24 May 2011


When Erin was here, we were driving home from the mall, and she called one of her daughters in college. They proceeded to have a twenty-minute conversation. They talked about finals, and packing up the dormitory room. They reviewed what she would need to bring for her trip east, and who she should contact regarding her new living quarters. They hypothesized that perhaps the new roomates wouldn't mind a small pet, but, either way, that would have to be decided soon. In between, there was some discussion about overall health. It was a far-ranging exchange.

When Erin hung up, I told her how the conversation would have sounded between me and Two:

"Are you done with finals?"
"How'd you do?"
"Are you packed to go?"
"Okay. Text me when you get on the road."
"You got it, Mommy-O."

And then he would forget to text me.

Case in point: Two took a trip this weekend with the concert choir. They travelled to Williamsburg, Virginia to compete, but had fun stops along the way. The first night they enjoyed a dinner cruise in Norfolk. The following day they performed in a competition, and visited  Busch Gardens. On the last day they meandered through Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Two did not text us to say he had arrived safely. He reached out at 5:50 P.M. Saturday to say, "I love you guys. Y'know, in case the world ends." The next, and final, text arrived Sunday night. "One of you needs to be at the school at 7:30." That was it for the whole weekend.

When I pulled up to get him, he was wearing 1980's sunglasses, holding a giant, stuffed banana, and carrying a paper sign. I asked him about the weekend, and got bare details, except for descriptions of the crazy rollercoasters that he absolutely would never ride, and the restaurant where they ate in Baltimore. It's called "Dick's," and apparently, the wait-staff abuses you while you eat. The paper sign was actually a hat, with an obnoxious comment about Two scrawled across it. I can't believe I didn't come up with this idea.

When we got home, the Captain asked about the competition. Two knew the concert choir took first place, but couldn't remember in which category! He did, however, regale his father with more stories about Dick's, and other rude hats. So, that's all we learned about the trip.

I don't recall Two being particularly quiet as a child, so I think this reticence is an acquired teenage trait. It doesn't really bother me, because our house has plenty of chatty Chucks. I think boys, in general, are less likely to spill  their feelings; so if I want to know something, I must put on my pith helmet and dig. And, if that fails, I just talk at them about the important issues. (Please see "Condom Shopping.")

I do wonder if my propensity to bark orders has contributed to this dearth of dialogue. Maybe if I was more inquisitive, more probing, they might open up more. Oh wait, I forgot that they don't listen to me after the fourth word. Thus, the boys and I will never have the same conversational relationship my sister has with her daughters. But, as they all grow and reach teen-hood, I think I will have something better. Silence.


  1. Anonymous24.5.11

    I agree, and although there are exceptions to every rule, boys just do NOT talk as much as girls. Ever. Unless... they are purposefully working at annoying Mom. I also know that this is fact. Maybe even a Universal Law.

  2. Anonymous24.5.11

    This is definitely a universal thing. My brother is 16 and it's a struggle to get two words out of him, when I talk to my mum and we usually spend about 30 mins on the phone.
    It's great that you are able to appreciate the silence.

  3. Right now, my twins are the opposite. The Boy is constantly jabbering and The Girl is pretty much to the point. They're more or less a year away from puberty. It will be interesting to see how that changes.

    Enjoy the silence when it comes.

  4. Nah, babe, it's not you. Most guys aren't that communicative.

    For example, I text and talk to my mom a zillion times a day. Always have. DH talks to his mom if she calls and ends up answering a series of interrogatives that get increasingly inappropriate, and when I ask about his day he says "Not bad" or "pretty good". When asked for more details he will list in order the businesses he had to visit on his sales route.

    I think it's a less verbal tendency or else I just drown him out with all my talking.

  5. london betty24.5.11

    Out of my four I've had two chatterboxes and two strong silent types - with a boy/girl combo in each camp.
    My oldest son has now left home but what he lacks in small talk he more than makes up for in what he writes - the first card he sent was a revelation, relaxed, funny, chatty, everything I'd suspected was in there but never could get to!

  6. I know there are exceptions, but my kids match your experience. When Nell was little, riding in the car with her meant *constant* songs, verbal games (her favorite was the baby animal game-- what's a baby goat? a kid! what's a baby sheep? a lamb!), and chatter chatter chatter. If MadMax and I are in the car alone, we can drive for 30 minutes without either one of us saying a word. He's been like that since he was old enough to talk. Every once in awhile, he'll get the chatter bug and talk for 10 minutes, but it's not very often.


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