The Parent Trip – Quiet

It’s too quiet. When there are multiple kids in the house and all you hear is…well…nothing, it means something.

  • Mar. 13, 2014 7:00 p.m.

By Shelby Cain


It’s too quiet.  When there are multiple kids in the house and all you hear is…well…nothing, it means something.

Option A – they have managed to find candy or work the remote.  Either way, not a bad recovery for you.  This is manageable, and you might even be able to pretend you don’t know what they’re doing and enjoy a few moments of the blissful rarity that is silence.

Option B – they’re into something.  And based on the length of time you don’t hear from them, it could be something big.  If you managed to debrief an entire episode of The Bachelor, you’re in for a doozy.

The other day I walked myself right into an epic doozy.  I hung up the phone and had the nerve to stealthily open the pantry door and break off a piece of chocolate from my frequently visited bar when it hit me like a runaway Hotwheels – it’s too quiet in here.  Eerily quiet.

I opened my chocolate filled mouth to call out and then snapped it shut.  The element of surprise. Yes. I crept up the stairs like ninja mommy, hugging tight to the walls.  As I rounded the corner an odour assaulted my nostrils.  It was a combination of mint, detergent, and mischief.  And it was pungent.

The hum of lowered voices escaped from beneath the bathroom door.  I grabbed the handle, took a deep breath, and turned.  The look of intense fear on both of their faces struck me first.  The smell was a hundred times more concentrated in here and I had to gulp fresh air from the hall as I tried to take in what I was looking at.

Three stood on her stool, looking in the mirror.  Four was beside her, a giant bottle of dish soap in her hand.  Two tubes of toothpaste lay emptied and discarded on the counter.  Three was covered in a white substance from the top of her head to about mid calf.  The combination of toothpaste and dish soap had created a bubbly jelly that covered my child, the counter, the floor, and now my socks.

Four saw my shocked expression and decided to switch her approach from guilt to pride.  “I’m giving my sister a complete home make-over!”  Three attempted a smile but took in a mouth of the paste-detergent combo.  Not good.  She started to cry, and then rub her eyes, and then completely panic. Ouch. I set up a makeshift eyewash station and spent the next few hours washing layer after layer of The Goo, as we began to call it, off of everything.  I don’t know if my bathroom floor will ever be the same. Doozy.