This article, entitled Is ANYONE Out There Listening? comes from Erin Ferris at http://amidwesterngirlincowboycountry.blogspot.com
Most days I feel like the small people who've taken over my house don't listen to a single word that comes out of my mouth. Oh, they hear me. But they sure don't listen to me. Or maybe that's the other way around. Whatever.
Below are just a few of the requests I make of them every day. The first part of each request is what I start with. The second part of each request is what I transition to when my requests fall on selectively-deaf ears. (The all-caps don't necessarily mean I'm yelling, just that my volume has gone up and my tone has become much more forceful and exasperated.)
- Please put your dishes in the dishwasher when you've finished eating. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DISHES ON THE COUNTER - YOUR LEFTOVER FOOD WILL ATTRACT FRUIT FLIES AND COCKROACHES AND BEARS. (It's possible I occasionally exaggerate on what could happen to food left on the counter.)
Howdy! My name is Erin, and I am a wife, mother and writer living in College Station, TX. After eight years working in fundraising and volunteer management for the American Red Cross, my family moved across the country – from Michigan to Texas, which was quite the culture shock – and I decided a change in focus should accompany my change in geography. I now spend my “free time” (while preschool is in session and during naptime) sharing my experiences and cultivating conversations about parenting, cooking and baking, home and family organization, and philanthropy and volunteerism on my personal blog, my kid-focused blog and for the American Red Cross. And I’m loving every minute of it.
- Please shut the door on your way out/in. DO NOT LEAVE THE BACKDOOR OPEN - THE BUGGIES AND THE LIZARDS ARE FOLLOWING YOU IN AND YOU'RE LETTING THE AIR CONDITIONING OUT. (No exaggerating here!)
- Please take off your shoes (and put them in the cute little shoe holder I bought specifically for you and your sister's cute little shoes) when you come into the house. DO NOT WALK THROUGH THE LIVING ROOM AND ACROSS THE MY NEW RUG WITH MUDDY CLEATS ON YOUR FEET.
- Please speak kindly to and play nicely with your brother/sister. DO NOT TEASE YOUR BROTHER/SISTER. DO NOT CHASE YOUR BROTHER/SISTER. DO NOT HIT YOUR BROTHER/SISTER. THAT'S IT, GO TO TIMEOUT.
- Please put your dirty clothes in the hamper when you remove them from your body. DO NOT DISCARD YOUR CLOTHING IN A HANSEL-AND-GRETEL-ESQUE TRAIL ON THE FLOOR BETWEEN THE KITCHEN (WHY ARE YOU TAKING OFF YOUR CLOTHES IN THE KITCHEN?!) AND THE BATHROOM.
- Please brush your teeth. DO NOT PAINT THE BATHROOM COUNTERTOP WITH YOUR TOOTHBRUSH AND HOT PINK TOOTHPASTE.
- Please get back in bed. FOR THE LOVE, GET YOUR BEHIND BACK INTO YOUR BEDROOM BEFORE I STRAP YOU TO YOUR BED.
When evening rolls around I write myself a note to schedule appointments with the children's pediatrician to have their hearing checked. Because they MUST be going deaf. There's no other explanation for why they NEVER listen to what I say.
And then, in those rare moments when they play quietly together and I listen to their conversations from the hallway outside their bedrooms, I hear this.
Hallie: "Please don't talk back to me, Will - you know better than that."
Will: "Hallie, you have two choices..."
Hallie: "Will, PLEASE don't talk like a baby. You are NOT a baby."
Will: "Hallie, I'm going to count to three..."
Hallie: "Let's play house. You be the daddy and I'll be the mommy and we'll go to Lowe's to buy more paint."
And my favorite...
Hallie: "No, silly. She's not getting married today. Today she's just GETTING READY to get married. She's making her fingernails and toenails pretty, and doing her hair so it's SO beautiful. Her wedding is TOMORROW, and she'll wear a beautiful princess dress and sparkly shoes and a tiara."
So it turns out they ARE listening (especially when I talk to Hallie's teacher, Holly, about her recent wedding). Their hearing is just fine, which is good, but that means the problem lies in their refusal to mind me, which is a completely different issue for a completely different post.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Lowe's to pick up more paint.