2009-11-12 / General Stories

Listen and You Will Hear.....

The things you hear in a house full of children are sometimes quite bizarre. Many times the sound bites are things you might hear on a cartoon that has some irreverent character spewing nonsense at their wide-eyed audience. Sometimes the sounds in my house are based simply on the times.

My 12-year old, who is a big fan of technology, was tired when he woke up this morning. I greeted him cheerfully, because nothing catastrophic had happened this morning to put me in a foul mood.yet.

“Good morning, sweetie!” I chirped.

He rubbed his eyes as they adjusted to the hall light and replied with a grunt, “My brain is having trouble booting up.”

Always ready for witty repartee, even before the sun had risen, I answered in his techo-language, “Well then, we might have to reformat your bedtime.”

As I moved to the other side of the room to nudge my seven-year old, I stepped on a random pile of cardboard lying amongst the other little boy paraphernalia strewn across the floor.

This child, who is almost impossible to rouse in the morning, heard the sound of crunched cardboard and immediately sat up to assess the damage.

Looking at me with accusing eyes, he stated, “You just squashed my pet volcano!”

Knowing on the fringe of my mind that this statement was wrong on so many levels, I nonetheless, stammered out an unsure apology, “I’m sorry?” and tried to extricate my foot from the jumble of cardboard.

Nothing will put you in a foul mood faster than stepping on someone’s pet volcano. “If you hadn’t left your pet volcano in the middle of the floor, I wouldn’t have stepped on it! You have to learn to take better care of your pets.”

“Oh, for crying out loud! What am I saying? I must be completely insane.”

My techno-son surprised me again with an interestingly geeky metaphor while doing his homework one evening. Most kids have some excuse handy as to why they can’t do their homework, but I gotta hand it to this boy. His excuses are pretty creative.

When I asked him why he was taking so long to do his homework, he said with a straight face, “This is the time of night when my mind switches from DSL high-speed to dial-up.”

Again, trying to communicate with him in his native language, I said, “Well, if you don’t download an essay onto that paper PDQ, I’m going to disconnect you from your PSP for a week!”

It’s not just conversations in the house that are bizarre. Parents know sounds that laypeople do not. We know what it sounds like when an elbow goes through drywall. We know that when something goes bump in the night it’s probably a child tumbling out of bed. We can hear the tiniest whimper from down the hall at 3 am and can correctly predict a puking event.

Parents can hear the difference between the truth and a lie in a child’s voice. We know what grape jelly sounds like when it hits the floor. The sound of giggling is, of course, the sound of impending disaster.

There is really only one sound that parents aren’t used to hearing and they may not even recognize it if they heard it. That sound is the sound of. silence.

You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.

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