My four-year-old insists on bothering me during quiet time. Over and over he emerges from his room to announce the time: 4FF, 582, SX2. He’s not allowed out until 3:00.
“It looks like a backward E and two O’s,” I tell him. “Ice-cream if you don’t bother me until 3:00.”
“What kind?” He holds his ground in the hallway and refuses to return to his room until I tell him vanilla.
From my reading chair in the living room, I hear him crashing plastic robots, rearranging block towers. Ten minutes later, another announcement from the hallway.
“Thanks for the update.”
“Does that mean I can come out now?”
“But I am getting closer, right?”
I return to my reading and attempt to ignore his prodding. The ten minutes between disturbances are all I have to myself. I remain focused on my book. Rereading sentences, too aware of the dishes that clutter the counter and the fifty pounds of clean clothes that need to be folded and returned to their place. I will not clean during quiet time. I will remain in my chair. I will not let the dishes and the laundry and the intermittent announcements of time ruin these moments that are mine.
Afterwards, we will have ice cream together, load the dishwasher, fold laundry, play superheroes. We will continue our day, the fleeting relief of the intermittent quiet settled inside of me.
Jessica Rosen is a Chicago native who now lives in the middle of nowhere on the Oregon Coast. Between grading papers, preparing snacks, playing superheroes, and washing dishes, she scribbles in notebooks she has stashed around the house.