I thought I would try out the Alphabe-Thursday blog hop this week. It is sponsored by Jenny Matlock over at off on my tangent. The idea is to write about something that starts with a given letter. The letter this week is V. I toyed with the idea of writing about "Very" which is one of my daughter's favorite words, but I couldn't remember all the funny ways she uses it. I'm so used to her odd ways of expressing herself that I almost have to write them down to remember them.
Voice modulation came pretty quickly to mind...it is a skill that none of my children have mastered yet, and so we live in a Very noisy household. I keep hoping that one of these days they will get it. We talk about using our inside voices all the time. I try modeling a nice calm tone, but often I have to raise my own volume simply to be heard above the din.
I was probably a bit of a loud child myself. My parents have audio recordings of me singing my little lungs out when I was about five. In the midst of a whole choir of children my voice rings out above the rest, and I doubt I was near any kind of microphone. I still have a good set of pipes. Back in my work days I could stand in the largest lecture hall at University of California, Berkeley - I think it seats 400 or so people - and without a microphone I could make myself heard in the back row. I only did this for brief announcements, but it was easier than switching the lapel mike back and forth with the professor I was working with. It shook a few people up. I do, however, know when I need to be quiet, and, in fact, prefer to be quiet. It is such a lovely sound, quiet is.
So my children have all inherited the good pipes, but haven't quite mastered the quiet part yet. We visit the town library and I cringe as we walk through the adult areas on our way to the children's section. I model whispering and the kids reply, "What, MOM? TALK LOUDER!"
I've been wondering lately if there's anything to do about all of this, or if I just need to keep reminding, modeling, cringing, and waiting.
The reminding gets old. How many ways can you ask a kid (positively) to lower their voice. Inside voice, honey. Let's use voice #2 right now (there's a whole scale running from zero (not talking) to #5 (yelling because the house is on fire)). Softer, please. That's too loud. Oh, you're hurting my ears. If you want to be loud, please go outside! QUIET!!! I've tried them all, repeatedly, daily, times three, and I'm Very tired of them all.
The modeling, as noted above, is sketchy. It's kind of an automatic response to raise your voice if you feel like you're not being heard, and with all three of my kids jabbering away at their maximum volume I often feel like I'm not being heard.
The cringing is nerve-wracking. With my twins I can usually count on people understanding that they are just preschoolers still learning all of the social cues of when to be quiet and when it's okay to be loud. With my oldest I understand that she is also, due to her developmental delays, still learning all of those same social cues, but to a total stranger she must appear plain old rude. Let them hear with grace, Lord.
I guess that leaves the waiting. I am...oh, I am!