This Is How You Know They Listen

Sometimes parenting feels like you’re saying an awful lot and hoping a little bit sticks. I’ve heard this called the Spaghetti Method. “Say please and thank you!” “Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.” “Close the door gently, please.” “Your sister is not an art canvas, please don’t draw on her.”

It’s tough to tell sometimes what the kids hear, and what they don’t. Wait. Scratch that. They hear it all. What they choose to listen to, and what they don’t.

Well, this is how you know.

Scenario Number 1: Repairman Part 1, Hygiene

You have some sort of service person in your home to do some work. Let’s say, a furniture repairman (or woman, furniture repair does not discriminate). The service person will be in your home for quite some time because you bought a product from some shady website and it was delivered damaged and the website is so awful they won’t do anything about it. I mean…the couch is broken with extensive damage. As this person is there, he or she will need to use your bathroom. Understandable.

As the person walks out of the restroom, your child will shout something like, “Did you remember to wash your hands?”

That’s how you know.

Scenario Number 2: Repairman Part 2, Nap time

Same service person comes up the stairs to ask you a question. He shuts the basement door. Rather hard. And you do your best not to cringe because it’s loud and your babies have been napping for just enough time they won’t go back down if they wake up, but not enough time to constitute their full, normal nap. And, trust me, that is the WORST time for them to wake up.

Your older child will shout, “Don’t slam the basement door, the babies are sleeping!”

That’s how you know.

Scenario Number 3: The Grocery Store

You are in line at the store and the person in front of you coughs.

Your child will say (and by say I mean shout because children do not have volume switches), “He should have covered his mouth with his elbow, not his hand. Hands are full of germs, germs, icky, germs!”

He will do something resembling jazz hands as he says this. Something you suspect he learned in preschool when they discussed hand washing.

That’s how you know.

Scenario Number 4; The Fitting Room

As a stay at home mother, sometimes you need to shop with your children in tow. I know, maybe if you were a better planner you wouldn’t need to buy dress pants the same day you will have to wear them. But there are times it just doesn’t work like that. It’s bring the kids to the store (and fitting room) or wear jeans to the theater. Actually, jeans to the theater may be a better choice.

Your child will say, “Mommy, do you have a penis? I do. That’s what it’s called. A penis. Not a pee-pee. A penis.”

There are other people in the adjoining fitting rooms. They are listening, either that or they are giggling at their own appearance in the mirror. Which might be possible. But I doubt it.

That’s how you know.

Scenario Number 5: The Tea Party

You have a toy teapot. A few toy tea cups. And a floor.

Child: “Mrs. Weller [That’s you], would you like some more tea?”

You: “Yes, please. I would love some more tea.”

You take a sip.

You: “Mmm. This is delicious tea.”

Then you get up to do something. Answer the phone. Pee. Mop the floor. Make a snack. Whatever.

Child: “Mrs. Weller. You haven’t asked to be excused. You can’t just get down from the table without asking.”

That’s how you know.


See, they are listening. They just like to wait for the most opportune time to tell you so. Good job, parents. Good job.


2 thoughts on “This Is How You Know They Listen

  1. One of my boys once said “my penis is sticking up” in preschool. The teacher handled it beautifully . . . and commented on how we had taught him the correct scientific name for it.

    What’s GREAT is when your child gets much older, and they start doing and saying those things that you have spent literally YEARS teaching them but you didn’t think they would ever get! Here in the south, we are big on “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.” It’s finally sticking, as well as other courtesy and grooming issues. Believe me, there is something you will have to say 10,342 times before your childs gets it. But you will do disco-dance routine when they finally do. 🙂

    GREAT post, Erin! Loved it.

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