I’ve always been of the theory that if you listen to children about the little things then they will talk to you about the big things. And there are so, so many little things they will talk to you about. Nonetheless, I listen. I listen about dinosaurs. I listen about what the dog did. I listen about TV shows, and other children and whatever it is that that child wants to tell me about in any given moment. And if I’m not listening 100% he knows it, calls me out and I then focus, because he is important and I want him to know he’s important.
Now let me tell you what this kid told me.
As I was working on this very blog my sweet, sweet child was sitting snuggled up to me on the couch so close that I could barely type. And he was going on and on about his little boy things. And I was actively (or half actively) listening and repeating his little concerns back so that he knows that he is heard. But finally I decided I needed to finish this (so my brain didn’t explode) and I said, “Honey, can you be quiet for just a minute and let mommy concentrate on typing so I can finish up.” Without skipping a beat, without missing a breath even, this is what my child says in a low but confident, and surprisingly articulate voice,
“When I grow up, I’m going to allow my children to talk to me, Mother.”
WTH! Are you serious??? First off, when has this child ever called me “mother”. He said it like he had been watching Psycho on loop. Uh…nice try Norman.
Second, where did he learn to guilt trip people like that? At five! Now in the past he’s said that when he grows up he’s not going to send his kids to day care and it did make me feel a little guilty, but I didn’t think that was the intention. But this was intended to stab the knife in and twist it.
And it might have worked, except I listen to that kid talk non stop. I may be guilty of a lot of things, but not listening is not one of my sins.
My response? I just smiled and thanked him for his attempt to manipulate his “mother”, but I know that I listen to him, and when he gets grown he’s now bound to listen to every, single word they say and “mother” will be watching to make sure that he does.