January 15, 2009

I Learned It By Watching You

When my kids ask me questions, I've gotten into the bad habit of taking a breath before answering them.

"Mom? Can I have a drink?"

I have learned the hard way that if I let more than a millisecond pass between the end of my child's question and the beginning of my response, then I get asked the same question again, in a slightly higher pitch.

"Mom! Can I have a drink?!"

If I answer quickly and in the affirmative, the question will be rephrased in the form of a statement and then let go: "Mom, I'm going to get something to drink now."

If, however, I neglect to make eye contact with the petitioner, or if I give him/her any reason to believe that I may not stop what I am doing and sprint to the refrigerator that very instant, then I can pretty much guarantee that I'll get to hear what my name sounds like in several languages:

"Mom?"
"Mommy?"
"Mama?"
"Mamá?"


I didn't know why my children feel the need to repeat themselves ad nauseam until yesterday, when, to my total horror, I caught myself speaking in multiples:

"Get into the car."
"Get into the car!"
"GET INTO THE CAR!"

It's a hard pill to swallow, but I have learned that there is some truth to the 1980s public service announcement: parents who repeat things have kids who repeat things.

29 comments

Lani said...

I totally remember this ad. I don't even have to watch to know which one it is. It's one of those wierd things tht has stuck in my head for 20 years for no particular reason!

Bellamarin said...

this is my daughter I cannot take it when she constantly repeats herself but I do thee same thing only because I have to :)

Laura said...

This morning I found myself taking a deep breath after telling the 4 year old she couldn't watch TV before school. My whole body must have been tense as I awaited the whining repetition of the question.

But no, nothing.

I now feel suspicious, as if she's up to something. Lulling me into a false sense of security before ambushing me after school.

Anita said...

I hate to tell you this, but some of that repeating, keeps going until HS....sadly.
I so remember that PSA, oh gosh I'm old!

Aunt MeMe/Mindy said...

That is too funny! I, too, am a "repeat" parent! You have brought this all into perspective! I can now admit that, I, am responsible for the multiple "mom, mom, mom" statements & the "can I, Can I, Can I" requests! "Go clean up your mess, go clean up your mess, go clean up your mess" & "Go do your homework, now! Go do your homework, now! Go do your homework NOW" will all have to be reevaluted so that I no longer get "But, mom wait, But, mom wait But, mom wait " or my 4 yrs olds favorite "But I have to tell you something, But I have to tell you something, But I have to tell you something". Now the question I have, WHY DO WE DO THIS and is there any hope for us??????

Holly said...

I didn't have to watch this ad, either, to know which it is. We still throw the line around in a mocking way. But it turns out we became parents and will always and forever be the mock-ed.

Repeating yourself: Duh, you're a mom! The fun part is when one of your kids has ADHD and then another one starts growling back at you. But am I allowed to growl at her requests?

Wev said...

I think all us parents repeat ourselves, sometimes its the only way to get the childs attention for a long enough period for them to do as requested. Sometimes its a necessity, especially as they can easily become distracted (or is that just my daughter?)

There's an ad like the one you posted on British TV at the moment about smoking, although its not quite so nice about it...

Lisa said...

Oh my gosh, I can't believe that ad's so old. I remember watching it and trying to imagine my mom firing up a doobie.

Annette Lyon said...

Ah, the repetition. Love it.

I remember the days when my babies were little and I yearned for them to say, "Mama." Now there are days where, if someone calls for me ONE MORE TIME I'll climb the walls.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I think in the battle of annoying repetition vs. pot in the closet, you're still coming out on top. I'm famous for responding to them with the answer as many times as they asked the question just to annoy them, because I'm mature like that.

InkMom said...

You forgot the perennial classic, at least at my house:

Mah (breath) MEEEEEEEEEE!

The Eadle Family said...

My girls don't talk yet, but I presume this is what I have to look forward to. The ad was interesting, you never see anything like that now.

Liz said...

Wait... you mean that you too have children that expect you to stop, drop and run at their requests for just about anything.. especially a drink. You'd think they just traveled weeks in the desert, but at my house they've usually just gulped down a whole glass and still demand more as if you never got them the first one!

