October 6, 2011

The Talking, It Never Stops

"Oh, she's so quiet. I've never met a four-year-old who is so quiet. How do you do it?"

I grin sheepishly and mumble something about "she's not this quiet at home, she's just quiet when we're out," and they shake their heads in disbelief and then we escape.


This morning, I woke up to one child climbing into bed with me, and the sound of the other one downstairs. Despite the fact that Mamma was in bed with Gracie, and Papa was in the shower, Joy was chattering away already, having a nice little conversation with her imaginary friends and the small plastic animals that are scattered through our entire house. I groaned and pulled the covers back over my head.


Joy still has yet to give us the constant "why" questions, but she never stops talking, just the same. Most of her questions are "what." "What are you doing, Mamma? What is that? What did you say? What's this picture? What time is it? What are we having for supper? Where's Papa? What's he doing? Where's Grace? Is she napping? Am I not napping? I don't take naps, do I? What's that? What did you say, Mamma? What does that mean?"

All. The. Time.

Except when we're in public, of course, when she turns meek and quiet and barely squeaks out two words if pressed.


I am an introvert, as is Carl. Oddly enough, Joy is too, for the most part, except for this perfectly-normal phase every child goes through as their eyes are opening to the world and their understanding takes off by leaps and bounds - the stage of questioning and wondering and wanting to share their excitement over life with the people they love best. And it sounds wonderful, and it is, but Oh. My. Goodness. I just want some peace and quiet once in a while. I can be a chatterbox when I'm around my closest friends, occasionally, but most of the time I crave silence. Unlike my sister, who gets mopey when things are too quiet, I like the calm, the steady, the silence.


Yesterday, I sent Carl and the littles to run some of their own errands while I went to Joann's and Target all by myself. It was heaven, wandering through the aisles by myself, no little person constantly asking what every single item was (and no husband anxiously asking if every item going into the cart was really absolutely necessary.

And yet, ironically enough, after forty minutes of that, I pulled out my cell phone and found myself calling my sister to chat through the rest of my shopping. The alone-ness was too much, and I needed contact with someone.

Joy, she is training me well.

Mamma, I'm sitting on a pumpkin! What color is this pumpkin? Is it orange? Mamma, is the sky blue today? Isn't it a nice day? Do we like pumpkins? Am I going to paint a pumpkin sometime? Are you taking a picture? Mamma, what is that face you're making?


  1. The thing I most resent about chatterbox (being one myself) is the perception that you will prattle on endlessly to anyone who will listen. To me, it's defined more by being the kind of talker that Joy is: open and curious with friends, while more subdued in public.

    I love that your Bug is chattering away. I was looking at pictures on FB just the other day and marveling at how small she used to be...where did the time go?

  2. When I was at the worst of my baby fever earlier this month (which has safely passed, BTW and thank goodness), I couldn't even look at her baby pictures without getting weepy. I'm still not sure how I turned into such a maudlin mother, but I'm so glad I'm back now to enjoying the little girl stage.

    It does bother me a bit that people assume she's either shy, or always quiet, when we're out in public. I want to say "no, she's just careful, she doesn't open up to everybody, but when she knows you and knows her surroundings, she the brightest, chattiest little girl ever." But that's a bit complicated for casual acquaintances or strangers asking in the grocery store or at the hair salon.

  3. I don't know why people have such a hard time understanding how Joy and a lot of other people are about being chatty. I'm the same way, so is Bart. We are reserved in places where we don't know anyone, however when we're comfortable with people, we're known not to shut up. I actually hate getting together with friends over meals sometimes, because I end up eating so little due to talking.

    When people meet me, they automatically assume that I'm the quiet, shy type. Once we get to know each other, they find out that things are quite the opposite. The more unsure I am, the more quiet I am. Then again, I'm also the type to make a joke during a serious moment when in close company in order to lighten a mood.

  4. Oh, I have a terrible habit of cracking jokes at the most inappropriate times. You know that line in the BNL song, "I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral, don't understand what I mean but you soon will"? Yeah, substitute "gal" for "guy" and that's me. I hope that's one trait my kids haven't inherited, but I suspect Grace, at least, already has.