Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No one listens to me anymore.

I don't know when it happened, exactly, but somewhere along the line I became like an annoying fly, buzzing away in the background. My children hear me (I think) but they don't have a clue what I am talking about.

For example, if I have to use the restroom or take a shower, I will announce it to the masses. (I even do this with adults now...everybody knows when I have to go potty.) "I'm going to the bathroom!" I will proclaim, loudly enough to be heard over the TV/Video Game/screaming toddlers. The children will nod. Sometimes, they will even look up and connect eyes with me, as if to assure me that they have it covered. "You can go to the bathroom," they seem to say, "and we, as a collective group of well-behaved children, will be just fine." I will leave the room confident they are completely aware of the situation and that there is at least a chance that peace will continue for the next five minutes.

Apparently, I am a very gullible woman.

By the time I make it to the bathroom and lock the door, the Mama radar will have gone of in someone's head. It will occur to them that I am no longer in the room, and they will begin to panic. WHERE DID SHE GO? "I saw her move her mouth" they will think, "and some kind of noise came out of it, and then all of the sudden she was GONE!" Within seconds, they will have worked themselves into a frenzy that, in my house, can only result in two actions. The first possibility is that they will run screaming through the house, frantically calling my name and foaming at the mouth because, athough I am in the bathroom screaming my head off that I am...well, in the bathroom, they can't hear me because they are running screaming through the house. They will check every room in the house except my bathroom, and will conclude that I have disappeared off the face of the earth. Chaos will ensue. The second option is that they will note that I am not in the vicinity, and they will decide that this is a sign from above that they can begin trying to kill each other, because who can know how long this lack of maternal influence will last? They would be fools not to take advantage of the lack of supervision. Again, chaos will ensue.

When I emerge from the bathroom a mere few minutes later but with several more gray hairs, they will look at me in accusation. "Where were you?" They will demand, having seen me walk out of the bathroom. "Siberia" I will tell them. They will blink at me in bafflement.

Another example that proves my point is the "What are we having for dinner?" saga that is repeated daily in my house, over and over again. No matter how many times I tell them exactly what we are having, they will ask me again a million times until the food is actually in front of them, whereupon they will oftentimes frown at their plates and ask, "Do I have to eat this? You know that I don't like spaghetti." I will then tell them what I tell someone in my household EVERY SINGLE NIGHT "I am not a short-order cook. Sometimes I will make things that you don't like, but you are going to have to eat them anyway or be hungry. Hopefully tomorrow night there will be something that you like better." And EVERY SINGLE NIGHT I will be met with horrified eyes that cannot believe that I seriously will not run over and whip them up some chicken nuggets because clearly to not do so is tanamount to child abuse. "Imagine, expecting me to eat spaghetti!" they seem to think. "I wish she had stayed in Siberia!"

I have been wondering for quite some time now how it has come to this point. I have tried to think of something that I had said or done that had made my children tune me out so completely, and I was coming up empty until this weekend. On Sunday night, while visiting my brother, I had a major revelation. We were about to leave, and Owen had decided that he was starving to death and could not possibly stand to wait the twenty minutes that it would take us to get home to eat something, so he asked his cousin Faith (also four years old) for some yogurt. She happily ran into the kitchen and got him one (without asking her parents) and Owen came running over to me asking me to open it. I knew that my nieces eat the yogurt for breakfast, so I told Owen no, and that we would get something as soon as we got home. He looked at me, flabergasted that I would not allow him to eat when he was clearly wasting away before my eyes. "Yogert!" I said firmly, "Put the Owen back in the refrigerator now and lets go home!"

And that's when it hit me. After sixteen years of parenting, I have lost so many brain cells that I no longer make any sense. No wonder they don't listen to me. Would you pay attention to a woman that called you Yogurt? I have to say that I'm not sure that I would.

