The Suspiciousness of Silence

At 7:55 am yesterday, Jonah was still sleeping. We are on summer vacation and I should be thankful we didn’t wake to him shouting, “It’s morning time! I want juice! GET. ME. JUUUUUUICE!” at 5 or 6 am, as is his norm. But instead of relaxing and feeling grateful for the extra two hours of sleep, I felt uneasy. Why hadn’t he yelled for us yet? Had our toddler escaped downstairs without us hearing? Was he getting sick and was so tired and weak he couldn’t get out of bed?

I determined that, yes, he was simply sleeping, and he even slept another 20 minutes before hauling his groggy, diapered rear out of bed and holding his little arms over his head so I would scoop him up. All was well.

When your house is full of noise every day from 5:30 in the morning until 9:00 each night, unexpected moments of pure quiet disturb a parent’s sense of order. If I’m making dinner and realize I can’t hear any child, my Mommy senses tingle and I think, “What kind of madness and mischief are they up to now?”

In the loud home of four energetic and curious children, silence may be golden when it finally settles into the walls after bedtime, but during the waking hours, I can’t help but be suspicious.

Most often, the lack of shouts and bumps on the floor and fighting and playful chatter means trouble. Can’t hear Jonah beating up on his older siblings? Probably means he’s taking every diaper out of a super-sized, warehouse store pack and strewing them until not an inch of carpet is visible in his room. Notice that Grant’s giggle is conspicuously missing from the chorus of playful laughter the next room over? I bet we’ll find him in the kitchen stealing a cupcake and tip-toeing up the stairs so no one catches him. Isla’s sweet voice is missing from the wrestling match in the living room? Turns out she has crept outside, undetected, to pick up Daddy’s tools she left in the rain overnight, before we find out.

I should have savored the sounds of sleeping children yesterday instead of worrying something was amiss. This morning Jonah woke, predictably, at 6 am.

“Mommy? Mommy? I want to get out. Come get me. Can I watch Spiderman on your iPad?” And the chaos and clatter of the day began.

This post was written to participate in Just Write, a free writing exercise hosted weekly by Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary.



  1. Oh YES!!!!! I crave the silence, at bedtime. But I am so suspicious of it when they’re all home, and generally with good reason (like the time the twins colored their bedroom walls blue and yellow…good times)

  2. This is so so true!
    My son slept in the other day and my heart sank…what was he into?
    It sucks because I could have slept in right along with him.
    Damn Mommy intuition/worry

  3. It just happened to me the other day and my son is 11. I crept up to his room and he was reading. *relief*

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