Monday, May 23, 2011

Volume Control

Why don't children have any volume control?

Or for that matter, why can't they control the tone of their voice?

I suppose it's how they learn but I am in awe of how a child can sound grossed out when they are excited, how they whisper on stage and yell in your ear, how they cry when happy and giggle when sad and oh yes, the emphatic angry tone in which everything important is announced.

Also, the endless repetition. Because I might not understand unless it's shouted at me 9 times.

Disclaimer: I love my children and mostly love children in general.

But oh, the things they say and do!

My youngest child awakens me with his yelling voice. He never realizes he's yelling but it starts my day instantly on edge and hyper aware of the fact that things are louder than they should be. Then he puts on his cute face and cuddles and I forget to teach him to stop shouting and so it continues every day in a vicious cycle.

My oldest frequently tells me sweet things, like how much he loves me, through gritted teeth and like he wants to hurt me, but he means them sincerely. It's just his way of making me understand that what he is saying is important.

My middle child, or younger twin, tells me of his accomplishments in a whiny tone that makes it seem like it's the end of the world, even though it's one of his proudest moments.

Before you start judging my children (what do I care, judge if you want, they are awesome!), I am around a lot of children and the problem is widespread.

My sister started volunteering at the school where I work and my boys attend. The kids are amazed by how much we look alike. Instead of speaking in an amused tone, or in awe and reverant respect, they yell at us. "How come you look the same as Mrs....!" "You know I saw you and you look the same as Aunty...!" and I mean, full on yell, in our faces, every time they see us.

Or they make you want to come to school unshowered just so they will stop hanging all over you. This one little girl, every time I see her, loudly announces that she will be by me because I smell like powder. Then when she gets close she starts sniffing me and rubbing my arms announcing to all who will listen, at the top of her lungs like she's angry, that I smell like powder. Then she accuses me of using powder like it's a crime. I explain that I don't use powder but I do shower and that leads to more sniffing and hurling accusations that I do indeed smell like powder. How dare I smell good, what was I thinking?

They also like to share stories with you every time they see you.

Not my children, getting them to share is as pleasant as pulling teeth, but other peoples children love to share with me.

Always at their top of their lungs.

"Remember I saw you that one time, Remember!"
"You know I have a dog!"
"I have home lunch today!"
"Your son pushed me!"
"Don't you know where I live?"
"I didn't wear socks today!"
"It's because I'm from the pillapines!"

I am in awe of how different things sound when we use the wrong tone or inflection. How weird the things you say seem when your facial expression doesn't match your tone. And it fills me with laughter everyday to watch children learn how to speak and share because in the process they look ridiculous.

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