There is a certain freedom that comes with this knowledge, however. If they are not listening to me, then I can say pretty much anything that I want and it will be okay. I can tell the kids that I am making lizard brains for dinner and they will not even notice. Then, when I present them with spaghetti, I can say "Hey, at least it's not lizard brains!" and they will be too confused to argue. Why did I not think of this before?

Okay. Now that I have that all worked out, I've got to go pay a visit to Siberia. I hope the house is still standing when I get back.

33 comments:

Denise said...

Once again, you crack me up. lol

CrossView said...

This is funny! It would be soooo much funnier if I didn't understand exactly what you mean! =P

Mina said...

You crack me up. This is my story as well. Except for the yogurt epiphany.

I've never understood how I can hear my son yelling for me (with increasing panic) all over the house and he cannot hear me yelling back from the toilet.

Manda said...

OMG....I can only imagine our dear brother's reaction to you calling Owen Yogurt. Knowing him, he laughed extremely hard, and you will never hear the end of it.

I really need to be around both of you at the same time. I think this is something Ronnie should experience. :)

MamaHenClucks said...

Have you been lurking around my house lately? This exact scenario played itself out one day after I told the chickies I was going to the basement. By the time I came back upstairs they were both in tears, convinced I was gone for good. And the food - OMG! I started telling them about a year ago that I was making chicken, regardless of what I'm making. I can not have that conversation one more time.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Yeah - so nice to know it doesn't only happen at our house. :) You are so so right on with this post - sadly. ;)

Anne Elizabeth said...

You made me laugh as usual:) I really needed that today!

Sara@ Butterville said...

It IS amazing that the emergencies happen while your on bathroom break. Emergencies like I can't find my toy or so & so took my... or Honey, is my sweater vest clean?
Oh for the LOVE of ***! Can I Please read my soap update in peace!
And by the way, if they don't like what I slave over and plan, buy and make for dinner they get their choice of cold cereal! Do you know how many boxes we go through? Cheerios and Fruit Loops LOVES us!
And I'm not a bad cook, it's just that I'm the cook and I cook what I feel like eating! It is good to be Mom.

Maggie said...

Oh my gosh, that was hilarious! I can SO relate. Moms must be the only ones in the house that have to announce bathroom breaks. I have done the same thing on countless occasions only to be interupted a few seconds later.

Hope you enjoyed your trip. I've heard Siberia is nice this time of year. LOL

Hannah said...

You are a fountain of wisdom. It is all so true.

I love it when they come to the bathroom door too, and sometimes it's locked, and they want to know in a shocked voice what I am doing in there.

What do they think I'm doing in there???

Thanks for the realization I am not alone. :)

Jerralea said...

And I thought that only my house was like that ....

I am asked what's for dinner every day of my life ... now that they're older, they even text me that question ...

Maybe, I, too, will say lizard brains!

Jenn said...

I have the same problem when I visit Siberia. HMMM- must be a mom problem. WE should collaborate and come up with a solution to this pesky problem!

Karen said...

I know I told the kids that I had a doctors appointment this afternoon. When I got out of the doctors office, I had nine missed calls, 2 voice mails and 3 text messages. All from the same two kids I know I talked to this morning. Did they want anything? Was anything on fire? Nope. Just wanted to know where I was. Sigh.

Amy said...

LOL!:) And bless your heart...my husband and I both feel your pain.

One day my husband was "yelling" at both of the boys, telling them to stop arguing and get in the car. He finally became so frustrated trying to get them to listen to him, that he decided he would need to SCREAM their names in order to get their attention...So he does...only he gets confused...and instead of screaming Matthew and Daniel...he screamed....MANIEL!....Then he looked at me very sadly and said, "I've turned into my father. He used to call my brother and me "SHANDY!" instead of Shannon and Andy.

I do the same thing, but for some unfortunate reason, I try to scream their names in the opposite order...Daniel and Matthew...then I get "confused" and it comes out "DAMATTHEW!" Which, of course, makes it sound like I am cursing at my kids.

Sigh....

