As verbal as CJ is now, some of my favorite memories of her have no words at all.

One happened when she was two years old and just discovering role reversal. We sat on the big rocker at bedtime and I suggested that we pretend I was sitting on her lap and she was reading a story to me. She thought that sounded hilarious. She pushed herself to the back of the rocker and I sat between her feet, which didn’t yet reach the end of the seat. We sat there for a minute but she couldn’t see around me so she asked if we could sit side by side instead. And then we just sat and rocked, side by side, for about five minutes, smiling at each other, without saying a word.

It never happened again. Within weeks she was talking incessantly, so that even if I recreated the scenario she wouldn’t keep quiet. Recently I told her the story and she suggested we try it again, since now she has enough self-control to be silent even when she has something to say. But she’s grown so big that we can’t fit side by side on the rocker any more.

Silence is rare and precious once your children start talking. I understand now why so many parents like to watch their children while they sleep.

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