Where's the Effing Mute Button!

I've failed as a parent. Not because my kids are emotionally damaged or unloved or are lashing out or anything. It's the yelling. I somehow have managed to raise a child with no concept of appropiate volume. It's like a birth defect or something. He was born without..(*sniff*) an inside voice! (*raises back of hand to forehead. Swoons onto divan*)

And don't start up on me about him being deaf. He isn't. We had him checked when he was an infant because he didn't respond to his name. Or anything else really. We got a classic doctor joke in response to that particular panic. I swear to Kip, if I was a doctor I would relish all the time's I got to say, "He's not deaf...he's ignoring you!"

Har-de-fucking-har-har.

We're at the drive-in, Friday night. The movie has started and the whole parking lot has grown quiet as the credits begin to roll. The long beams of wavering light lance out through the tire-stirred dust from the projector booth behind us as the last color from a magnificent sunset drains from the heavens. It's beauty and nostalgia and amazement in the reflected glow on the curves of their eyes. I can tell we're making a memory. That's where the illusion shatters like a cheap prostitute's glass eyeball.

Boy: I'M COLD! I'M GOING TO GO GET MY JAMMIES ON!
Me: Shhhhh! Whisper! (all my parts are spoken in that weird parental "loud whisper")
Boy: BUT I'M COLD!
Me: Well, can't you be cold AND quiet?
Boy: CAN I PUT THEM ON IN THE CAR!
Me: Boy! The movie has started! Go in the car and change and please...zip it!
Boy: BUT I'll BE NAAAYYYKIIDDDD IN THE CAAAAAARRR!!!
Me: Put.A.Sock.In.It!
Boy: I DON'T WANT GIRL TO SEE MY FANNY! (giggling now)
Me: If you don't want my hand to see your fanny you'll keep it down! (*laughing a little*)
Girl: Daaadddd! Tell him to shut up!
Me: Just...
Boy:(*muffled from in the car*) WHERE ARE MY SOCKS?!!
Me: Aaargh! Guys! This is a movie! Be quiet!
Boy: GIRL! YOU STOLE MY SOCKS!!
Girl: Why would I steal your socks? They smell like pickles!
Boy: NO THEY DON'T! DAD!! TELL GIRL MY SOCKS DON'T SMELL LIKE PICKLES!
Me: The next kid who speaks doesn't get to go to college. You! Get out here with or without your socks. And yes... they totally smell like pickles! You! Stuff some popcorn in your gob before I embarrass you to hell and back by driving away from here in the middle of the movie in this awful car.

They finally settle down. The Boy curls up in my lap and we recline in the chair, watching the movie flicker against the backdrop of stars. The Girl snuggles in against the cold that has begun to creep in at the edges of the night. I smile in the dark and let out a huge sigh of relief. I am here and happy and with them. Half an hour later...and with no provocation:

"MY SOCKS DO NOT SMELL LIKE PICKLES!!!"



For the record: They totally do.

See pictures from the drive-in at my Flickr site.

16 comments

amy said...

My sisters feet TOTALLY SMELLED LIKE PICKLES. Forever, and ever and ever. My dad would yell at her to go wash her feet, all the time.
hehehehehehe.

I have no inner voice either, and look how fucked up I am.
See? He'll be just fine.

Kurt said...

Hahaha!

He lacks an INSIDE voice. His inner voice is there...he just ignores it.

xo12 said...

EEEW! How can kids' feet smell like pickles? I smelled like Love's Baby Soft until I was 23.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha! I love pickles. I got a little turned on reading this. Was that the point?

KKvP

Kurt said...

@xo12: He's 8. Hygiene has to be enforced still..and well...it's summer so I let 'im stink a bit.

Kurt said...

@KKvP: Totally the point. You win.

Anonymous said...

Bwaaahahahahahahahahahaha! He's a Loud Talker!!!! Oh, that's going to be funny forever!

I love that you threatened her with the car! ~Tsunami

Kurt said...

@OM: Well, it IS something she despises intensely.

Grey Street Girl said...

Yeah, but pickles are the new bacon. It's all good.

Kurt said...

@GSG: They don't always smell of pickles...just these ones did. Now if his feet smelled of bacon...

amy said...

Yeah, inside voice is what I meant. LMAO.

MisUnderHeard said...

I grew up in a household of 7. My poor parents probably gave up on the elusive inside voice before I was 4.

You're lucky that they only smell like pickles.

Kurt said...

@MisUnderheard: The funny thing is we were outside and his voice was too loud. He needs a quieter outside voice as well.

Char said...

the boy is totally your id, you know you like it. he's how you wish you could be all the time. *snicker*

Kurt said...

He is Calvin from "Calvin and Hobbes" all the time. And I do wish that very much.

Cynthia said...

I have a gesture with my 5yo when "Please be quiet" is going on it's 10th repetition with no results. I reach out and pretend to turn his ears like I'm adjusting the volume.

It's harder to ignore and it makes him laugh.