Yakkity Yak

Joseph's kindergarten teacher recently stopped me on my way out the door. She wanted to speak to me for a few minutes about Joseph's talking. Or, rather, his inability to stop.

Smiling, I nodded my head while she told me that he has a problem with "yakking" during class time. As we walked away, Joseph said, conversationally, "I can't help it, Mama. I'm a yakker."

He comes by it honestly. His father's first grade teacher taped his mouth shut. I'll pause while you all gasp and groan and remember how teachers used to be "back in the day".

Of course, he doesn't get it from me! Why, I hardly say a word. I'm as quiet as the proverbial mouse. I'm so withdrawn and shy that you hardly know I'm in the room. What? Why are you laughing?

The truth is, Joseph comes from a family of talkers. We talk during meals, we talk while playing, we talk while listening to music. We've even been known to talk in our sleep. Trying to explain to a five-year-old boy that sometimes talking isn't appropriate is…difficult.

But I tried.

"Joseph. You really need to work on listening with your ears rather than your mouth."

"I did listen," he insisted. "But Teacher likes it quiet and I like to talk while doing my projects."

"You need to listen to the teacher when she says you have to be quiet."

"But my projects look better when I talk to them."

"You're talking to your projects?"


"Oh."  And, once again, I'm stumped. Who am I to interrupt his artistic flow?

"Well, you should probably zip your lips."

"You're silly. Lips don't have zippers."


Do you have a yakker? How have you taught them to zip their lips?