Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Curse of the Parentally Deaf

 Our family has the same routine every day during the week, yet for some reason I have to keep reminding our kids (and sometimes my husband) of things that should have been ingrained in them since birth. But when a parent speaks to their children about things of importance (but not relevant to their immediate personal gain), they become as deaf as stumps. This is what I call being Parentally Deaf.

Let me give you a few examples.

My kids have been packing their lunches for two years now, yet they can't remember to make them until three seconds before they walk out the door. If I don't remind them, they walk out without lunches- then I get a call from the school  asking ever-so-subtlety if I realized that I'm starving my children by not packing them myself.

I stress the need for teamwork, especially when it comes to chores. It should work, but it's like herding cats to get everyone to do their part. I make breakfast. The dinner dishes should have been put in the dishwasher last night so I have room to hand wash dishes as I cook and get breakfast on the table, but the table is neither cleared nor washed. The sink is filled with dishes that were supposed to go into the dishwasher the night before, so I can't do any hand-washing. And of course it's all my fault because I didn't tell them to do their chores- even though I provided a checklist in full view of their peepers, which are only trained to focus on computer or TV screens. (This is why we don't allow the computer or TV on in the mornings.) So I start barking out orders like a drill sergeant, getting everything ready for a breakfast that is about to burn from neglect.

After school they have a 30 minute break before homework, and Lord forbid if I interrupt their show to go over something unimportant like chores they've forgotten, they're sitting on the cat, or the house in on fire. 
What I do get are the most grievous of utterances, breath expelled at such a rate they could replace the Big Bad Wolf, and eyes that roll so far into their heads that I fear they lost their eyeballs somewhere in the backs of their brains. A swat at the back of the head usually returns them back to their sockets, and the whining and gusty breaths usually stop after I abruptly turn off the TV.

(Protest all you want Sweeties, but when waterbugs the size of Montana start coming to me with written complaints about the unattended messes and are threatening to sue me, someone hasn't been doing their job!)

My kids have found a tactic that they think works better, but they underestimate their parental units. They decide that Mom is too lazy to climb up the stairs fifty times a day to tell them what to do (which is the truth), so they burrow themselves in their bedrooms, hoping that the adage 'out of sight, out of mind' might save them from chores. Many times this does work, (and I get a lot of writing done when it's quiet!), but on occasion they make noise and remind me that they haven't moved out yet. I'm thankful that God has given me the lungs of  a drill sergeant, because I can bellow with the best of them. This is where the deafness factor usually comes into play.

I know they hear me. When I yell, even the cats come running! The neighbors tell me they can hear me though the walls (most of the time it makes them laugh). But my kids? They tell me they don't hear me, but all the movement upstairs come to an immediate halt right after I yell. Don't even try to tell me they didn't hear me- they know. Acknowledgement doesn't usually come until the third bellow, when they usually crack open their door and ask ever-so-innocently if I was calling them.

Unfortunately it's a sporadic deafness- when it comes to whispered adult conversation, candy wrappers, and secrets, their hearing becomes better than a bat, and they stampede down the stairs in a way that would impress elephants, asking questions about what was said, can they have some, and yelling said secrets to the neighbors through the wall. 


I have to admit, being Parentally Deaf has it's advantages though- it makes for great writing material!


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