Normally, I am not a very talkative person. After I lost my hearing, my mom was afraid I'd lose my voice, too, so she was encouraging me to talk A LOT. And quite loud, in fact. And I guess being around so many people to actually talk to, I had no choice but to yak my head off every day. Ever since moving to Eugene, however, that has changed. Sure, I talked with the friends I had (emphasis on "had"), but it's not like we chattered away at all hours. Mostly, I was quiet. And I have grown quieter still, despite writing so much and being a virtual chatterbox on the World Wide Web.
But that's as far as it goes.
These days, I don't have friends to hang out with or family to talk to in person every day, so I really don't feel so compelled to talk so much. I guess I'm trying to salvage the kind of silence I could not have during my teen years. But because I have small children to care for, silence is darn near impossible. There are many times I have to talk with my children ... A LOT!
I suppose I should be grateful my kids want to engage in so much conversation with their parents so much (even the baby, who will be 3 in October). After all, they'll be teenagers before we know it, and they would rather talk with their friends instead of their parents. But all of this yakking can get frustrating, especially when I am trying to drive and I have to keep my eyes on the road and NOT on my daughter's face to read her lips. These are the times I'll announce "Driving!" when she tries to tell me something, and she'll know she'll have to wait until we get to a red light or when I can stop briefly to turn around and read her lips. (She is learning she can't take these small windows of time to sit there and go "uuummmmm....").
It's also frustrating when I just want to STOP talking so much. As it is, my throat hurts if I have to talk so much, even if I drink water while I am speaking. So sometimes, you know, I just have to tell the kids, "Give me 5 minutes of peace!" OR..."Eat your food and stop talking so much!"
This evening is a perfect example. At dinnertime, the kids just yakked and yakked. My husband and I are not big talkers when we sit down to eat, so both of us tend to get a bit rattled by the kids constantly getting our attention to tell us something or ask questions. Or, as often happens, to go over words in sign language. (And, yes, he does speak, just as I do.) At one point, I had to tell Jennifer to wait before telling me something YET AGAIN because I had to run to the baby, who was getting into something.
Then, when putting the baby to bed, we spent time together in his room as he pointed out things and I had to say what had to go to sleep now, because ALL of us had to go to sleep now. So I kept having to say "Caterpillar has to go sleepy...fan has to go sleepy....chair has to go sleepy....night light has to go sleepy....backpack has to go sleepy..." And just on and on.
Then, finally, after a while, my throat was hurting from talking so much, so I just calmly sat there nodding and saying "mm-hmm" every time he said something to me from his crib. (Heh. What if his baby talk translated to "Mom, there are aliens outside my window"?? Mm-hmm.)
Then Jennifer showed up, asking me to read them a story. I was tired, wanted to STOP talking, but how could I turn away a child who wants to be read to? So I read them a story. Afterwards, Jennifer went back to bed. Eventually, the baby fell asleep. And I could once again fall silent without any need to talk again.
At least....until tomorrow comes.