13
Apr
11

Hello? [or The Incredible Invisible Mommy!]

Breakfast this morning sounded like this:

the mom: [happy cheerful voice] Hey, what do you guys want for breakfast?

the boys: [silence]

the mom: [still soooo happy] Hey, could you put the lego guys down for a second and tell me what you want for breakfast?

the boys: [continue to dress and undress several clone troopers in homemade denim capes-that’s another blog entry completely]

the mom: [trying sooo hard to be happy] I need you to tell me in five minutes what you want for breakfast and then I’m going to sit down and eat my own breakfast.

the boys: [silence, naked clone trooper, clothed clone trooper, naked clone trooper, clothed clone trooper and so on.]

8 minutes later, she returns with her own breakfast in hand, a delicious greek yogurt smoothie.

the mom: [temporarily distracted from irritation by previously mentioned smoothie] what do you want to eat for breakfast?

middle: [looks up with a confused grimace] it’s breakfast?

Mother, are you speaking to me again? all I hear is this faint buzzing sound.

Ah yes, the joys of being constantly ignored. It’s been suggested to me that I just ask once and then go about my business. There’s actually a whole parenting approach based on that tenet. One that I have yet to master because of the aftereffects of going about my business. As soon as I sit down to eat, middle will say to me, “can I have a burnt butter bagel?’ (yes, really) I have two choices: one is I get him his damn butter bagel just the right amount of burnt, which actually means just crunchy with no visible char or number two.

Number two is to say in my sweetest mommy voice, “Oh, I’m eating right now, I’ll get you your breakfast when I’m done.” Now, one of two things will happen. The first being acceptance. The problem with acceptance is I may have missed my window. Middle and Little decline nourishment as often as they possibly can unless it comes coated in cheese powder or sugar powder. Since these types of items are not on the menu all that often, they don’t eat much. But, you say if you’re a freakishly good parent whose inner calm prevents her from ever raising her voice, “they’ll eat when they’re hungry.” Here’s my question for you freakishly good parent, “What if they never get hungry? Huh? then what? Ommmm over that one!”

The second possibility is all hell breaks loose. Suddenly breakfast has become the most important thing they will accomplish all day. I am holding them back from their true potential as breakfast eaters. I’m no fun and just a plain bad mommy. There is crying and screaming and an occassional insult is batted around [boo boo butt is all the rage. Like they say on Sesame Street, now I’m in a predicament.

So I began to wonder, why am I being ignored? Is there some reason that they can so easily tune me out when I can’t tune anything out anymore. Are they not listening? Are they not hearing? Are they trying to teach me a lesson [like say ‘ha put us to bed at 7, we’ll show you lady.]? So that leads me to today’s question: HELLLLLOOOOOOO? First we consult Louann Brizendine and her book The Male Brain.

Here’s what I learned from her: my children are prodigies at not listening. Really, according to the good doctor adolescence is when big differences show up in brain activity and hearing. By adolescence boys are able to tune out white noise with much less effort than girls (this has to do with testosterone and estrogen, read the book if you want more. Brizendine, pp. 41-42) In studies on brain activity in girls and boys using both music and white noise, the boys were able to actually turn their brains off when they heard white noise. So to take this a step further, I am white noise. I’ve achieved my lifelong goal to be non-important and completely ignorable!

I'm being trained in the art of not listening by my big brothers! The workouts are tough, but the rewards are so sweet.

Dr. Leonard Sax in his book, Why Gender Matters talks more about the actual differences in hearing between boys and girls. Once again if you want all the details, pick up the book. (Sax, pp. 15-18) To summarize his findings; baby girls hear better at more frequencies at birth than baby boys. There’s some elaborate experiments done with music and premature babies and stuff, but really read the book. If boys don’t hear as well to begin with and then they get the testosterone surge at puberty and start ignoring ‘white noise’ i.e. their mother, do I stand a chance later on? Am I destined to be ignored unless I’m bearing cheetos or powdered sugar donuts forever?

Just to be sure I checked one more source, The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian. Right there on pages 16-17, he concurs with Sax and Brizendine.  He suggests speaking louder. The thing is, the happiness of the happy mommy voice is related negatively to the increasing volume of said voice. The louder I get, for some reason, the less happy I get. Maybe I just need to invest in a megaphone.

The Mister practices his "I'm listening intently to you, while actually thinking about trout" face.

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now what’s that now?

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