I talk to this a LOT. Feels like one of the family. Looking at this photo, I am tempted to pop it in one of those “Family” frames, alongside one of me and my children.
*terribly dramatic sigh*
It isn’t that bad. Not now, at any rate. It was pretty dire, until I came up with a METHOD.
When I talk about “my method” I get manic, mental crazy eyes, sort of like someone who has been shipwrecked on a tropical island for a decade, and is desperate to share their mad, insane knowledge about making clogs from coconuts. I feel my method deserves acknowledgement and could be of benefit to others.
But more of that later. Let’s not start off talking about the positives. What’s the point in that?! People want a sob story. So, lets get the violins out and talk about POOR. ME and how no one listened to POOR. ME.
From 1994-2004 I was part of a cult. True story. I soaked it up. And today, even though they forcibly removed me from that cult (by taking it off the thing in the lounge that I point all my furniture at), should I need advice, guidance or spiritual support, I will find it in a quote from “Friends”.
“YOU HAVE GOT TO LISTEN!” I say to my children, grabbing at my own ear and waggling it about frantically.
Born with hearing more common in bats than children (the mere shuffle of my duvet as I got in to bed alerted a sleeping infant they should wake and stay awake all night long) , the kids recently went deaf. If I ask them to stop eating insects, they just eat more. If I ask them to not point at strange old ladies with beards they point at strange old ladies with beards and shout:
“WHY IS THAT OLD MAN WEARING A SKIRT?!”
My dad even went so far as to ask me if I thought Alex had hearing problems;
“He just doesn’t seem to hear you, Han. Look! You asked him not to kill insects, and there he is!” *concerned face, staring at mangled Daddy Long Legs*
I clutched at this final straw of hope of a hearing impairment and went out of the lounge…through the hallway…in to the kitchen, shut the door and whispered…
Alex ran in like Usain Bolt and had a face bursting with glee like it was Christmas morning.
So, it took me weeks to realise that it isn’t that they are actually suffering hearing loss, nor are they even being naughty, but that rather it is just that the sound of my voice asking them to do something boring, or rubbish, or safe has made them automatically switch off and tune me out.
THEY GODDAMN TUNE ME OUT!
My maternal voice of reason is no more than a supermarket tannoy announcing the latest instore offers. This realisation made me feel incredibly powerless. I mean, what control do I have over someone who has the power to TUNE ME OUT?!
A quick google search revealed scientists have called it “Auditory Selective Attention”. So “it” exists! And it has an official name! I am so down with this. I am so going to BEAT THIS.
And so to my method – it isn’t unique, it isn’t new, it isn’t of the same standard as making a pair of clogs out of coconuts but it does seem to be working. It is the epitome of common sense, really, something I have evidently been lacking. What I do is I change my face from this
and make my mouth in a shape like a teeny tiny puckered up little cats bum and get right down, face to face with them and say in this freakishly calm voice
“What did mummy just say? Tell mummy what mummy said to you ”
“You said not to grab hold of Alex’s jumpe—OHLOOKMUMMYAWEIRDLORRYJUSTWENTBYTHEWINDOW!”
“Nooooooooo” *gritted teeth* “No, no. What did mummy just say to you?” repeating this sentence as many times as need to (I have made it to 7 repitions thus far) until…
“Er…” *concentrating face*…”don’t pull Alex about by his hair…?”.
And he looks relieved. He looks happy. We have communicated.