Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shhhhhhhhh!

My son is a talker.  He wakes up talking.  This morning, after I realized he had crawled into our bed, he woke up half and hour early, saying, "I can't wait for tomorrow!!"  He goes to sleep talking, sometimes in mid-sentence.  He even talks in his sleep.  He talks during his soccer games, regaling his teammates (who are actually trying to kick the ball) with funny observations or trying to get them to answer the proverbial question, "Guess what?" just so he can answer, "Chicken butt!"  He talks in the bathtub, throughout dinner, and while he's peeing.  We've suspected he's got the ADD since he was two, but since it isn't interfering with his academic success and doesn't seem to drive his teachers crazy enough to write notes home, we've decided to ride this out until we absolutely have to have him tested.

Given my own ADD and that of my husband's (which is significantly worse than mine, although he can tolerate the medication and I can't), we forget that our son might talk a lot in public, that he might talk too loud, or interrupt a lot, or impulsively shout a non sequitur in the middle of a conversation.  "Bananas!"  Usually, it's hilarious or endearing and our son can laugh with us.  Usually, we only take the kids to loud restaurants where their antics and voices won't detract from the ambience or other patrons' dining experience.  We eat a LOT of pizza.

Sometimes we go to the movies.  Not often, but sometimes.  Usually, we stay home and re-watch all of the Star Wars movies, but two weeks ago Iron Man 3 came out.  The kids wanted to go on Friday and because we rarely have the pleasure of going to the movie theater, we enthusiastically said yes! Mind you, this was Friday night, the early (7:00) show, not a matinee.  We probably should only see matinees, kind of like only going to loud pizza parlors.  I'm aware that my son talks a lot during movies, both at home and in the theater.  Usually we warn the people around us.  We forgot on Friday.  Have you seen Iron Man 3?  No matter.  Like a crowded pizza restaurant, well really like 1,000 exploding California Pizza Kitchens, it's LOUD!  This particular enterprise has explosions in almost every scene.  Lots and lots of blowing things up.  My son was seated on the end of the aisle next to my husband, three seats down from me.  My charge was to shield my daughter's eyes during the violent scenes (although she did witness one awful one that came unexpected), so I wasn't focused on my son's incessant chatting.  I figured my husband had that under control.  Of course, I didn't hear him at all (what with the explosions on screen), so it didn't occur to me that he was talking.

When the movie ended, we excitedly waited in our seats because we know that after every Marvel Comic movie, there's an Easter Egg after the credits.  (An Easter Egg is a surprise scene hidden after the credits.)  Sometimes it's a hint at the next sequel and sometimes it's just silliness.  For instance, the Easter Egg in The Avengers (seriously, I'm not giving anything away if you haven't seen it) is a scene of the heroes silently devouring shawarma at a bombed out restaurant, fully dressed in their superhero costumes.  So there we were, flushed with the thrill of the movie, asking a bunch of questions about Pepper Potts, excited to see the Easter Egg when the bespectacled man in front of my husband, who was there with his middle-school-aged son, turned around and told Rick that a.) he didn't appreciate my son talking through the entire movie and that b.) it was totally inconsiderate and c.) it ruined the movie for him.  I took my cue from my husband who quietly took the criticism and said he was sorry.  Once the man turned back around, Rick said he was breathing through it.  My blood was surging and I wanted to say something, but I didn't want to escalate the situation, especially in front of the kids.  I looked over at my son to see if he understood what had just happened and he looked like I've never seen him before: slightly scared, a little embarrassed, trying not to cry, being brave.

With some distance I've been able to think about this situation a bit and decided that yes, my son should not have been talking through the entire movie, that yes, my husband should have tried harder to get him to quiet down, but I know he did try and I know my son just can't help it.  He has no idea how to not talk.  So this is what I think:  I think the guy should have noticed that a little kid was sitting behind him and considered the consequences of that choice of seat; I think the guy could have asked us to be quiet during the film rather than being passive aggressive after we couldn't do anything about it; I think he and his son could have picked up and moved - there were plenty of empty seats in the theater; I think he could have taken my husband aside and not said what he did in front of my six-year-old son.  I'll take the blame for my son's talky talkiness any day, but when enduring it is not the only answer, I'll defend the living crap out of him.  He didn't mean to ruin this stranger's night.  He's a little kid.

I guess we're back to matinees and warning the people around us in the movie theater that my son talks a lot.  But I'm not ready to tell my son there's something wrong with him.  We'll keep working on being considerate (And he is!  He worries over his friends and helps them when they are hurt or sad, giving hugs and sitting with them.  He's walking empathy!), but I refuse to crush his enthusiasm.  The world will take care of that in due time, I'm afraid.


