Five Glorious Minutes

Vicki Lesage essays

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Five minutes. Five glorious minutes.

It’s how long I get to sleep in this morning. My adorable little noisemakers wake me up at 6:05 instead of 6:00 and it makes all the difference.

They immediately start chirping for food like baby birds, so Papa and I drag ourselves out of bed to prepare it for them.

The two-year-old reaches into the silverware drawer and steals a spoon, then proceeds to bang it against the cabinet in a four-beat staccato that echoes my thoughts:

Go-ing-cra-zy / When-will-it-end / Way-too-much-noise / For-six-a-m

Then his one-year-old sister copies, as she always does:

This-is-so-fun / Do-what-he-does / Drive-Mom-cra-zy / Don’t-ev-er-stop

We finish breakfast and head to the living room. My son spots his wooden crane, one that you can pull with a string, and drags it around the apartment with the most innocent expression. “La-de-da, I’m just playing with my toy and I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that its wooden wheels are breaking the sound barrier as they roll along the hardwood floor. La-de-da.”

My daughter has brought her spoon with her and is now pounding on a toy pot, which is unfairly made of the same material as a real pot and therefore makes just as much noise. She’s like the street performers we see in the subways in the lively city of Paris, where we live, hammering out a tune and hoping for spare change. If I thought a few coins would get her to stop, I’d gladly pay.

The Deafening Duo moves on to Legos. Playing with Legos is fun, sure. But dumping the whole tub of them onto the hardwood floor is infinity times more fun. The sound of each little piece of plastic hitting every other little piece of plastic is the sound of my sanity being buried under the pile of colorful blocks.

If my son walks past a fan, he’ll turn it on. To Thunder-Level High Speed, of course.

When my daughter wants to read a book, she’ll first knock all of them off the shelf in one clamorous swoop, then select one from the mound on the floor. Usually the one on the bottom.

BANG, BANG! On the bathroom door as I’m trying to pee.

SPLATT, SPLATT! As they rip open the shower curtain mid-shampoo, getting water all over the bathroom.

WHOOSH, WHOOSH! As they flush the toilet while I’m in the shower, sending a cold chill up my spine.

HA, HA! As they laugh at all the trouble they’re causing.

Five minutes. I just need five minutes without all the noise. The cacophony is splitting my ears, and my nerves along with it.

Then naptime rolls around. The baby goes down to sleep. The toddler dozes off soon after. Papa snoozes on the couch in front of the TV.

I find myself with a few minutes of alone time. Me time. Quiet time. I sprawl out on my bed and dive in to the book I’ve been meaning to read for months. The window is open and I hear kids laughing and playing outside—other people’s kids, the neighbors’ kids, kids I don’t have to worry about—and I try to relax.

I look up every five minutes, amazed I have this much time to myself. And I realize that I kind of, almost, a little tiny bit, miss the noise.

A loud fart. My son, waking up from his nap.

I needn’t have worried. I can count on my little noisemakers to snap me out of my reverie before I get too comfortable.

I made it to page 14. I’ll pick up where I left off next time all three of my angels are quiet at the same time, even if it’s just for five minutes. Five glorious minutes.


About the Author

Vicki Lesage

is an IT Director by day, writer by night. And a full-time nerd. She loves fondue, wine, math, and zombies. She lives in Paris with her French husband, rambunctious son, and charmante daughter. Her first book, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, was released in January 2014.

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