Posts Tagged ‘school’

Silence

October 12, 2011

This morning I’m practicing silence. No talking, no singing, no radio or television. No social media or text (except to let my unanswered callers and “tweeps” know that I am practicing silence and will contact them this afternoon).

I didn’t plan this. I simply didn’t feel like talking or hearing any noise. I hesitate before waking my younger son for school. Will I be able to avoid speaking to the inquisitive young scientist? As I tap him awake and beckon for him to get up and go in the bathroom, he looks at me questioningly.

“Mom, why aren’t you talking?”

I just shrug and leave the room. He doesn’t ask me any more questions and continues getting ready without my usual prodding and reminders to “wash your hands”, “brush your teeth”, “wash your face”, “lotion your body”, “hurry up and stop playing.” You know, the usual comments I’ve been repeating to him every school day for the last four years.

I go into the study and write a note. I’m not talking today. I’m practicing silence. I take the note back to my son’s bedroom and show it to him as he dresses.

“Why?” he asks.

I shrug again, and he shrugs too. Discussion over.

I go downstairs and pack his lunch, clean the kitchen and glance at the clock. He only has 20 more minutes before the bus is due to pick him up and I still haven’t seen him in the kitchen for breakfast. What should I do? Break my silence and shout up from the bottom of the stairs, “Malikkkkkk! Where are you?! Come on Man!”

Hm, nope. Not today. Instead I clap my hands loudly three times from the base of the stairs.

“Coming Mom,” my younger son responds immediately, and comes jogging down the stairs completely dressed and ready for school.

Normally, I have to shout up the stairs at least two or three times before getting a response, but I clap my hands three times and he comes running? Hm… I may actually be on to something here.

But there’s still one more hurdle to overcome. The teenager. The 6’0” athlete sprawled out on his bed that usually cannot be awakened by the annoying alarm on his cell phone, the force of his younger brother jumping on his back and bed, or me prodding him and yelling his name repeatedly for five minutes.

Let the challenge begin.

After kissing my younger son goodbye, I make my way upstairs with determination. I will not speak, I promise myself.

As I walk into his room, I can see his body twisted in the sheets and comforter. His legs are hanging off the bed on one side and his arm is hanging off the bed on the other. His mouth hangs ajar the way it does when he’s in a deep, deep sleep. I stop to mentally prepare myself. I will not speak.

I forcefully shake his arm and back for a few seconds, and miraculously, he moves, stretches… and turns over on the other side and goes back to sleep. I don’t give up, or shrink away from the challenge. Instead, I slap his bare leg, hard, and he mumbles something, but keeps his eyes closed. I walk out of the room to gather my thoughts, then turn back and bang as hard as I can on the bedroom door. He jumps up, startled, and looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. Satisfied, I smile and wave him toward the bathroom.

“What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you saying anything?” he asks me with the slurred speech of someone waking from a deep sleep.

I shrug and point to my mouth. I mouth… Not Talking.

“Why not?”

I shrug again and leave the room.

Long story short, he actually makes it to the bus stop on time (a rarity, but that’s another story for another time). He doesn’t go without trying to get me to talk to him, though. I refuse with a smile, some gestures and a hug and kiss before he leaves.

As he walks to the front door, he tells me in his new, deep, authoritative, young man voice, “I don’t like this not-talking thing, Mom. You need to talk.” Then he leaves.

What a peaceful morning. No struggles, no fighting, no yelling upstairs, no threats, no last-minute scrambles and sprints across the yard to catch the moving bus as it drives away from the stop. Peace, calm and order.

I might be pushing my luck to try it tomorrow, but I’m okay with feeling satisfied with what I got today.

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