Friday, January 27, 2012

Whisper please

We have just gotten home from school and the first thing Gabe does is march upstairs calling out to see where Angel and baby Maree are. Maree, who has been a bit fussy the past few days (teething) is napping. Angel hushes Gabe. Gabe protests loudly, tattling on Angel. I quickly race from the kitchen to the stairs and hush Gabe and motion him downstairs. I send him into the library to sit for 5 minutes because he is still complaining loudly about Angel hushing him.
"I will be back in 5 minutes to talk with you," I say and leave the room. 5 minutes later I am back. Gabe is sitting in the chair that I have directed him to and crying. Quietly I say to him, "When Angel says 'shhh' to you, you have to shush. You close your mouth and stop talking. The baby..."
"I can talk if I want!" Gabe buts in.
"Shhh," I say. "If Angel or I say 'shhh' to you, you must close your mouth right away." Gabe's crying picks up.
"Are you listening?" I ask. I have kept my voice very quiet to help Gabe understand quietness is important at this time.
"I am listening! But Angel wouldn't listen," Gabe says rather loudly.
"Shhh," I say. "When Angel says 'shhh' you have to close your mouth. If you need to tell me something then find me and whisper. Say (I'm whispering at this point) 'Mom, I need to tell you something.' Can you whisper?"
"Mom I to tell something," Gabe blurts out loudly.
"Now let's say it only whisper." I whisper again, "Mom I need to tell you something."
"Mom," Gabe is even louder.
"Shhh, whisper," I say.
"Whisper!" Gabe nearly yells at me.
"Quiet, and do not say another word. Listen to me. I know that you know how to whisper. We are practicing." Gabe starts bawling. "When you get yourself  together I will be back. You need to stop crying and be ready to listen.
About 10 minutes later I come back. Gabe is still crying. "Please take your hand down from your face," say quietly. Gabe hesitates. "Put it down and listen please. Are you feeling sorry for yourself?"
"Yes," Gabe sobs.
"Do you like it when Maree cries loudly?" I ask. (Gabe hates it when Maree cries. If it goes for more than  minute he gets his headphones).
"No," Gabe sobs.
"Well then stop crying and listen. If you talk loudly and wake up Maree she will cry loudly. She might even cry for quite a while because she got woke up. Angel and I are both taking care of you and Maree when we say 'shhh'. If Angel says 'shhh' you have to close your mouth right away." Gabe scowls at me. It is clear that he does not like the idea that Angel can tell him to be quiet. "I am taking care of you and Maree when I say that if Angel tells you to shhh, you have to get quiet." I am repeating what I said because I think that Gabe is still unwilling to believe that I mean what I say.
"What are you going to do if Angel says shhh?" I ask.
"I don't know," Gabe whines loudly.
"Shhh," Gabe scowls at me for saying shhh again. "Listen to what I am telling you. When Angel says shhh, you have to get quiet and close your mouth." I pinch my lips. "What are you going to do when Angel says shhh?"
"I don't know! Gabe says loudly.
"Shhh," I say again. "I am talking quietly to you. Now I'm going to whisper. I want you to answer me with a whisper. You know how to whisper. When Angel says...." We go through the whole thing about 5 times more. Finally Gabe pinches his lips when I ask him what he will do. Now onto part 2. "If you need to talk to me whisper 'Mom I need to talk to you.' Can you whisper?" This whole thing of getting Gabe to whisper takes about 5 rounds. Finally he decided to whisper.
"See, I knew you could whisper. The reason we whisper is so that Maree won't scream. That way we are all happy. Do you understand that Angel and I are taking care of both of you?"
"Yes," Gabe whispers.
"You may get off of the chair. Just use a whisper voice if you need to talk."
The chance that Gabe will honor this while Maree is sleeping this time is very likely. The chance that Gabe will remember the next time that Maree is sleeping - not very good. However, over time, he usually improves with enough practice.

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