Sunday, August 26, 2007

Quiet is Dangerous

4:30 on a weekday afternoon. The kids are home. They've had a snack and gone off to play. After a long day slaving away at my computer I steal these precious moments to do what - to sit again at the same computer, at the same table. This time it's on my time though. The kids are happy, they're busy actually playing with one of the 4,367,972 toys in their rooms, no one is screaming or demanding anything. Even the video is off. Great. I can sneak a few minutes of blog-reading in while all is quiet. I open my feed reader and begin to delve in - a funny post on a momblog, a beautiful photograph on another, a new recipe for chicken and mango rolls that I simply have to try (I did by the way, and they were fantastic, but I did substitute baby greens and cilantro for the unavailable that day bok choy and mint), a book review of a novel I plan to recommend for the next book club book... Before I know it, a half an hour has passed. Silently.

Uh oh.

I get that sinking feeling in my stomach as I realize that I've entered that most dangerous of all parenting zones - the quiet zone.

It can't be good. It's definitely not good. It's never good.

Quiet means that one or both of them are deep into something they have no business being into.

With great trepidation I slowly walk down the hall, to find my daughter has decided to dump out every single boxed game that my son has in his room and scatter the hundreds thousands millions of pieces around her, right under the completely oblivious eyes of her brother. It will take at least 45 minutes to sort them all out and get everything put back in the right box, more if I make her help.

And I breathe a big sigh of relief that I dodged a bullet on that one, knowing that it could have been worse. Far worse. She could have been covering herself and all of her surroundings with tiny stickers (have you ever tried to get several hundred stickers off of the carpet? I have. It's not fun.), or pushing several dozen magnets deep under the refrigerator, or dumping fish food all over the bed, or playing 'can I cover myself head to toe" with that blue gunk in the toilet bowl (we've since changed to the kind that goes inside the tank), or clogging up the toilet with an entire roll of toilet paper, or any one of a million other things that I shudder to imagine remember...

Yes, it could have been a whole lot worse.

The Sunday Scribblings writing prompt for this week was "I get that sinking feeling".

22 comments:

Hope said...

Small stickers stuck all over the outside of the car before school. baked all day in the sun, couldn't be scraped off without damage to the paint, had to wear off with daily car washes, spotted for over a week.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Ahhhhh, yes. Quiet is dangerous. It usually means my girls have gotten into the 'makeup kit' my mother gave them for Christmas (gee thanks, mom!), or the (shudder) nail polish. Glad your mess wasn't too bad!

LaLa said...

Well, glad it wasn't too bad and hey, you did get an hour of quiet : ) Let hubby help her..tell him it is a great bonding experience or let the sitter do it while you rock out!! LOL

gautami tripathy said...

Why all the mother's of the world are harrased this way?

JHS. said...

Oh, yeah. Been there, done that! It could have been the scissors to the front of the hair -- just before the family photo.

Jo said...

Too funny.....

Fledgling Poet said...

This was such fun to read...and I'm laughing with you, not at you! :~) Quiet is most definitely dangerous...I remember when I suddenly noticed the quiet and found my 3 year old in the living room drawing all over the carpet with my lipstick...she was so proud of her creations!

Melissa Garrett said...

Or, she could have been painting the backs of DVD's with nail polish. Or squeezing toothpaste all over the bathroom floor. Or painting the carpet with acrylic paints. Or escaping out the backdoor to play on the swingset. Naked.

Robin said...

I bet these stories would make a great group writing project.

Any takers?

Miss said...

That chicken and mango recipe looks really tasty...

And there's a similar quiet zone with dogs.

Great entry.

TnMomTo3 said...

Oh man...hate that "too quiet" feeling...

Stickers in the carpet are the worst! We try to get them out of our carpet daily.

Mel said...

Oh dear LOL!

raymond pert said...

This reminds me of visiting a friend in Michigan who had a very young daughter. The friend's parents and her in-laws were very generous providing toys for the girl. She had a basement full of games, stuffed animals, dolls, clothes for the doll, crayons, markers, paints, play dough, and more.

My wife at the time and our friend and I were in the living room chatting and suddenly our friend sprung to her feet.

"What's the matter?"

"It's too quiet!"

She dashed to the front porch.

Her daughter was engrossed.

She had a water color brush.

She had a cup of water.

She was painting rocks with water.

All those toys and she had created an activity of the imagination.

We laughed and laughed.

I'll never forget it.

Kamsin said...

Ironic how being quiet which they probably think means you won't notice what they're up to, is actually what alerts you to there mischief!

joezul said...

Well, my sons are 6 and 3 years old each, so my house is never quiet... so that quit zone is really really very dangerous.
The last time I let a quiet zone slips by, I lost the whole content of a brand new can of shaving cream, all in less than 5 minute.
So beware of the quietness :D

Stacy said...

I too have learned to be leery of the quiet when children are involved.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. And I teach school less than 5 miles from Stuff Yer Face ----- it's a hugely popular place for my prep school students to have lunch and fantasize about when they will be in college.

Small, small world.

Bongga Mom said...

Love this post! Surely every parent must know and fear The Quiet Zone :)

Christine said...

HAHA! Since I haven't heard peace and quiet in so long, when I do hear it, I know it can't be good, unless one or both of my middle kids for some reason both fall asleep and takes naps simultaneously. Very unlikely!
I can almost picture your son's room with all the little game pieces. You're definetly right. It could have been way worse!!

Great story! I must check out the Chicken rolls, they sound delish.

M3 said...

Funny!!! Thanks for your comment on my blog. I think there was something in the air this weekend -- because the quiet zone spread terror in parents' hearts throughout the land. :-)

Robin said...

It certainly is a small world Stacy...

And M3, I sure hope that whatever was going on this weekend the stars have since realigned!

tumblewords said...

Funny! How many times do we realize all that's quiet is not good? Nice post!

Fourier Analyst said...

Love the phrase "Quiet Zone" Must be similar to "Twilight Zone" with all the spookiness you can imagine!! Ah the joys of motherhood!