Silence is golden.
Silence means that something terrible is happening right now or is about to happen. Silence means the toddler has mastered the art of opening yet another child safety lock and is currently exploring the medicine or chemical cupboard. Or eating the leftover dinner from the bin (which he wouldn’t touch when it was fresh and warm last night). Silence normally occurs when you are most defenseless. How many times I’ve left the toddler playing happily and noisily to sneak off to the toilet and have the house descend into terrifying silence I couldn’t count. He has a sixth sense for knowing when I am at my most vulnerable and plays it from there.
Some parents pull faces at inconsiderate friends and family who buy their kids noisy toys – but when Uncle Ben shows up with a drum kit and a smug smile for Christmas I celebrate. As long as I can hear cymbals, bells, horns, annoying lullabies and talking dogs I am safe in the knowledge that he’s not scaled the kitchen counter wearing wine glasses as shoes and drinking the washing up liquid. It’s his one tell that lets me know he’s up to no good. It even happens when he has baby mates round and they discover how to turn the taps on or that I’ve left the dog’s water bowl out – and the eerie quiet stops all adult conversation and the hunt for chaos ensues. We are bigger and smarter than you small ones – for now at least.
The one exception to the rule though is when both are asleep – in bed – behind cot bars and tucked up out of harm’s reach. This is where silence is golden – the jackpot lottery of wins – the best feeling in the world.
And this is when the dog normally starts barking…..