Tuesday, August 21, 2012

They Listen All Right!


My eternal complaint with my kids is that they don’t listen to me.  At school, at other’s homes and in the presence of my family, my daughters mostly pay attention, follow instruction, and respond appropriately to requests.  It’s in my presence where they seem to turn their listening ears off.  I am forever badgering my girls to listen to me.

“Please listen to me and do as I ask,” I warn them on a regular basis, in response to an initial request of shutting the door, turning off the light, or bringing the noise level down a notch, being blown off.  While the even yet stern tone of my voice usually grabs their attention, it doesn’t always yield an immediate action.  Sometimes they’re having so much fun doing whatever they’re doing, that they feel it’s just not possible for them to pull away at that moment.

Today’s laundomat excursion followed that line of thinking.  The girls helped separate the clothes, pre-treat the stains, and load the washers.  They sat on a high folding table together, reading Highlights and playing Go Fish.  After spending their quarter rewards on bouncing balls from the toy dispenser, they got a little rambunctious playing hide and seek in the empty Laundromat.

To keep them from getting so wound up that someone gets injured, I asked them to help me with gathering up the clean clothes and getting them to the car.  They took turns filling the big portable carts with baskets of clothes and supplies and wheeling them to the car.  When my eldest came in to snatch the last basket of clothes to put in the cart, so she could do the final trip to the car, I asked her to instead collect the wet clothes that were hanging on the various carts to dry, and take them out to the car.  As I was folding the last of the clean dry clothes, she ran back in to ask me what to do again with the clothes. 

Sometimes I think she hears what I say, but doesn’t always process the words in her head, so I frequently ask her, like I did today, to think back to what I had asked, and then do what I asked, instead of me repeating the request.  She seemed to remember the task about the wet clothes, but still didn’t remember where to put them.

“Just anywhere is fine, honey,” I responded.  “It doesn’t matter.”

Stacy Snyder - Parent Unplugged - They Listen All Right! - Kids Hear Everything - laundry drying on car
When I came out to meet the girls in the parking lot, 5 items of hang-dry-only clothing were draping the outside of the car, drying casually in the sun.  I started to ask what in the Sam Hill is going on but then caught myself as I remembered my own words. 

My daughter was so proud of herself for coming up with the idea of finding a place for the wet clothes where they would also get dry, that I swallowed my laughter, and praised her for the creativity in her solution. 

Stacy Snyder - Parent Unplugged - They Listen All Right! - Kids Hear Everything - laundry drying on car mirror

Never mind that the clean wet clothes were draped over the filthy, dirty car that had just transported us over 2000 miles in the past ten days.  Forget the idea that as recently as last night, the girls were squealing with fear over the hundreds of bugs that were covering the roof and hood of the car after parking in a knat-infested lakefront motel parking lot.  The point is that my girls DO in fact listen to me.  They also do what I freakin’ ask!