Sara Whitman

Silence is Not Always Golden

Filed By Sara Whitman | March 04, 2008 12:50 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: child care, illness, laryngitis, silence is golden, torture

Two days of laryngitis made me recognize a couple things. One, I need to talk. Not want but need to talk.

A lot.

Two, I should never sign up for a silent retreat. Don't laugh, the idea appealed to me. I have so much noise in my life, between three kids, dog and spending time in the city, the idea of silence seemed nurturing.

Not enforced silence. Not being able to talk is borderline torture.

I spent the day on Saturday whispering, which I found later that night made it much worse. It was strange to otherwise feel totally fine except for my throat. The last time I had laryngitis, Zachary was about two months old and Ben almost three. I remember sitting nursing Zachary and Ben running around wildly, knowing I could not say a thing.

Nor move. I learned the POINT and STARE parental move.

That time, though, I was sick with a horrible cold. This time, it was only my throat that felt like it was in a vice grip, making squeezing any sound out almost impossible.

Mostly, though, I was reminded of a family routine we started a while back, something lost with Jeanine and my struggle to stay married. We all- with Walter and Allan- had dinner once a week.

Family dinner.

And at the dinner, we took the time to learn sign language. One sign a week, sometimes two. Allan is the only one who knows a lot of sign, so he was the instructor. It was fun.

Last night, as I was tucking Jake in for bed, he got very excited.

Wait, wait... he whispered- because if I couldn't talk then neither could he- and he started to sign.

"I" pinky extended up on right hand, otherwise closed fist and starts out away from chest and pulled in.

"want" both hands open pulling towards your chest.

"beer" right hand held up to cheek, thumb tucked in, palm facing out.


My voice is back today, although it still feels tight. The morning routine has left it ragged. Where are you socks? Did you brush your teeth? What do you want for lunch? Has anyone fed the dog?

Asking is much easier- and faster- than pantomime accentuated with finger snaps and hand claps.

Silence is not always golden but I did learn a few things.

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But what if your kids thought the silence was golden? *grins*