When my children were born, I counted fingers, toes, legs and arms. I soaked up the tininess of their noses and stroked their little ears making sure “I love you” was the first thing they heard from their Mother – well, besides screaming. I was amazed at their little lips, barely visible nails and little wrinkly knees. Reveling in how perfect they were, I could not imagine that they would ever cause me any grief, irritation or liver disease.
I mean, I am not totally naive. These are my kids, after all. I knew we would have some issues. Boys, clothes, my commitment to an institution. But that wasn’t for many, many years to come,, I reasoned. And by then, surely I will have figured this whole motherhood thing out.
Hmph… Betty Ford called – my room is ready!
Shocking to me after only 4 years of being a mom, I have to already face the reality that cluelessness is the least of my problems. Among other things, my children seem to have been born without the ability to listen – to me… or to my husband… but mostly to me. Except for the baby, who right now appears to listen but I fear the other two will get ahold of her and ruin her before I actually do figure out how to bring her to my corner!
I am not sure where I lost them. Somewhere between the loud noise to startle them to pay attention and the long, threatening stare. It is as if a switch went off in their brains and they figured it out. I do not have to pay attention to the woman still in maternity pants a year after giving birth… she’s has nothing important to say. And if you just ignore her, she’ll eventually get distracted with another kid, a dog, a mess or a phone call and then forget what it is she asked of you anyway.
What is super frustrating is that they seem to make a conscience effort to ignore requests they are not interested in accommodating. Like when I say “Mommy is going to put Megan down for a nap, you guys stay here and color.” Why o why do they insist on walking into the room, right as her lids are falling, her grip is loosening and her belly is bloating, promising a long, enduring, one less child for 3 hours, nap? They don’t walk in quietly either! The door slams open and loud orders for a milk, or a snack, or some other immediate attention thus waking the almost asleep baby and adding another hour of her crankiness to my day.
Or when I ask them, nicely at first, to please, for the 57th time in 10 minutes, please stop taking toys from each other! They continue to swipe, yank and scream while I plead, beg and finally threaten that I will take the derned toy they are fighting over, throw it away, never buy them another and never allow anyone else to buy them another either! But they still ignore me. As if I am bluffing. I mean, I am… because I am cheap, but how in the world can they already know that?
The obvious “You never follow through” pops in my head, don’t worry!
It probably would not bother me so much if I were also allowed to tune them out also. Like, if I could go to the bathroom without a “Mommy, what are you doing?” Meditating. “Mommy, what’s that?” My underwear. “Ooh, they’re pretty.” Granny panties are the new lace thong. “Mommy, can I have some popcorn?” After I am done. “Mommy, can I have some popcorn now?” When I am done. “Mommy, can you be done and I have some popcorn now?” No. Your birth killed my ability to do that. “Mommy.” Oh please can I potty in peace? “Mommy” “Mommy” “Mommy”
Turnabout is not fair play however and the kids are keen on that. They know my ears work and I suppose that is my fault. If only I pretended not to hear them through walls, over the dishwasher and did not respond when they asked me nicely, they would never be the wiser. I could just keep on walking when I hear requests to wipe something, get something, fix something or hold someone. But no, I had to be one of those alert, attentive Mother’s, thus setting myself up for a life time of having to actually pay attention when they talk.
This would heve been easier if I had been able to have kids before I had kids. A test child, shall we say. One that could show me the art of having someone stand directly in front of me, talking loudly and not only totally ignore what that barely taller person is saying, but cleverly answer the ignored request with an unrelated story about ducks. If I had a test kid, this ability to not listen might not be such a shock to me. I could have researched and studied and been all prepared before they cut the umbilical cord.
But alas, I was fooled again and am now thrust into a life of having to be smarter than a preschooler and toddler. I’d rather take my financial license exams again. At least at the end of that, I knew I garnered a little bit of respect!
But since I have no other options, I continue to try day after day to get through to them. I hope and pray one day that their blockage clears and they actually stop trying to climb on the roof and fly like Buzz Lightyear. I hope Sarah actually gets dressed and stays dressed through breakfast, that Katie learns that I am not trying to quash her creative abilities by not letting her color at midnight, and that Megan learns that my breasts are not chew toys. That one I am working on but, like her sister’s, she won’t listen to my plea’s to cut the cord!
So I continue to ask, ask again, then ask again. Talk loudly, and then louder and then yell. Promise myself I won’t yell anymore, then yell again. Try to laugh my way through it and then cry in frustration. Listen to them explain why they won’t listen and reason with walls.
Because that is what we Mom’s do. We try to get through to them. Because if we don’t, someone else will. And I don’t care for a lot of the influences out there. To me, they are just not worth listening to.