Our house is now filled with words. From the moment the girls wake up, there are words. ‘What’s for breakfast?’ ‘What’s for lunch? ‘What’s for tea?’ ‘Can you put this on me?’ ‘What’s for breakfast?’ ‘What’s for lunch?’
Then there’s my words. ‘Gosh, you must be feeling very angry just now. I wonder if you’re not angry about breakfast but about…?’ ‘We’re going to be going to brush our teeth shortly, Big can go first and Little can go second.’ ‘You’re going to have a different teacher today, I suspect you’re going to find that hard. I wonder if I should ask if your other teacher could keep checking in with you?’
Then there’s the ‘I’m going to keep talking at you to ensure that you don’t forget I’m here and also so that you don’t ask me any questions’ talking. ‘I’m going to colour. I like purple. I like this picture. I’m going to get the scissors. I’m going to cut this bit out. I’m going to put this over there etc, etc.’
There is so much talking in our lives that it feels like it never stops. But there are crucial times of the day when the talking does stop. When the talking becomes about ‘hard stuff’. When it becomes about possibly revealing something and showing vulnerability. When it becomes about talking about why something might have happened, about how we’re feeling about something.
This is when I crave words. It’s when I need to hear talking. It’s when I’m desperate to listen. And that’s when I get silence.
This week, gymnastics was ‘different’. It didn’t follow the same routine. This left us with a very difficult evening. I had tried to do everything I could, I had wondered about it being different, I had very quietly praised for doing so well, I had conversations with myself about lots of people finding change hard, I kept close. But still at bedtime I ended up with my fingers slammed inside a board book, a cushion thrown at my face knocking my glasses off, my head pushed into the bunk bed ladder and being on the receiving end of many bites and scratches.
I find myself wishing desperately for a conversation after events like this. I need to feel a connection of some kind. I need to feel that she feels something about what just happened. I try to repair as best I can but when the person I’m repairing with won’t look at me or touch me or speak to me, it feels like I’m not really doing a very good job of it. It feels like I’m not repairing because we don’t get that connection. There is never a discussion or even a look that says anything about it.
I realise that I’m wishing for something that can’t happen just now. But with all the talking that goes on in our house, I just wish some of it resulted in a glimpse of a way forward. A glimpse of that she maybe feels slightly happier here than she did. A glimpse that one day, she might talk back.
The best bits
This week Little has decided that she is a big girl. When she was helping me garden, I was instructed to say ‘well done big girl’. When I pick her up from nursery, we have to scoot all the way home because she is a ‘big girl’. Yesterday when she was asked to go and get something from the bedroom, she looked at me over the top of her glasses and said, ‘I can’t do that mummy, today I am a tiny girl. You get it?’
Last week when we were swimming, Big let me float her on her back. She relaxed for the briefest of seconds and it was lovely.
I’ve said that I would go in and help in school once a week. It was so good to feel I was using my skills again. I heard readers, I helped, I reassured and I got to use my teacher look. I’m glad that I’ve not forgotten everything.