Sunday, May 15, 2011

They Listen

Ever have those moments (or days) when you swear your child doesn't hear a word you say? When it seems like your little ones are intentionally ignoring you? When you feel like you have to repeat yourself ten times before your darling acknowledges you've spoken, and then half the time you get a response of "I don't want to"?

Hello? Hello?

I told her at least three times to stop jumping on this ball before she stepped down.

Such is life with a toddler, I suppose. And of course, I know Miss hears me. She knows the things I've taught her. She can say her ABCs and sings all sort of songs I've sung to her. She can sort of count to 20 (the 14, 15, 16, 17 gets a little muddled) and she knows the sounds that all of her letters make. She can recite all or most of many of the books we have read over and over (one of my favorites is when she "reads" Brown Bear, Brown Bear and instead of saying "Teacher, Teacher, what do you see?" she says "T-shirt, T-shirt..." Perhaps I need to enunciate a little more). She typically uses her manners nicely. I hear her using phrases we have said to her many times, like "Keep trying" and "That's not a toy," or even "No Ma'am!" (said firmly to her sister). She recently started saying "Damn it!" after I said that in front of her once. Of course, much to my chagrin, she spent several moments in front of my in-laws last week saying over and over, "Damn-it-Damn-it-Damn-it!" while walking around their room frowning and pointing her finger emphatically. Lovely.

The point is. The kid hears what I say, even when she is studiously ignoring it. Both of my girls hear what I say all day long.

Yesterday Miss showed me something different about her capacity to hear me. She showed me that she really listens and internalizes the positive things that I say to her. Of course I've always known that she does, and this isn't really a grand epiphany. Obviously a toddler/preschooler internalizes what she hears and sees from her parents all the time. But yesterday I had a moment when I saw just how important it is to tell my girls I love them a hundred times a day. To tell them how beautiful and smart and good and kind and strong they are. I tell them these things constantly, and now I have been reinforced. Yesterday Miss repeatedly stated, "My Mommy wubs me" and did this adorable patting of her chest with both hands. She did the same with "My Daddy wubs me." I know, I've already posted here about the little love fest we've been having around here lately, but this is different. As amazing and swoon-worthy as it is to hear my two-year-old repeatedly saying "I wub you Momma" and many other variations on that statement, it was even more rewarding to hear her saying in such a heartfelt way in her tiny little voice, "My Mommy, she wubs me." And just as good, when we were singing a song about her eyes she said, "My eyes are pwetty." Yes. Cha-ching!

Hearing this from my older girl just thrills me and I hope to hear lots more of it from her and similar things from her sister. I know there will be days when the "I love you Moms" won't be so forthcoming, but as long as my girls know how much their Old Mom "wubs" them, we'll be okay. They might curse me someday for any number of imagined tortures. But deep down they'll know, if I say something like "You-are-not-going-out-of-the-house-wearing-that-studded-leather-biker-jacket-I-don't-care-if-you-bought-it-with-your-own-money," I'm saying it out of love and a desire to not have my darling daughter look like a Hell’s Angels groupie (and in case you're curious, yes, my Mom said something almost exactly like that to me 20-ish years ago). Hopefully somehow they'll remember that things like curfews, and sleepovers not permitted because the other kid's parents are sketchy, and "don't forget to floss" nagging are all coming from the place within a Momma where every hope and dream for nothing but the very best for her children resides.

And if my girls remember that their Momma and Daddy told them every day that they are beautiful and smart and funny and good and kind and strong, maybe it won't sting so much if other kids sometimes tease or tell them otherwise. Maybe (please oh please) they won't really care if the boy they kind of like doesn't return the sentiment. Hopefully, when they make mistakes or experience failures, they will not be defined by them. Hopefully they will be confident and kind and strong. Maybe it all starts with "My eyes are pwetty." Yes. They listen.


  1. Found you through the monday mom blog hop. This is a wonderful post. My one year old has been driving me bonkers with trying to climb everything and not listening (well as much as a one year old can listen). Your post has made me excited for that day she says I love you.

    I'm following now and can't wait to read more posts!

  2. I'm your newest follower on today's hop - Would love a follow back. Happy Monday!
    I've Become My Mother
    I've Become My Mother facebook

  3. Hey there - GREAT blog!! Stopping by from the

    Monday blog hop - I'm your newest follower via

    GFC :) Would *so* appreciate a follow back!

    Educating kids and teens in entreprneurship.

  4. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this!!!! So sweet and true! Made me smile!