Diary of a Tired Mom – The Please No More Words Edition

It’s been a weird month for me.

My subconscious wants to write very badly – I have dreamed about writing blog posts multiple times in the past month.

And those dreams have not been limited to when I was asleep.

When I got my first dose ever of “the gas” at the dentist, I was so trippy that my entire being was spinning out in staticky, multicolored, 8D spirals, and as the galaxies orbited what was left of me, I began realizing deep truths such as “I don’t even exist anymore. But I faintly hear the dentist still drilling on my teeth. I wonder if she realizes I don’t exist anymore. Someone should tell her she’s wasting her time except it can’t be me because I don’t exist anymore. But wow this would make a great blog post. Wait until I describe these new colors and sensations to the world. It will CHANGE IT.”

(Right after that, I came back to existence enough to rip off the gas and vomit three times.)

(I’m pretty sure my dentist will not allow me to have such services again.)

So yeah, a weird month. But despite my desire to write, I have had a rough month health-wise, so I haven’t been able to write. I’m getting better, so I’ll try to document some of my jotted-down notes from the month.

(Except not the rest of my thoughts from the dentist’s chair. Because those would change the universe too drastically and I’m not ready to pull the rug out from under y’all like that.)


Tiers of Childhood Monologue.

In case you haven’t noticed, kids talk a lot.

They ask a lot of questions, tells the same things over and over, and LOVE to, once they can read, tell you everything they are reading.

The prime ages for this phenomenon, I believe, is between 6 and 10. Which helps me understand a little more why toddlers are middle schoolers are my jam.

(But, Noah is the snuggliest nine-year-old boy that ever lived, which entirely makes up for his endless words. Most of the time.)

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(Also he’s prepared for anything. Which comes in handy more often than you’d think. Though I did tell him I was afraid this particular preparation belt would keep me from having grandkids if he fell at the wrong angle.)

Car rides are especially difficult for words with me, because the multi-tasking of operating a large machine AND listening to my kid (because I learned long ago that I am entirely incapable of tuning out any words ever) is tricky. So I have tried to hone the quality of words that come out in the car.

And so, there needs to be a helpful chart – a continuum if you will – of the things read or narrated to a parent while said parent is driving.

Level Negative Ten: iPad narration. I DO NOT CARE what your Monsters are singing about. THAT IS GREAT that you just killed all your Minecraft villagers and goats, but is it really? Did those angular goats really deserve that slaughter? But whatever you want to do to the goats, do it – just don’t tell me about it while I’m driving. (We even have a family code word (more on that later) for QUIT NARRATING YOUR IPAD GAME TO ME.)

Level Negative Eight: Unnecessary and/or repetitive questions about the future. This seems like a placeholder in conversation that my children love to use to fill space. Thankfully Ali learned my terror of answering questions about the future a couple years ago and ceased doing it most of the time, but it’s still a favorite hobby of Noah’s.

Level Negative Six: Jokes from a joke book. Or worse, jokes they know and have already told you ten times. Jokes are excruciating 99 out of 100 times. But then there’s always that one joke that catches you off guard and actually makes you laugh, which makes it not so bad.

Level Negative Two: Trivia books and Guinness Book of World Record books. These facts, read aloud, can be sometimes interesting. But then they seem to read the same pages over and over and they begin to feel like jokes.

Level Positive Two: Hearing about the books they’re reading, or their school books. I like knowing that they’re interested and involved in what they’re reading. Although Noah sometimes gets too involved in his history book, throwing his book on the floor and screaming at our forefathers for their prejudices, poor decision making, and foolish life-ending dueling. But that can be entertaining as well, giving this oration an overall positive rating.

Level Positive Four: Family Feud Cards. This is the one random Car Conversation Savior that I’ve found I enjoy. Someone got these for Christmas, and Noah loves quizzing Chris and I on Family Feud categories. They’re actually entertaining with the same magic that Family Feud is entertaining as a show – magic I don’t necessarily understand but appreciate nonetheless. But what makes them most fun is the children’s uncertainty about whether they’re inappropriate or not when they don’t understand them.

I present this example:

Noah: “Name things that start with the word ‘skinny'”

I snorted. My first thought was “Skinny B**ch”

I wondered if it was on the card, but I certainly wasn’t going to ask.

Chris and I got a few right, then trailed off.

Noah: “Do you give up?”

Us: “Sure.”

Noah:”There’s only one left but I think it’s inappropriate.”

Me: “Oh here it comes.”

Noah: “It’s ‘Skinny Late’ with Two T’s.”

