For those of you who are familiar with (and mourning the end of) Breaking Bad, let me give you a little thrill via the pictures below. Yes, it's Tio - what a badass!
For those of you who do not watch this series, let me explain. Tuco, a meth-addicted drug dealer, has an Uncle, Tio, who is confined to a wheelchair. Tio can't speak (stroke?) and he uses a brass bell to communicate: one ring for yes, silence for no. This method seems to work for Tio, as his condition permits him to respond to closed-ended questions only. Because I am asked a lot of open-ended questions, this method does not work for me. While the dingling of a pretty bell appeals to moi, I realized its limitations right away. I am not going to cart a brass bell around - it's a bit awkward. I thought about using a handbell, but we don't have one. I also briefly considered a whistle, but that would be jarring for all involved.
Oh-oh, look out, I'm about to wax nostalgic. I am thinking of my awesome Acme Thunderer that has gone awol. I loved that whistle! It produced the most piercing shrill! May you rest in peace, little whistle.
Enter the handclap.
The Double Clap, the Finger Snap, the Whack
I would like to introduce you to the double clap. There is also a triple and a quadruple, but I reserve those for desperate times. I use the handclap for two things: 1) to get the family's attention and 2) to indicate assent.
Richard and the children frequently yell at me from another room in the house and let me tell you, there is something liberating about ignoring them. Did I just say that? Lately, R has been yelling: "one clap for yes!" And so I do it. Seems to work. It definitely makes things easier for the quiet Christine. And easier is breezier.
You're probably wondering how I get my family's attention. I have several ways, some of which are much more polite and effective than others.
1) Clapping repeatedly and sometimes hysterically. Seems to work well, although people can get annoyed.
2) Snapping my fingers. It's a bit rude, but it works. Kids respond well to this.
3) Using whatever I am holding in my hand (book, wooden spoon hi Mom, utensil) to whack the nearest surface (counter, table, floor et cetera). Produces a loud sound - rapidly garners attention from family. Again, not the most polite move, but useful in a pinch.
4) Approaching family quietly and touching them to make point. Polite, calm, respectful. I wish that I could tell you that I use this method all the time, but alas I do not. I am trying to do this though. It gets me the best response. There is something to be said for using kindness, even when one is at the end of one's rope.
My family seems to be getting used to Silent Mumma. Gwen and Nathaniel will tell anyone who will listen to them about my silent state. They seem to like to explain it to others. It's very endearing.
My wonderful neighbours across the street gave us this card (and four giant lollipops; kids were ecstatic!) yesterday:
How sweet is that?
Last night, Nathaniel climbed into my lap and snuggled up to me and whispered: "Mumma, please speak". How could I refuse my darling boy? I whispered "hi" into his ear. He was overjoyed: "Mum spoke!" Then he said, "speak again!" I did not. He was disappointed, but he got over it quickly enough.
My experiment is almost over. I have extended it until Friday, but then I need to start speaking quietly and selectively again. Gwen's birthday party is Friday evening and I have my Grandmother's memorial service to attend on Saturday morning. Chat city this weekend.
But for now, I will soldier silently on. Have any of my gentle readers ever taken a vow of silence? I would love to hear about it.
Soundtrack: Our Lips are Sealed by the Go-Go's.
Have you any idea how much I wanted to be in this band? Too bad I can't sing!