Maybe I should meet you in Siberia....Do they have a Starbucks?;)

God Bless,
Amy:)

Boy Mom said...

Hilarious post! I needed it today. We'll have to compare notes when you actually withdraw your children from school. Is it principals everywhere or just the three I've dealt with.

Mrs. Darling said...

Oh I hear ya! Thats how it seem around here too. I talk into thin air!

Brenda Susan said...

So funny! And so true in lots of homes apparently!

Patrice said...

Wow, I guess I am not the only mom that has this problem!!

One day I told my kids that I was going to go fly in the sky on my pink elephant just to see what they would say. One said cool and the other say ok. If I said, here I am giving you each $100 bucks I bet they would here that! Hey, wait a minute....maybe we should start every conversation with that!! LOL!

Jan said...

I used to tell my boys (who are 19 and 16) not to disturb me when I was in the bathroom unless it involved blood, vomit or broken bones...

And we all survived. Hey? Maybe that could be a chapter in my book.

Hang tough!

Jan

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

I literally cannot remember the last time I took a shower without an interuption. It's ridiculous, isn't it?

And the "what's for supper" thing cracked me up too. You must have a microphone bug in my computer or something...that was almost verbatim!

Lizard brains...I'm gonna have to use that! lol

Colored With Memories said...

LOL...still LOL! this is great stuff! i'm just impressed that you actually lock the bathroom door. mine would beat it down i'm afraid!

i enjoyed reading your comments regarding homeschooling. thanks!

Liz said...

you crack me up....thanks for the laugh!

Jennifer said...

You really make me laugh..That is SO my life! I read your post to my husband, and we were both cracking up! Thanks for the smiles....

Jennifer

Julie said...

i couldn't even get through the title without bursting into laughter!! you are able to put those feelings of frustration and chaos into such eloquent words it almost seems FUN to be hunted down like a lost toy by screaming, crying children!!!
i am still laughing......
julie

Jennifer said...

well I love ya Gwen. This is great stuff! I'm laughing like the other 24 commenters! And I am taking too much time off -the-clock- typing this reply, apparently, cause one is hanging off of me and crying, pretty well pulling my clothes off trying to get me to stop. Love it. Totally have all the same experiences. It appears nothing has befallen us save what is common to Mommies. :)

Are you familiar with Dawn Meehan? she is a phenomenon and this post sounds just like her. http://mom2my6pack.blogspot.com/
she has a book now I think!
(that's a compliment!)

Baby Tunnel Exodus said...

Seriously. "I'm checking the mail." Yeah yeah whatever Mom. (20 seconds later) it's either, "WHERE WERE YOU????" or 2 little faces pressed up against the door, "DON'T LEAVE US!!" Well. Just love impressing the neighborhood. Takes talent, y'all. Good Grief.

Thanks for a great laugh; I needed it today.

Blessings, Whitney

Greg C said...

That was so funny and so like our house. Our kids do the same thing and if you don't lock the door they will follow you in.

Octamom said...

Mine all not only seem to not hear me but to not hear each other--they have started all talking at once, speaking over each other as they try to capture my attention...it's so peaceful and lovely...

Blessings!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

I only have one, so there is no one that she can beat up when I go to the bathroom, but heaven forbid I should actually try and lock the door for a modicum of privacy. The world most certainly comes crashing down if I do that.

Angel said...

The best part is, its so hysterically funny because of the truth that we have discovered in it and experienced it. One day I will go to "Siberia" and not have a child go through 2 doors to demand my current status. We need a facebook or myspace status board on our bathroom doors! Mom is "lost in Siberia, will return shortly, NOW GO AWAY!!"

Edie said...

You are so funny and this is so real! Love the lizard brains idea!

kim said...

this potentially explains a lot in my home, too. I wonder if I have ever called a child yogurt?

Chatty Kelly said...

I loved this! Hysterical. Yes, we have this same phenomena at my house. If I am in the bathroom, all heck breaks out. Why oh why?

Too funny!