15 comments:

  1. Or he could've gone to a showing where there would probably not be kids..

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    1. True, Heather, but really we had the youngest kids there, so I felt a bit guilty. I think we're going to see all of our movies now at the dollar theater where the kids can throw things at the screen and no one will bat an eye.

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  2. Oh, Amy, I'm so sorry this happened--and, yeah, the guy should know better than to state his displeasure right in front of your son. Either be tactful or keep your mouth shut, dude. I had someone do that to me (that's right, not to my child, me. I was the one talking) and a older man whipped around and just as he started to speak there was a big explosion on screen and I had no idea what he said. My friend and I just smiled at him because he looked a little like a muppet. He turned around, and the movie continued. That's all part of the movie-going experience. If you can't stand a few disruptions from being surrounded by scores of people, it might be best to watch movies at home. Or learn to pick your movie-seat more discerningly next time. Just a thought.

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    1. Thanks, Anna. The guy seemed determined to ruin our experience. But he didn't, as you can tell by my constant Facebook chatter back and forth with you about Iron Man 3!

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    2. Indeed! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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    3. Indeed! So glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Okay, I just wrote a whole verbose comment that seems to have disappeared. So, since I don't want to rewrite the whole thing, let me just say: I'm so sorry this happened!

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  4. You have NO idea how we can realte.
    Having a "talking kid" it's challenging and, from my own experience. I turned quiet for a while after a family loss, being away from my family, it took me a long time to find myself again.
    It was then when I learned that adults have to be "politically correct" and it was tough. It wasn't until 40 struck that I adopted the "so be it" policy. And just try my best to be true to myself.
    I notice when people don't like my comments, when I express my opinion and when it's not welcomed and when people don't care about the subject matter I'm taking so seriously. It's not the best feeling in the world but learning how to deal with it is possible and I won't change myself to conform. On the good side, only real friends and people who care about you are the ones who stick around.
    If your son has a hard time when he grows up it will be a great excuse to move to another country where it's OK to say what you think and be honest with a stranger.

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    1. I think your "so be it" policy is smart. I try to live by that too (also in my 40s!), but continue to find myself humbled at moments such as the one I described. Thanks for commenting. Take care.

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  5. This is such a tough balance as a parent and it's even harder to step out of it and not let it feel like a personal reflection on who we are. Bah!

    My son had a very strong will growing up. I knew, if guided correctly, it could keep him from succumbing to peer pressure-- if he didn't want to do it, he didn't do it. End of story. And I was right, he was an easy teenager. But I did have to do a lot micro-managing as a parent when he was little to guide and shape that will, teach respect to us and teachers and when to be obedient even when it went against his will-grain-- all without completely squooshing his spirit. Sometimes I'd go to bed feeling like the Wicked Witch for having been so hard on him!

    In retrospect, I probably was too hard on him sometimes. On the other hand, he's an amazing adult-- kind, still sure of his own mind, but considerate and able to acquiesce when appropriate.

    It ain't easy but it sounds like you're doing all the right stuff. Breathe deep, don't hit the rude people and "ohmmmm"

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    1. "Don't hit the rude people?" Really? Okay, if you say so, Julie. Yeah, I struggle with this balance. He's such a little sweetie I don't want to crush him, but he also can be a pain in the butt!

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  6. Ugh! I hate that this happened. This guy was way out of line. All of your suggestions were much better ways of handling it. The guy was just trying to be rude. All of the Marvel movies that I have attended have been filled with talking and texting teenagers, so I highly doubt your son was the biggest offender in the theatre. He should have moved. Maybe it's because I'm a mom, but I've never been bothered by kids in airplanes, or theatres, etc. Some people need to just need to realize that the world doesn't revolve around them. What a jerk!

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  7. Amy,

    I remember being told as a child by a leader at a church group that I was a chatterbox. I was crushed! I think she was trying to teach to me to be well-behaved but I remember feeling deeply judged. Of course, I got over it, but I do try to remember to be careful how I speak to children. A comment like that gentleman made was meant to criticize, not to teach. ADD or not, kids can't help but be kids.

    Stevie

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  8. hmmm, who is this anonymous person. my anonymous people leave comments about deep fryers or porn. you have a lovely coherent anonymous commenter. cool

    i talk a lot and have been publicly and privately chastised for it. tell your lovely little fellow that auntie bev says these things sometimes happen but you must always speak your truth. if you don't it gathers in the body like bad gas and causes more pain than its worth.

    xx

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    1. I know, right? An lovely anon! I'm okay with that. Although I do get a lot of broken English anons wanting me to check out their Golden Retriever blogs. I don't think they're writing about Golden Retrievers.

      Thanks for the sweet message for my boy, Auntie Bev. I'll pass it on.

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