I do a lot of shushing every day. The playground noise level that's currently happening might need to be turned down to the currently required lunch noise level or a lunch noise level might need to become a quiet voice. Sometimes even a quiet voice, though, is over the noise limit and must be shushed down to a no talking level. Fart noises get shushed. Random comments shouted out get shushed. When the drama teacher explains, "This activity will require self-control," and Christopher blurts out, "I have that!"--yes, more shushing.
Nowhere do I do more shushing, though, than on a field trip. Towards the end of a field trip, I often slip into a subconscious zone of quieting where I just utter a long, continuous shhhhhh to dampen not only the noise level but the general body movement level. This extended shhh has been known to last for up to 12 minutes and also, on occasion, to occur while I sleep, dreaming of a field trip.
Any given field trip from art museum to anything involving a bus has quite a heightened number of noise level reminders, but today we went to the ultimate shush-fest known as the U.S. Capitol. The building is beautiful and stately. "This building is important!" the kids declared. Yes--so important, in fact, that they have gold trash cans. Or at least gold-colored trash cans that Thomas and Kyron were pretty sure were the real deal. And if gold trash cans don't dictate a certain noise level, I don't know what does.
Once the tour guide started talking in the rotunda, I was in the zone, trying to break my 12-minute record. At the end of the tour, we got to visit the place where all the legislative magic happens--the House floor! We entered the House gallery to watch the Congress in action below. And by "action" I mean seven House clerks standing around chatting with each other. Nevertheless, this was the REAL, actual-laws-get-passed-here, shown-on-the-news-all-the-time House of Representatives and it was time to break out the deadly combination of shush + extreme glare, meant to convey, "I say 'no talking' a lot during the day, children, but you must believe me that there is REALLY no talking in CONGRESS."