“Use your words, honey.”
I remember saying this often to my eldest son, Thing 1, when he’d throw a fit. This is years ago, when he was still mostly nonverbal. Recently, I had to remind my husband to ‘use his words’ also. His tantrum was of the silent variety.
I guess he was trying to give me a taste of own medicine. I’ll admit, when I’m really miffed, I’d rather keep my mouth shut than voice all the ugliness bouncing off the walls of my skull. The experiment did not, however, have the effect I assume he desired, because I loved every minute of the silence hurled my way. Every…single…second!
In the end, I blame myself for how the fight started, if you can even call it that. I assumed that, since he was off from work, he would pick up the lion’s share of minding the kids. They were on holiday, I had things to do, important things, so tag Dad, it’s your turn to parent.
But I guess, three days of dad-duty were just too much for the father of my children to handle. Go figure! Instead of communicating with me like the big boy that he is, he decided to give me the cold shoulder. I don’t know who he was trying to intimidate with this passive agressive attitude, but I was far from guilted into making up any time soon.
For one, I don’t take much time for self-care. None, really. And on the rare occasion that I do, I’m sympathetic enough to schedule it when I know it will least inconvenience him. How awful, am I right?!
Second, having him shut his yap meant there was one less voice drowning out my thoughts. When he’s in a good mood, he can go on and on, usually on matters in which I have zero interest; he’ll ask a philosophical or scientific question (based on some vague show he’s seen on Discovery or Nat Geo), while I’m working on the computer and already trying to push the din caused by the boys to the back of my mind, or, while I’m fighting with Thing 1 to keep eating and attempting to de-stress by watching some series or other on my tablet. Read my face, dude. Not the time!
How’s this for passive agressive:
*Me watching Netflix*
Husband: “Do you know what a black hole is?”
In my mind: No, nor do I want to, but I guess I’m about to find out…
*Husband begins explaining*
After about 30 seconds, I realize I’m getting the drawn out definition, with additional information on where the newest hole was spotted, so what do I do? Stare him dead in the face and pause my show.
As soon as he stops, I unpause. If he resumes, again, I stare at him…dead in the face…and pause the show again. Repeat until the ordeal is over (because he never quite gets the hint, even when I flat out tell him I’m trying to concentrate).
So, you see, his newbie level of passive agression could in no way compare to the years of experience I had under my black belt of nonverbal assault. At first, when it started, I wasn’t really sure it was happening. Could he be sick? So I checked. Nope, not sick, just ignoring me to the fullest extent possible. So I decided to enjoy the silence…and have a little fun with it. Like hiding things I knew he needed so I could watch him search in frustration rather than cave and ask me. Or, cancel day care for Thing 2, my youngest son, so he’d be stuck with both kids instead of just the one.
I know, I know, I have a mean streak. I’m working on it.
For someone who cherishes peace and quiet, the constant bombardment of noise that children produce can be ex-haus-ting! Add a chatty spouse to the mix, and there isn’t much room left in my brain to process my own thoughts. (As a result, my brain decides to have conversations with me at the worst possible time – like this one – otherwise the poor thing would never get a word in edgewise.) So excuse me for secretly enjoying the silence. #sorryNotSorry. It was pure bliss!
I let it go on for about a week and would have let it go on longer, except that my holiday was coming up, which meant we’d be cooped up at home together with the kids. So I had a chat with him, and calmly explained that he really didn’t have a leg to stand on, as far as reasons for being mad at me go, and his salty mood was doing no one any good, least of all the kids.
So basically: “use your words, hubby.”
I guess I didn’t come off too condescending, because after about an hour, he started getting back to his old chatty self. By nightfall, I was kicking myself, wondering why I’d had to wake this particular sleeping dog. And by morning, I was thinking up ways to stir up trouble. In the end, good Tia won that battle, but mischievous Tia is ever present, and the force is strong with that one.
🎶Goodbye Silence my dear friend.
I promise soon we’ll meet again.🎶 😈
*If you enjoyed this post, check out more nonfiction here.*