This is the sound of silence……..hmmmm


This week we’ve been on holiday. It has been quite a trek and looking at the map we have travelled half way across the country to meet up with friends who still live here, or have connections and visit. Luckily my friends have kids too, but this holiday has set me thinking.

I know that we are not a quiet family. I’m certainly not a quiet person which is perhaps one of the reasons I just couldn’t fit here. I am just not one of those people who can quietly accept things I find unacceptable, and being told “burasi Turkiye” or “this is Turkey” just didn’t help things–as in: living in the capital city and being subject to inexplicable electricity or water cuts that could last anywhere from seconds to hours. I endured it, not enjoyed it.

I know that it would annoy others who just accepted or didn’t mind, so had to keep myself away from those people. A self imposed limit on potential friendships which inevitably left me even more isolated, but being such a solitary person it only bothered me after prolonged periods of isolation. That said, my changing relationship with the country now that I am here for shorter periods, hopefully, means that I deal with inconveniences better.

Either way, the noise we make as a family now is not restricted or defined by country. Yet, this holiday has left me wondering; how is it that Turkish families, and by this I mean those with young kids, are so quiet? Not even quiet, I’d go so far as to say silent. it’s not that I necessarily want to be one of those families, it’s almost so quiet that it’s at the point of being unnatural.  Several theories have been offered:

1. The kids are stuck in front of the TV for prolonged periods to keep them quiet.
2. The kids are hit by their parents when noisy so become afraid to make noise
3. Most modern Turkish families have only one child, or 2 with an 8 or more year gap so effectively 2 only children and keeping one quiet is easier than 3 so close together.

It doesn’t appear to be a gender based thing either this silence of children, boys are just as likely to be quiet when with parents. Also, it should be pointed out that this is when with parents or at home, the kids in the pool next door are certainly very vocal. When I first arrived in Turkey there was the culture shock of kids being out very late at night running around wildly in restaurants, usually when a big family gathering like a wedding or birthday though. I have certainly seen kids here have major tantrums in public too.

In our block though, you would hardly know there were kids here. I suppose it would be easy to keep my 3 boys quiet by allowing them to watch endless hours of TV. This would drive me mental, I don’t want them watching hours of vacuous cartoons. So in the UK I throw them out into the garden, or tell them to find a toy and play. Here though, the apartment living means the only outside is the balcony and they can’t go to the park unsupervised. They wake at 6 am come hell or high water, no matter how early or late they are put the bed the wake up call is the same. In fact later usually means they wake up in bad moods and the fighting or moaning starts much earlier, and there is no way that I am ready by 7 am to take them to the park.

Is it the dynamic of 3 that makes them more noisy? It was such a relief to meet up with another friend who also has 3 to know that she also struggles to split herself three ways and meet the different demands. It was a relief to see other kids having vocal rages at things not going their way. Then later my boys were described as lively, and I had to question whether that was and observation, criticism or compliment. I know that my 3 at once can be an assault on the senses, and for some reason they seem to have become a little more wild on this trip. But just lately, despite all my efforts to calm them, it’s become a bit embarrassing, it’s become more noticeable the looks I am getting, and the silence of the other kids seems to be standing out more.

Perhaps we’re all a bit tired. The boys certainly do appear to go into hypers when over tired. Certainly getting back to the early bedtime routine should help. Though it doesn’t really answer my initial question. It’s not as though I want them to be that silent and maybe my perceptions are off because they have been a bit more noisy than usual. Or maybe it’s genetic, since I’m hardly a wall flower and husband’s nickname from his dad was basically rattly metal toolbox.

Weirdly, they’re relatively well behaved and quiet on the plane, unlike many other kids. They don’t scream, they listen to music or sleep, play quite imaginatively with little toys, read. So the journey home is not one I dread.

I’m now in two minds over whether to click publish for this post. I have a feeling that any feed back could be quite negative. I certainly can hear my sister’s disapproval at the moment. But to hell with it, this is my blog and I write what I feel. I have 3 boys, they’re noisy, I’m noisy, it’s unlikely that we’ll transform into a quiet family anytime soon. Though I do know that when I start to notice, things have definitely gone a bit far. I don’t go along with the Victorian values of children being seen and not heard, yet at the same time I want them to understand that they have to adapt and behave according to the place and circumstance they find themselves in. A bit of rebellion is a good thing in my book and I worry if they appear to conform a bit too much. Perhaps I should stop worrying and just enjoy them being boisterous and loud because I’m sure there’ll come the time when they are silent and that will mean they are shutting themselves off from me.

For now though, I’d better call and tell them I forgot to buy pegs because their demands made me forget what I was in the shop for and once they’re home we’ll play “it’s Oh so quiet” by Bjork–strange that they should like that?


About 5yearsmybrainhurtsalot

Once a stay at home mum in Ankara, now a working mum who makes regular lengthy trips to Mersin with my brood
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