Chris and I thought for a second, then exploded with laughter.

And immediately dared each other to go into Starbucks and order a Skinny Late with Two T’s.


I’m learning how to live with an apparent extrovert.

I held out hope for a long time that Noah was just an outgoing introvert, but the evidence continues to suggest a strong strain of extroversion. The amount of sounds that need to come out of his mouth at all times is staggering. It’s mostly questions but also comments, sounds, random thoughts, and just a stream of consciousness.

As such, over the past few years, we’ve created a collection of Callahan Family Code Words. I only have to say one word, and he knows exactly what I mean, rather than me having to use up all my words telling him to use less words.

Here is the legend to the Callahan Family Code Words. We haven’t copyrighted them, and so we offer them free to help you, too, have a less verbally overwhelming life.

Rubiks – “You’re making random, repetitive, completely unnecessary noises and I let it go for a while but I now need you to cease.”

Honda – “That question is either a.) a question about the future, b.) a completely unnecessary question, or c.) you’re just out of questions for the day because you’ve asked more than my brain can possibly handle. So I’m not answering it.”

Blubbermuffin – “NO ONE wants to hear your narration of your iPad game. If you don’t want your iPad to disappear forever, you’re gonna have to keep your mouth shut while playing.”

Banana – “Quit using your mouth and start using your eyes. We’re on a hike forgoodnesssake can we enjoy the sounds of nature PLEASE.”

The nicest part of these words is that I have to be less rude as a mother. There’s much less emotional content to just say “Honda” rather than “FOR THE LOVE DO NOT ASK ME ANOTHER BLOOMIN’ QUESTION, CHILD.” He knows what I mean and he accepts it without emotion. AND, the magic of the code word keeps him from arguing with me – it just ends the conversation.

But despite my code words’ helpfulness, I do assume this blog post has fully informed you of where my headspace has been going and why I haven’t had any words left for writing.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. Sheri Klein says:

    You might miss those jabbering days when Noah is a teenager and you’re lucky to get two words a day.
    We never had a code word but we did have a code sign. The biggest issue we had was the boys talking too loud. Rather than interrupt the story, we’d do a little closing motion with fingers and thumb coming together. Volume would go down without interruption and ears would cease bleeding. Win-win!

  2. When my girls were little if we were in the car and they were either arguing with each other and wanting me to intervene I would just turn the radio up louder and start signing along. That at least stopped them from bothering me lol
    I like your code word idea though, I’ll keep it in mind for when the grand kids come along !

  3. Audio books are currently saving my life or at least my ears for driving right now. The 7 y.o. listens instead of constant questioning, but you must choose a good audio book or you will regret everything.

  4. Jen at Between the Bees Farm says:

    I REALLY need to hear where those codes words originated, Blubbermuffin is the only one that sounds like it applies. My daughter used to be like Noah, she narrated her entire life. She woke up talking, talked all day long, and would talk to her “friends” (stuffed animals) until she fell asleep. I am incapable of tuning words out as well, and am an extreme introvert, so we had a code phrase, “my backpack is getting full”. It was an analogy I used to explain the how my battery was drained by talking, that each of her words was like a pebble in a backpack that I was wearing and when my backpack was heavy I was too tired to do other things.

    At this point (she’s 18) we don’t have this problem and I don’t miss it in the least!

  5. Jayne Cuidon says:

    YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD MAMA…even on the tired days!

  6. I feel this on a spiritual level. When I’m with my 14 year old sister I have to dump my ears out to release the words. It’s downright painful. Quite different from my man-of-few words husband.

  7. My 12 year old has to touch us CONSTANTLY. If I see her sister passing by I often transfer the clingy 12 year old over to her and I usually don’t feel guilty. But this hyper clingy 12 year old also has to sing CONSTANTLY. I mean homework time signals her to belt out an entire album and her sister at this point tunes it out until she can’t. The Greatest Showman seems to be her limit. At Noah’s age, she talked just as much but that has settled down slightly as the teenage years have hit. Car rides are awful unless she has a great book. Her sister can literally go a 6 hour car ride without saying a word. There have been trips in which we have to make sure she is still breathing!! The 12 year old still asks questions. She is very bright and as an almost teen she asks questions that she often knows the answers to just so she can feel superior to her parents…. But the kindest heart imaginable so I do forgive those moments, but tiring and exhausting she is indeed.

  8. Love the code words! With 5 kids it’s pretty much ALWAYS noisier than I can handle at any given movement. :P

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