until I’m pulling out of the driveway. At which point, she says, “Momma, if you get frostbite on your big toe or your little one, you have to chop them off, right?”

I blink a couple of times, shake my head, and focus on getting out of the driveway while I think how to phrase my answer.

I assume that her daycare teachers were explaining to the children why they had to wear their outside clothes to go out. I can only imagine the “joy” of two teachers getting fourteen kids into their hats, mittens, snow pants and coats before going outside every day, twice a day.

So, I proceed to explain to her that, no, just getting frostbite doesn’t mean they have to amputate your toes. We talk about how bad frostbite is and how much worse it can be. We then talk about how important our warm winter gear is and how it protects us from getting too cold and getting frostbite.

“And hypothermia,” says my preschooler.

“And hypothermia,” I agree.

“If you get hypothermia, you’ll die.”

“Which is why you have to wear your winter gear,” I say. Because of course I have to get this point across to the child that quotes Elsa at me whenever she doesn’t want to wear her mittens.

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I then tell her that you don’t necessarily die if you get hypothermia and are treated for it in time, but then I pause. Did my preschooler just say the word “hypothermia”? And use it correctly in a sentence, in the proper context?

I want to ask, but almost don’t because sometimes it’s better not to know. Still, curiosity won out. “Where did you learn about hypothermia and frostbite?”

“I don’t remember.”

So, she can remember the word hypothermia and what it means, but not where she learned it. Going out on a limb, I ask, “Why did you think we’d have to cut off your toes if they got frostbitten?”

“Well, *insert her friend’s name here* said so, and we were talking about it on the playground…”

Ahhh, playground misinformation has already started.

When the conversation finally ended and I took her into daycare, I reminded her to wear her winter stuff so she wouldn’t get frostbite.

“Or hypothermia,” she said as she skipped off to her classroom.

I shook my head, got back in my car, and enjoyed the silence all the way to work.

 

How about you? Your child ever ask you strange questions? How did you answer them?  If not a child, maybe a co-worker or friend comes up with some zany things?