The other day I realized that I repeat everything I say. Everything. And I usually repeat it about fifty times before I realize that I’m saying the same thing over and over and over again. But I think—and this is just a guess—that it’s because children are born with a filtering device in their ears. This allows them to only hear stuff like “there’s candy in the pantry” or “let’s buy Junior a skateboard for his birthday.”
They cannot, however, hear you ask them to feed the dog or make their beds or brush their teeth. So you stand there repeating yourself. And after about twenty times, your precious child turns to you and says, “um, did you say something, Mom?”
It’s enough to drive a parent crazy.
Of course, my parents went through the same thing. Every night, around 6 PM, my mother would ask one of us to set the table. And we never heard her. Never. It was like she didn’t exist. So she’d repeat herself until one of us miraculously regained the gift of hearing and got up to set the table. And that was only after she threatened to ground us. On weekends, my dad would stand in the middle of the family room and tell us to go outside and pull weeds approximately seven thousand times before getting completely disgusted and unplugging the TV. And only then would we acknowledge my father’s presence in the room and move our butts off the couch and outside.
Now I find myself doing the same thing. I wander through the house, saying things like “Junior, brush your teeth” about ten times before Junior walks into the bathroom and picks up his toothbrush. And at that point, I still have to say, “Junior brush your teeth” at least once more before he actually puts toothpaste on the brush and cleans his teeth.
If that’s not bad enough, I’ve become used to repeating myself. I find myself automatically saying to Junior, “please stop that. Please stop that. Please stop that.” And even if he did stop whatever he was doing by the second time I’ve said it, I just keep repeating it until I run out of breath.
I don’t think there is a cure for this. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life repeating myself. I’ll be an old lady, torturing my neighbors at the retirement home, yelling at them, “Did you feed the dog?” about twenty times until Harry hobbles out and puts me back in the house.
It’s not a pretty future, is it?
Of course, when you don’t want your child to hear what you are saying, they listen the first time. Please. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve got some juicy gossip to pass on and you check out the child. He’s sitting on the couch, completely engrossed in a repeat of the “Fairly Odd Parents.” So you test him. You ask him to let the dog out. He doesn’t even bat an eyelash. You say it again, just to be sure that he isn’t listening.
So you spill the gossip. And the very next minute, your child is out the door to tell everyone what you just said. Verbatim. After only hearing it once.
Have I mentioned that it’s enough to drive a parent crazy?
Speaking of crazy, the other day I realized that I repeat everything I say. Everything. And I usually repeat it about fifty times before I realize that I’m saying the same thing over and over and over again.
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