Friday, July 26, 2013

One of my friends mentioned that her son liked to read books with lots of facts then recite them to his parents. She said they find it exhausting. At first I was confused then it slowly dawned on me: Some parents listen when their kids go on and on and on. And on. What if my ignoring the incessant chatter negatively affects their self-esteem?

Since I don't want kids with low-self esteem, of course, I thought I better pull up my socks. One morning I tried really hard to actually listen. I also felt really guilty about not being a good listener up to this point (only the last 12 years or so) so I thought I would take them to the lake for the day to make it up to them. Fair trade, I thought. I also thought I should try harder to listen while I drive.  This is what it sounds like:

Mom, do you have any jobs for me to do for money?  I need more bills in my wallet.  I don't want to mow the lawn or wash the car.
What do you think spiders do for entertainment?
It's hot out, I am hot.
How long until we get to the lake?  Can I have pop there? Are there fish in the lake?  Remember the last time we went and I got a leech on me?  Gross.
People with big eyes freak me out.  Sharks used to freak me out but then I learned how to roll in the kayak.  I did it a bunch of times and now sharks don't scare me. Monkeys still freak me out, though. 
Oooh, I dropped it.  That will probably melt down there.
Did you see that ad for neosporin?
NO.  Mio Sport.
No, I haven't.

I felt like screaming but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop. And then we almost got hit by a semi.  Seriously.  Gigantic truck tried to change lanes into my lane.  My little car came up to his hub cab. It kept getting closer and closer, squeezing me towards the sidewalk. I finally got past him before he completely crushed us.  The almost accident seemed to last for about 10 minutes. It was probably only about 10 seconds but maybe longer because I actually had to take a breath mid-scream.  That's right - I don't honk at the semi, I scream, take a deep breath and scream some more. Brilliant. But I was able to stop screaming once I got my car past the semi.  So that's good news.

The lesson today is this: Listening to every word that comes out of your kids' mouths is dangerous. (Well, my kids' mouths, I don't know about your kids.  Maybe your kids spout beautiful poetry 24-7) From now on I will just take them to the lake or buy them expensive things to build their self-esteem. Or just buy them a can of pop. 

The lake is much better than getting hit by a semi.

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