Monday, March 19, 2012

Lost In Translation

I think this has happened to every parent. You say something to your child, but what they hear is something completely different (as if you’ve suddenly begun speaking Urdu, or Swahili).

I say; “Snark Girl and OCDiva, please  complete your homework in a timely fashion.” 
Snark Girl hears; “Please twirl, dance, and sing for the next two hours and only do one page of your homework until I scream like a crazy woman, then rush through all of it in twenty minutes .”

Of course, you can repeat yourself (sometimes ad nauseum) and hope they listen, hear, and understand what you are saying, but a lot of the time they just don’t. At least this phenomena is sometimes entertaining when the child repeats back what they thought you said. (Yes I have had OCDiva’s hearing tested, repeatedly.)
I say; “OCDiva, please remove your dance bag from the pathway through the mudroom.”
OCDiva hears; “Please improve your chances at spoon dog buddies.” (Seriously, this is what she thought I said last night.)

I don’t know if it really is just that they do not listen, or that they don’t hear us. (I know, convenient hearing, it’s the official diagnosis of Snark Girl’s and OCDiva’s “hearing problems”. Really, it’s in the chart.)
I say; “Snark Girl, please take your shoes to your bedroom.”  (She’s only 10, but is already a shoe whore, for running shoes.)
She hears; Well, she hears nothing because when I repeat my request (in an increasingly loud and irritated tone, after the fourth time) she says; “Well I didn’t hear you! You don’t have to yell!” (Apparently, I do have to yell if she is unable to hear me. Of course no one living outside of this house has trouble hearing or understanding me when I speak. Well, except when I am reduced to inarticulate screaming by my children.)

Sometimes it may be that the child is too young to understand?
I say; “Hulkster. Do not take off your diaper.”
He hears; “Hulkie baby, please take off your diaper and poop on the living room floor and then walk in it and track it over most of the main floor of the house.” (I’m halfway willing to believe he doesn’t understand me, but when I ask where my phone is, or for someone to bring me a Clorox wipe, he retrieves them and brings them to me. I think he understands more than he lets on. Sneaky.)

Perhaps the child is just in a “terrible” phase (twos, threes, childhood) and therefore thinks it’s FUN to defy you (and see the veins in your forehead pop out)?
I say; “The Boy! Do not bite! No! No bite!”
He hears; “The Boy, my baby love, please go bite Hulkster hard enough to leave a bruise for a week.” (Of course, The Boy, does this while smiling angelically and looking to make sure I see him but am too far away to prevent it.)

Believe me, I’ve heard all of the advice; “Speak to them in terms they understand,” (okay, but I’m pretty sure repeated threats of all manner of awful things is just going to up those therapy bills later in life). “Allow them to complete the task their own way,” (uhm, no. The dishes must be in the cupboard, the toilet must not be cleaned with their sibling’s toothbrush). “Don’t raise your voice,” (remember, they cannot HEAR ME IF I DON’T YELL). “Children should just get to be children free of rules and responsibilities,” (sure, let me know how that works out when they take over a moderately sized company using only a Knork and a Smartphone and declare themselves “Dictator for Life”).

I really don’t know who to blame, (I suspect DNA may be partly responsible because Darling Husband’s listening/hearing skills are iffy at best), or how to solve the problem (short of putting one of those eel thingys in their ear like Khan did to Chekov to make him comply). I’m probably just stuck with the repeating, yelling, threatening, bribing, and sighing. But if you someday hear of young woman with a penchant for running shoes and hoodies becoming “Dictator for Life” somewhere in the world,  you’ll know I gave in!


  1. You mean there are people who don't repeat and yell? Who are these people? I'd like to send my kids over...

  2. I'd say it's most likely the husband's fault. But I'm willingly to blame most things on the husband.

  3. I am so there with ya!! This sounds like a typical day at my house too!

  4. Hey, when did you move in with me? Seriously, you just nailed in this house. Just make it 5 kids instead of 4, and subtract the husband.