Can’t you see…I’m thinking?

I think every parent has the ability to “fine tune” what noises they hear as they raise their children. Perhaps it is a certain whine, or maybe it’s a high-pitched giggle or the sing-song sound that goes hand in hand with someone about to tattle on their sibling…

“Maaaaw—ommmmm, Timmy is eating saaaa-aannd again!”

Whatever the sounds may be, the ability to tune out at least some of the non-essential noise in our day-to-day raising of children, is imperative to maintaining our sanity. Or maybe there is no “our,” at all…maybe it’s just me. šŸ™‚

There are certain sounds that automatically draw my attention, like the sound of a police car or firetruck. Hearing my children in real distress evokes the same reaction. (Pull over to the side, stay calm until the emergency (vehicle) passes, then signal my intention to return to the flow of traffic and proceed with caution.) However, there are also sounds I am able to ignore incredibly well. The sounds of my children bickering are among them.

I was concentrating on what I had yet to do, on an already busy day, when I heard the murmurings of a squabble a-brewin’ between Ollie and his sister.

“Stop, you two! I’m trying to concentrate on driving, hold that fight til we get home!” I said it, knowing full well they wouldn’t stop, but I was hoping they would forget about what they were angry about, if I took the time to interject.

Oh, how I underestimate my children’s ability to remember certain things.

Take the garbage out? Forgot.

Remember to brush your teeth? Couldn’t recall.

Pick up the dirty socks on your bedroom floor? Didn’t remember.

But counting sticks of chewing gum, and being sure that your sister took more than her share? Well that, my friend, is what having a photographic memory like Ollie has, is all about.

I don’t know how long the fighting lasted. I know I was still going over the grocery list in my head when I was interrupted.

“Mom! I said pay attention!!” Ollie shouted like a proper drill sergeant.
“I didn’t hear you.”
“I was talking right to you!”
“Couldn’t you see, I was trying to think?”

I knew it, as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew it.

“How can I see you thinking?” Ollie demanded.

“I don’t know, you can just tell.” I replied.

This set off a debate that lasted far longer than it would have taken me to just have listened and answered Ollie in the first place. I don’t think I can remember how we settled it, but I know it’s not the last time something similar happened. As much as I have to adjust my parenting style to suit Ollie’s needs, he has to adjust his style to suit my parenting.

Neither one of us is 100% satisfied with it, all of the time. But I think that is 100% okay.

We hear each other, now. ā¤

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