Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. It's been more like three times.
I'm starting to get the unnerving feeling that the nexus of my parenting is shifting, and that the important stuff is about to be what I don't say, rather than what I do say. This worries me. Babyhood required a serious flow of words from me, an articulate-inarticulate conversation between me and the little. And hey, I'm a former grad student. My preferred setting is to LECTURE. And my boys were both a wonderful audience as I poured language on their heads.
Toddlerhood was more of a call-and-response sort of thing, shifting slowly towards a more variegated range of chatter, meditative conversation, functional talk (do this, where does that go?) and quiet. The school-aged pattern, however, changes at the shift of the wind. It has invisible, wind-driven boundaries and an occasionally fierce (and infinitely vulnerable) guardian.
I don't want to talk about it.
Can we just listen to music now?
I think I'd like to just go and read.
HEY!!! You poopface, mudblood - don't do that/leave that alone/that's mine/get out of here, rages the elder sib at the younger.
But it all translates to: I need to sit in my own head. Sort things out, rebalance the weight that's shifted or been added during the day. So, could you please leave me the hell alone until I'm done?
And before I slink off, feeling useless and quietly proud of his independence, he offers me something to let me know that I don't need to offer him a resonant, superego silence: the kid's on the job.
It was just three [heinous] times.