Eye on the prize but close to the edge

I try to persuade my son to talk, but he has gone on strike.  I leave the boys a mo whilst I think carefully why this should have suddenly happened, out of the blue.  Although there are no words, the noise is filled with Pokemon noises.  Nonna steps into the room, “they're being very good, aren't they?”
“It's great to see them playing together.”
“Such dear little mice.”

I look at them pretending to be Charmeleon and Pikachu at battle stations, although not at war.  The resulting din is an aural challenge, but only for me.

“Are you going to go and collect all those umbrellas in the garden?”
I can hardly make out her words nor make myself understood without going hoarse.
“Um…….yes…..maybe later.”
When the phone rings for the umpteenth time in one hour I let it go to the answering machine, so as not to break with tradition.
“You're not going to do it now?”
“Um…..no…..I'm going to wait until they're properly dry.”
“Did you know that one of those umbrellas is broken?”
“Is it?  Oh dear.”
“What about this?”  she flaps a piece of stale bread in front of me.
“Oh I'll pop it in the bin.”
“What about the birds?”
“The birds?”
“Yes.  Why don't you put it out in the garden for the birds?”
“Um….well we do have several bird feeders but they're all off the ground because of the cats.”
“Put it over then.”
“Over what?”
“Over the fence into the empty lot.”  I look into the garden, maybe 25 yards to the fence and then back again.   I watch her slice into the new fresh loaf on the counter with a paring knife.  I check the children and the Pokemon and the siege.  About 20 seconds if I really leg it.  “O.k. back in a mo.”

In a mo I am back.

She brushes crumbs from the counter onto the bread board, sort of and then waves the board at me, “what about these then?” as crumbs scatter.  She nods towards the fence thrusting the board towards me as a prompt.  I check the family room for indications of escalation.  “O.k. back in a mo.”

In a mo I am back.

I check the family room where other Pokemons have been roped in with string and scissors, which is possibly good.
“What about this then?”
“Um……”
“This peach stone.”
“Compost bin?”
“No……are you going to plant it?”
“Plant it?  I suppose I could.”
“Are you going to do it now?”
“Now……er maybe later.”
“What shall I do with the stone then?”
“Er……just leave it on the counter, it'll be fine.”
“Did you know that you left a spade outside?”
“Yes I haven't quite finished planting yet.”
“Shall I put it away for you?”
“That's kind but I was hoping I might get a chance to get out there later.”
“Am I wearing my hearing aids?”
“No I don't think so.”
“What is the matter with you?”
“Pardon?”
“You're not listening to me.”
“I am.”
“No you are not paying attention I think………what is the matter?”
“I'm just a bit worried.”
“Worried?  Why are you worried?”
“He's stopped talking.”
“Stopped talking?”
“Yes.”
“Bah!  Don't worry, he'll talk soon enough.  Enjoy the peace and quiet while you can.”

I ignore the phone and door bell simultaneously, it's really very easy.

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