You know that talkative person that you don’t want to sit next to on the plane, get stuck in an elevator with, or answer their phone calls? The person that talks so much you can’t even fit a word in edgewise to escape the one-sided conversation? The person that three minutes with is too much verbal onslaught? Yeah, I live with that person 24/7. He’s my 3-year-old that can’t shut the f@*k up. You guys, my kid is basically Donkey from Shrek.
When my children were crying newborns, I used to think to myself, “I wish you could talk so I could help. If only I knew what you needed, it would be so much easier.” Boy was I wrong. Because now that my kid is talking, I know what he needs alright. Every. Single. Second. And it is so much worse. The first coos and babbles from his mouth were adorable and enchanting. Now his voice is about as appealing as Gilbert Gottfried’s and it ranks up there with nails on a chalkboard on the list of the world’s most offensive sounds. Especially when I hear it at 4:30am telling me a long and detailed account of how he just pooped on the potty and needs me to wipe his ass.
If you also have a Chatty Cathy in your family, then you too know the following to be true:
You’ve perfected the art of responding without listening. Instead of saying “Shut the f#@k up,” you simply nod and say “Great, honey!” without missing a beat. Because of this, you are able to masterfully engage in conversation about Caillou and other stupid shit while doing five other tasks simultaneously.
You have taken part in conversations in the most bizarre situations – on the toilet, in the shower, half asleep, while someone is sitting on your face or putting their head under your shirt.
Your child does not even shut up when he’s brushing his teeth or eating food. Which means you are inevitably spit on.
You understand lisps and totally massacred pronunciations. You’re practically a speech therapist, a bonafide linguist. Your vocabulary has expanded to include Rescue Bots, PJ Masks, and Paw Patroller.
Sometimes you have to listen to literal gibberish. Yep, your kid just makes up sounds for the sake of making noise. You’re forced to listen to this nonsensical rambling that you never imagined you’d hear in your wildest dreams unless you were stuck in a room with someone on bath salts.
You’re bombarded with questions you never thought you’d be asked in a million years. You now know that Dante was right. Repetition is hell. You’ll discover this after your child asks you the same question for the 500th time in a row and you’ve become convinced you’re in the 10th circle of hell. Whoever said “There’s no such thing as stupid questions” is delusional or never engaged in conversation with a three-year-old. Because after talking to a toddler for 30 seconds, you know there are an infinite number of stupid questions that can be asked an infinite number of times. “Why can’t I wear one sock?” “Why is this green?” “Why can’t the sun come up now?”
You are not ashamed to use the television or unhealthy food to get your child to shut up for 10 minutes. Enough said. (Thank you, fruit snacks and iPads.)
Your tolerance for noise has reached an all time high since your child not only talks 24/7, but also shouts every syllable. Screams sound like whispers. At this point in time, attending a death metal concert and sitting in the front row would feel like going to a peaceful spa as long as your kids weren’t there.
When you’re with your child, conversations with other people are not possible. Because you cannot hear anyone else while your kid is tugging at your leg and shouting at you about the bug he found in the yard three months ago. This is why text messaging was invented. Don’t expect to have a phone conversation without hearing someone screaming “poopie” in the background.
The ironic thing is that your talkative child can suddenly become a mute at the most annoying times. I ask my child “Where did you put your shoes???” And I’m met with a blank stare and silence. Eventually I’m left shouting, “USE YOUR WORDS!!!” at a closemouthed child that normally has his mouth open constantly. The rare moment that there is silence, I have to yell. Lovely.
Even more ironic, after the kids are tucked in bed and the house is finally silent, you feel like it is “too quiet.” When the kids are out and you’re home alone, the lack of noise is unsettling, almost alien. But this feeling doesn’t last long; soon enough you’ll hear their loud voices demanding snacks and drinks and life returns to the usual cacophony of whining and chatter. Who needs peace and quiet anyway?