They say silence is golden. At bedtime, sure. A quiet little snore is all I want to hear drifting over our baby monitor.
As a general rule though, silence is not golden when you have a toddler. In fact, silence is downright suspicious.
This week has put me through a face-palming bootcamp as my kid taught me a thing or two about why a quiet child does not equal a happy and content child who is calmly playing with her toys in the living room as I make dinner.
Nope. That’s just a pipe dream.
Silence means she is raiding daddy’s candy stash or trying to eat the apple flavored toothpaste that we brush her teeth with straight out of the tube. The absence of babbling means she is unfolding all the laundry and hiding my underwear in places that company will find next time they visit. Thirty seconds of quiet means that we may have to spend two hours after she goes to bed searching for the remote.
At least you can’t say our lives are boring, right?
Silence simply means trouble is brewing and I need to get a pair of those eyes in the back of my head that I always assumed moms just came equipped with.
I’m beginning to think that the “mom eyes” that we all feared for most of our lives were a crux. Really, we all just suck at hiding our misdoings and have horrible guilty faces. I know Baby K does and I can usually put two and two together very quickly to figure out what she has done.
Case in point: I had temporarily set my grilled cheese on the coffee table while I answered the phone. I came back and my plate was empty. Upon first look, Baby K was still sitting in the same area she was when I left and had a toy in one hand.
Upon closer inspection, you know, after I decided I wasn’t crazy and REALLY had left a sandwich there, I noticed the crumbs of a sandwich thief plastered all around her mouth and a half a gummed sandwich sitting in her lap. And she had her big doe-eyed innocent face on.
She seemed utterly perplexed when I seemed to know exactly what she had done.
It’s really not too hard to figure most of these things out. When every page of the magazine I was in the process of reading has been ripped out, chewed and spread across our living room, all signs point to the teething baby with a paper fascination. When she is quietly playing in a corner with her back turned to me, it’s safe to assume she found something she isn’t supposed to have.
Yet, our kids seem to assume that they’ve outsmarted us every time. Their shocked and perplexed looks at our ability to discern what happened is a little insulting, really. I can imagine it only gets worse as they get older.
So, here’s the secret.
Moms? We’re not stupid. Our decades of experience on this planet (including a childhood loaded with similar antics) have given us an edge. We don’t really have eyes in the backs of our heads. We simply have a brain.
We spend more time with our kids than anyone and we know them. We know their tells, we know their guilty faces and we know the things that they will try again and again. We quickly learn just how dangerous silence is and we learn from our mistakes. We’re not likely to be fooled the same way twice.
So when something is awry, we simply draw on that experience and the ability to connect the dots to put the puzzle together quicker than an outsider. Then we use our killer poker face to scare our kids in to thinking that we can see them no matter where we are or what we’re doing.
Well-played mom, well-played. I just wish I had figured this out when I was a kid instead of now that I’m a parent.
For now, though, I’m still figuring out my toddler’s pattern of destruction and exactly how much she can achieve in two minutes of independence.
So, please don’t freak out if you find a pair of underwear in my couch. I didn’t leave them there, I swear it.