No, this is not a post about the number one hit from Tears for Fears’ 1985 breakthrough album. Yes, it is a post all about my very vocal, second child. Kid 1+1 shouts. She shouts a lot. She probably only communicates at what could be described as ‘talking-level’ about 30% of the time. No word of a lie, at one point I actually thought that there was a problem with her hearing, as she not only shouts but she says “huh?” alot too. I got her hearing checked. There’s nothing wrong with her hearing.
The thing is, she doesn’t even do it consciously. It’s her baseline volume. For example, we’ll be in the kitchen together, finishing up breakfast, and a conversation will begin like so:
“MUMMY! CAN WE GO TO SOFT PLAY TODAY?”
“No, sweetheart. You have to go to school today. And you don’t need to shout. I’m standing right next to you.”
“AUWWWW! BUT I WANT TO GO TO SOFT PLAY!”
“Can you please stop shouting. We’re not going to soft play. You’re going to school.”
“BUT, MUMMY, I -”
“Can you please stop shouting.”
“I’M NOT SHOUTING!”
“Talk more quietly then.”
“ok. SO CAN WE GO THEN?”
So, I began to wonder – why does she speak so loudly? Then, one day, while shouting at the kids, who were upstairs, to come down for their dinner, I realised one possible reason why. I seem to shout a lot too. It’s mainly when the kids are often in a different part of the house to where I am, and I am way too busy to go and find them any time I need to tell or ask them something. It’s basically a lot quicker to just shout to them. The problem is, though, that they tend to shout back.
Growing up in my house, shouting was normal. I have 3 siblings, including 2, quite naughty, brothers. We all shouted. But it wasn’t always angry shouting. We were, ahem, are, simply a very loud family. It wasn’t until The Photographer pointed it out to me, after we had spent Christmas Day at my parents’ house a few years ago, that I even registered it. He was bemused by it all. I was, initially, insulted, but had to concede that he was right when we returned the following week to celebrate the New Year and I, who was standing in street outside, could hear my mum shouting at my dad, both of whom were inside the house, to pass her the remote or something similar. And she wasn’t even tipsy yet. Point taken.
Over the years, I have learned to temper my shouting depending on where I am and who is around. For example, I tend not to shout at work, or when walking up and down the aisles of a supermarket, or while I’m on public transport, or when I’m at my children’s school or at church. You see, I have learned how to turn it down. Kid 1, to some extent, has too. Although she can still shout with the best of us at home, she tends not to when she’s out of the house. I guess kid 1+1 just hasn’t reached that milestone yet…I hope she does soon.
So, is there anything wrong with being a shouty family? Well, I didn’t really think so until I started mixing more with some of my kids’ friends’ parents. Some of these people actually blow my mind. Like, seriously, I am mindf*cked. They never, and I mean NEVER, raise their voices. Their child can be punching them in the face, while kicking them in the gut, and they will remain cool, calm and collected, like, “listen, Olly – mummy doesn’t like that, so can you please stop it now?” Meanwhile, I’m trying my best to hide the fists that my hands are forming under the table, and biting my tongue so hard that I can taste blood. Or, they will have made dinner for the kiddies and instead of just shouting to them, like I would do, they run to wherever the kids are hanging out (could even be upstairs!) and ask them to come downstairs as their food is ready. I feel a calmness when I’m in their houses and I end up imitating their quiet behaviour, much to the amusement of my girls who have been known to ask me, “mummy, why are you talking like that?”
So, in order not to confuse them, I have, therefore, decided to stay true to myself and continue shouting. It’s all a bit too much like hard work, being quiet, isn’t it? And parenting is already hard enough. And I am tired approx 99% of the time as it is. I think some people are just meant to be loud and some aren’t. And there is nothing wrong with that. Once kid 1+1 has learned to whisper when she wants to pass comment on the fact that someone in the queue at the bank has farted, or that the lady with the beautiful strawberry blonde hair looks like a lion, we’ll be all good.
Until then, I’ll have to keep pretending that I can’t hear her/she’s not my child. Is that wrong?
PS. You’re welcome iTunes.