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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Can. You. Hear. Me?

I know people (lovingly?) call three year olds threenagers, but I'm still astounded that this amount of attitude can come from something so small. Something so small that loves me so much and loudly.

I mean, we've got it all over here. We've got the exaggerated sigh. We've got the arms crossed, squared-shoulders harrumph. We've got the eye roll (although they're still perfecting that one. Sometimes they accidentally cross their eyes when trying to pull it off.)

Truly, we are a disgruntled bunch.

But the worst of them all, the one that cannot be pictured, the one that even if I could snap a shot of it, the photo would never convey the amount of annoyance this behavior brings...the worst is the ignoring me.

It's made even more frustrating by the fact that I don't even realize it's happening until I've said the same thing a dozen times with no response. I actually fall for it. Regularly. I think they haven't heard me. So I repeat. Because I honestly think they haven't heard me. Fool.

They heard me. They heard me the first time, they heard me the twelfth time. And I'm over here looking like a jackass broken record, giving them the benefit of the doubt because I haven't even considered the alternative until it's too late to correct the behavior.

Go down the stairs.
Go down the stairs.
Hey, could you go down the stairs.
(I do something else for a moment, then notice that no stairs have been gone down.)
Girls, can you go downstairs, please.
(I start down the stairs, no one follows me. No one has even acknowledged my presence.  That's when I realize it. They're purposefully ignoring me.)
Go down the stairs.


Now they're insulted that I yelled at them. How dare I? Gee, I don't know.

Sometimes I catch it before this point. If I do, I repeat their names over and over and over. Sometimes I say, Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

Amazing that I, who perfected this ignoring in my childhood, could be thrown for loop by it.

I remember doing it when I was a bit older. I remember thinking, when my mom would constantly ask me if I could hear her, 'why are you so needy, woman? You need validation at every turn? Yes, I heard you. I have ears. I'll get to your ridiculous, time-wasting, unnecessary request in a second. Either that or I'll forget about it, then be insulted when you have to remind me.  You know how this works. I. HEARD. YOU.'

Little did I know that I had trained my mother to do this, much as my kids are now training me. She had been conditioned to ensure that, yes, I actually did hear her and I'm ignoring her, so that later, when she had to tell me again, I couldn't say, "but, mom, I didn't hear you!"

And this ignoring thing, it's good. It's subtle. There is literally no response. No indication that they might have heard me at all. It's not like they set their jaws, and I know they're being obstinate. They literally act as if no one has spoken.

Threenagers. I can see everyone's point now.

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