My favorite though... is when my 4 yr old starts in, He'll say, "MOM".. so I reply "Nathan".. and again, "MOM"... I say "Nathan".. and this will go on and on and on (he's usually cracking up so bad by the 5th time he can barely talk).. but he refuses to say what he needs to say until I say "what" or "yes".
TOO FUNNY!

Jessica said...

It is so nice to hear that I'm not the only one that hears the same thing over and over again ALL day long! I also repeat myself b/c my child has selective hearing...like me apparently.=)

sticky said...

Well, this explains a lot. Does this mean they are going to repeat everything we do? Oh, crap...

Rosemary said...

Sweet Jesus you must have superpowers or something because I literally had to lock myself in the bathroom and chug down a can of vanilla coke because I almost lost it this morning. My kids followed me around for 15 minutes while I was on the phone with my boss and on my computer trying to make revisions to the website I was designing repeating my name in 10 different languages, pitches and volumes. I am also not faulting myself for repeating things over and over and over and over to them because they are the ones that don't listen to ME. Seriously, reading this has prevented me from going over the edge today. Thank you.

Triplets + 3 ~ In Real Life ~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Triplets + 3 ~ In Real Life ~ said...

I deleted my last comment because I couldn't get the damn video to work.. Do you remember to Drug commercial with the fried egg??? your post is so funny and yet had me flashing back to that commercial..this is drugs... this is your brain on drugs ( or kids ).. any questions, any questions,any questions

Sants said...

I totally remember the ad!

Aurelie said...

My son says, "Mom." over and over and over until I use the correct response. Unacceptable answers include "huh," "yes," "mmm," and simply making eye contact while nodding. I must say, "What?" or "Yes, Stuart." (unless he's pretending to be T-Bone, in which case it must be altered to "Yes, T-Bone") before the peppering of MOM! will end. I was hoping they would grow out of it by 3.5, but I'm starting to sense that this could continue much longer than that.

Momlissa said...

I laughed when I saw your blog title for today. I am hearing that a lot from my 3 yr old. I try to remember to model good behavior, but I'm not doing so well with that, actually. lol.

Janille said...

Always speak in a whisper. They hear whispering real well. Then, maybe they will model that behavior, and you will actually be able to hear youself think occasionally.

Kathryn said...

haha! that's great...you have GOT to watch this video!!!!! it's so funny and reminds me so much of what you just wrote! i love your blog!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNkp4QF3we8

HM said...

Hahaha!!! I'm currently reading a book on dog training and it discusses how when we don't get a response from our animals the first time we give a command, we will repeat it, getting louder each time. It's a human/primate trait that we all have. The author actually ended up training one of her dogs to lie down only to "Lie down. Lie DOWN. LIE DOWN."

Hmm, now I'm not sure if that makes you the dog or not.

(My verification word was dodopou. Which makes me think of "Dodo Poo", but with a French accent.)

Gwen said...

I'm sorry I wasn't listening, could you repeat that?

HollyB said...

I would like to know, how you can get your kids to do what you want them to do WITHOUT repeating.

soapymomponders said...

How about tapping you on the arm while they're repeating your name over and over again? [tap, tap, tap] "Mom, Mom, Mom!"

That used to drive me insane. Or, looking right at you, they say "Mom" over and over? "Isn't that right, Mom?" And, like someone else said, not replying with the correct answer, which includes their name.

Brings back some wonderful {choke} memories...

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Oh my gosh, my husband and I quote that old commercial ALL THE TIME!

When my son was 2 he used to ask for drinks by saying, "drink it, drink it, milk, drink it, drink it, water, drink it." We always wondered why until my husband caught me at dinner repeating my usual frantic plea of, "No, just drink it! Drink it, drink it, AAAAAAGUH!" as each night my son would dip his food into the water or dump it on his plate.

Vee said...

This gave me a good laugh. Thank you. You have helped me realize that I too am a repeating parent, and that my daughters are just following suit.