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Article: Use Your Inside Voice

andrea richards

Use Your Inside Voice

RB_insidevoice My two-year-old is a screamer: She screams when she’s happy, mad, annoyed, excited — heck, she even screams when she’s indifferent. And it’s not your usual pint-sized shriek; hers is a full-throat, blood-curling, headache-inducing howl. And I’m so over it. I think I’ve got low-level PTSD from her acoustic sucker punches. She’s little and her verbal skills are still developing, so I get that she needs a way to express her opinions — and for the most part, her loud vocalizations are better than the physical beatings she used to belt out. The lesson about the difference between an “inside voice” versus an “outside voice” is on repeat in our house, so far without much effect (maybe I need to explain it louder?). But here’s what I’ve realized trying to turn the volume down on my kid: It’s a noisy world out there with all the people gabbing into phones, the ridiculously loud restaurants, the constant pings and zings of text messages, the Muzak pumped into public places . . . I could go on but I already sound like a grumpy grandpa. Suddenly, my two-year-old singing “Meow Meow Meow” (her punk-rock ode to kitty cats) at the top of her lungs isn’t nearly as troublesome as the two bros at the café table next to me discussing their conquests the prior night. We all need to use our inside voices a little bit more. Unless you’re on stage, in which case, belt out your meows as loud as you can. Without the band, the Screamers, after all, there would be no Dead Kennedys or Bad Brains. I wonder how Tomata du Plenty’s mom put up with it.  

For “inside voice” tunes that take down the volume, you know where to go, right?


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