Voice Rest, Day 2

posted March 8, 2005

Yesterday, on the way to a friend’s house, Amelia said to me from her car seat, ” Mama, I still love you even though you can’t talk.” So that was nice.

Being silent is a challenging thing for a blabber mouth like me. The grocery store is surprisingly hard. I feel so rude not saying thank you or even answering the check out people when they say How are you today? The thing is, they never look up when they say that. It makes you realize how infrequently we all look at each other in the face.

I even have a hard time not talking to my pre-verbal William. I whistle to him and click my tongue and he beams and coos. Pretty cute. I love the way his upper lip curls when he makes his little sounds.

One fringe benefit to this whole polyp thing is that I have gotten really hungry for music. I often go long periods- weeks- without putting music on the stereo. Amelia has a boom box in her room where she listens to music every night, but I rarely get music out to listen to for myself. That has changed. Some of my favorites: Dan Zanes’ Sea Music, kd lang’s Hymns of the 49th paralel, and a cool song by Jack Johnson that I heard on the radio. Also, my friends Nalini and Drew made a fantastic mix for my kids when William was born. I love Nickel Creek’s version of The Fox and Amelia is pleased to have Joan Baez’s version of Hush, Little Baby. In fact she listened to it last night instead of my live version. It did not really do the trick. She didn’t fall asleep til 9pm and she woke up at 4:45am. oy.

More tomorrow!

The Comments

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  1. When I was first learning ASL (American Sign Language), we were assigned the task of going the bulk of a day (in public, at work, etc.) without communicating verbally (this included not responding or appearing to have “heard” verbal communication from others, as well as not speaking.) I had a similarly eye-opening experience about lack of eye contact. But it can also be amazingly freeing to be silent. There’s a lack of artifice as you don’t construct a verbal persona.

    There’s some musings…I hope the voice rest continues along okay and ultimately helps bring your voice back to you, your family, and those who love your music.

  2. While you’re listening to music, check out Grit Laskin’s “A Few Simple Words” (on Borealis Records, a Canadian label he helped found) if you haven’t heard it. Pretty amazing stuff, especially the song “My Turn.”

    When our kids were little we and they listened to a tape of Priscilla Herdman’s “Nightsongs and Lullabyes” so much we wrecked it. I can’t pay a higher tribute to a musician that that!

    Wishing you a speedy recovery, but, more importantly, a full recovery.


  3. Hymns of the 49th Parallel is indeed a lovely album. I love k.d.’s covers of Jane Siberry’s songs. When I saw Jane at the IH in November or December, she did a piano ballad version of “Love is Everything” that was just astonishing.

    Perhaps you could carry a pad of paper and a pen with you when going out in public? I did that when my doctor told me to not talk for 3 days, and after people stopped laughing, they paid attention to what I wrote. You might find it useful.

  4. Sounds like Amelia will survive the silence unscathed, but maybe with less sleep. Enjoy your musical discoveries. I hope voice rest is successful, so that William, Amelia and the rest of the Nields-Chalfant clan has your laugh, your words and your song back soon. We all look forward to that day as well.

  5. I’m reminded of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode “Hush”, where demons take away the voices of everyone in Sunnydale. Street vendors immediately appear selling small whiteboards and dry-erase pens, which people wear around their necks so they can communicate. (Fully half the episode has zero spoken dialogue. It’s one of the most brilliant hours of television ever aired.)

    I have this vision of you walking around town with a whiteboard and pen, scribbling smiley-faces at cashiers and drawing little cartoons for kids on street corners as you wait for the light to change. 🙂

  6. I’m sure (my) Dave will come sing to Amelia any time. He’s especially good at the King Crimson covers. Hope you’ll be on the mend soon!

  7. So funny to read your list of music, K, as so much of that is in rotation in our hosue, too.

    I wish you all sorts of rejuvenative luck, excess energy or otherwise, as you work with your body to get back in groove. Take care of yourself, Ran (who’s too lazy to look up his blogger info)

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