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Author: toni

~ 05/12/09

I feel guilty cuz…sometimes I only PRETEND to listen to my kid.

I know, I know. Shocking, but true. Now, this isn’t all the time. I’m not completely heartless and disinterested in my child. Usually it’s a several hours into a long day. And in my defense, she seems to be going through this phase where…SHE NEVER STOPS TALKING!  

It’s starts with,“Hey, mom!” and goes from there. “Hey, Mom! Look at me!” “Hey mom, did you know that I can make bubbles with my arm pit?” “Hey mom…want to hear the names of all the kids in my class in reverse alphabetical order? ” I’m not exaggerating when I say I must hear this phrase FIFTY TIMES A DAY.

And NOTHING DETERS HER. For example, we’ll be in the car. “Hey, mom,” she’ll say, and launch into some detailed story about how she ate her lunch in a pattern, alternating bites between chicken nuggets, peas and crescent rolls. I’ll pull in my neighbor’s driveway, get out, close the door, go up to my neighbor’s door to pick up her son Jake for school, come back to the car, open the door and…SHE’S STILL TALKING! …about how the peas won!

It continues all the way to school.  Even after the 5th grade Valet Kid in the drop-off line closes the door behind her…I know her mouth is STILL MOVING as she heads toward the gate because I see Jake’s eyes GLAZE OVER in my rearview mirror.

Then the doorbell RINGS at 2:18 pm and I open it to find her there, home from school …and, oh dear Lord, she is STILL TALKING. She brushes past me, a story pouring forth from her mouth at 100 miles per hour!

What Missy did with her gum or what she’s named all 22 of the pollywogs in their class science project and WHY, the new idea she has for an epic rock opera she plans to perform for the class tomorrow after lunch…and it’s all of the utmost importance. Which is another reason I feel guilty for PRETENDING to listen.

But what else can I do? I tried pointing the clicker at her and hitting the MUTE BUTTON. That only works in Adam Sandler movies. I CAN’T tell her to be quiet because…well, it might be the thing that sets the wheels in motion for her choice to become a stripper instead of going to med school. So I simply TUNE OUT.

Doesn’t she notice that I’m tuning out, you ask? Nope. Because I have MOMMY HEARING. That same ability that allows us mommies to hear the tiniest sniffle all the way across the house in the middle of the night, RIPPING US from a DEAD SLEEP – also allows me to pick out the slightest variations in intonations and inflections, even if I’m not hearing the words attached to them.

For example, in the midst of one of her verbal barrages, she’ll throw in a “right, mom?” My brain, which has been programmed to catch the upward lilting tone of a sentence ending in a question, immediately reads this, and I quickly respond, “Uh huh.”… That’s mostly all it takes. Well, and the occasional “Really?” or “No way!” whenever I sense a break in sentences.

I know, it’s cheating. And I DO listen to the important stuff, mostly…usually… sometimes anyway. But if I listened to absolutely everything, I wouldn’t be able to prepare a meal or do a load of laundry….or write a post for my website. Measuring out tequila shots, separating whites and darks, and being annoyingly sarcastic are all things that take concentration.


Am I a bad mommy for doing this? I don’t think so. Am I hurting her by doing this? Probably not. Do I feel guilty about it? Absolutely! Therapy-inducing, go-to-confession-to-save-my-soul-from-eternal-damnation kind of guilt. Am I gonna stop? Hell no! And you wanna know why? Cuz I know sometime in the near future, oh at around half past puberty, SHE’S gonna stop listening to ME.  And, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there’s no mommy rule against taking your payback early.

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