It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Quiet Time with Arthur

Arthur is a loud child. Despite his good intentions, his sheer ear-blasting, mind-numbing volume is probably the single thing about this rather challenging child that drains me the most. It’s loud, and it’s incessant. Without reprieve. There are moments in my day with Arthur that I physically crave silence. Just for a moment.

Which is not entirely fair, since he does take a nap in the afternoon. The boy needs his sleep. For which I am supremely grateful. However, there are some days when even a lengthy nap is barely sufficient a reprieve to enable me to sooth my shattered nerves and face the remainder of the day after nap time.

We have been successful in teaching him the difference between volume appropriate to a chat across a football field and that required to traverse one of my small rooms. When told to use his “inside voice”, he now knows what an inside voice is. This is progress. However, he can’t seem to maintain an inside voice for more than, oh, 47 seconds.

This afternoon, with repeated reminders, Arthur has managed what for him is moderate volume. The children are seated around the table, colouring. For an astonishing few seconds, there is utter silence. The only sound to be heard is the scribble of crayons across papers. It is blissful. Silence. This simply never happens with Arthur in the house. I have time for one deep breath; after eight seconds the silence is broken by

“…meenuh, meenuh, meenuhmeenuhmeenuhmeenuhmeenuhmeenuh meenuh…”

…uttered in a tone forced out through vocal cords stretched taught, a tone that rasps against the nerves, that crawls into your ear, tunnels through your eardrum, and slices into your brain, which it then beats to a whimpering pulp with a mallet.


Arthur’s head is bent over his work, he scribbles with focus and vigour.


This is Arthur’s approximation of working quietly.


“Arthur, please stop making that noise.”

He stops, lifts his head, eyes wide and innocent. “I was just singing a song!”

“No, that’s not a song, my dear. That’s just noise. Please stop making that noise.”

Head down, crayon resumes its frenetic passage over the paper. His voice, taut and raspy, emerges yet again from under his chaotic mop of hair.

“Old MacDonald had a farm, with a moo-moo here, anna moo-moo there”

Well…it is music, or a reasonable approximation thereof.

“Old MacDonald had a farm, with a moo-moo here, anna moo-moo there”

And the volume, for Arthur, is acceptable.

“Old MacDonald had a farm, with a moo-moo here, anna moo-moo there”

So I sigh and let it roll on.

“Old MacDonald had a farm, with a moo-moo here, anna moo-moo there”

Seems this Old MacDonald is a dairy farmer.

January 4, 2006 Posted by | individuality, the things they say! | 9 Comments