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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Listening

Sometime I wonder if she hears me. Or do the words just leave my mouth and disappear into thin air.

*

It escaped my lips twice that day. The doorbell rang while the boy was napping. It looked like the girl had smeared peanut butter on the couch. I swore. The word snuck out before I remembered, but then I shrugged it off, convinced that she hadn't heard. That she didn't understand.

Sitting at the kitchen table together I stirred the play dough while she dropped in the food colouring. Drop, drop, drop. That's enough I said. No she said. As we argued drops of blue food colouring hit the chair and the floor. I grumbled while I cleaned it up.

Shit she said.

What did you say? I said, surprised but also amused to hear that word spoken in such a little voice. And in the appropriate context.

Shit she said again.

What does that mean? I asked as I wipe the floor clean. Bending down she couldn't see me trying not to laugh.

I told her something like that's not a word we should use, hypocrite that I am. The we went back to our play dough.

I was reminded that she does listen to me. Even when I don't want her to.

*

The words may float in one ear and out the other, but she still remembers them. She is listening. She is watching me.

*

The boy sat down next to me on the edge of the wading pool. He took off his blue Crocs and then wandered away after a ball. Put your shoes on I called after him. That is one of my park rules. At the park we wear our shoes or we go home.

I'll get him the girl said to me. She picked up the shoes and walked over to where he was squatting next to some leaves.

You have to put your shoes on she said to her brother. He ignored her.

The girl repeated herself and then looked at me. Was she looking for guidance? Or to see if I was watching her?

If you don't put your shoe on we are going to have to go home. Do you want to go home? she asked. The boy looked at her long enough to shake his head.
Okay then said the girl. I am going to count to three and then you have to put your shoes on. One, two, three she counted slowly.
When she was done the boy stretched out his feet towards his sister. She picked up the shoes and tried to out them on.
Mom! she yelled at me, I need help!
I had watched in awe. Surprised and amused to hear her say the words I usually say. I was proud to see how she talked to her brother.
I was pleased to know that she does listen to me. Even when I think she isn't.
*
She is listening to me. He is too. They are watching to see what I say. But more than that, they are watching to see what I do.

12 comments:

  1. Yes they are listening and learning. I always tell my kids swears are words only adults can use then if I slip up they still can't repeat what I said. LOL!

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  2. I love how you capture these moments.
    My coworker (a grammy) says she gives her granddaughter a quarter for every time she slips. Sometimes she doesn't even realized she's said a bad word, it comes out that naturally. But her granddaughter is there with her hand held out, saying, you owe me a quarter.

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  3. i am giggling...thinking my daughter would have gone..."shit...get your shoes on or we are going home";)

    i am just teasing!

    they do see and hear everything we do and say, and it is so neat to catch them using the good stuff we impart and a strong reminder to be aware of our influence at all times...

    then again, a little slippage now and then is a good lesson too:)

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  4. You are the best teacher they could ever have. It's cute that the girl is mothering her brother. She's like a little mom. :)

    Joel said crap a few times, and I ignored it hoping if I didn't react he wouldn't say it again.

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  5. Sweet and nicely put. Sounds like a wonderful little mini-me - both a blessing and a challenge at times. Enjoy every moment.

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  6. "What does that mean?", well played!

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  7. considering how much i swear i don't know how the jb hasn't repeated anything. maybe i am doing a better job then i think? but he did tell the hubby the other day "you suck." that needed a sit down and talking. while trying not to laugh and feel slight guilty pride for having used it in the right context!

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  8. They really ARE watching and listening. No one who's heard their 2-year-old swear loudly in public can doubt otherwise.

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  9. Wonderful post. I've been trying to stop swearing (I tend to do it quite a bit) because I know before too long she will be old enough to start repeating it. I suspect I won't be completely successful with this - but I like to aim high.

    And I had such a great vision of mini-mom from your post - too cute.

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  10. That's so lovely. I hear myself in my children too...number five is like a mother hen with the toddler- she's much stricter than me though. ;0)

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  11. They are little sponges, aren't they? They absorb every last thing they hear and see. On my few slips, my son asked me what the words meant. Luckily, it was the s-word and not the f-word... I explained and told him not to repeat it, of course. Hopefully taking the drama out of it will help *sigh*.

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