You know those mobster movies where everyone is worried about wires or bugs, so they whisper all their conversations while running the vacuum or standing in the shower? That’s kind of how our life is now because we have something much worse than a bug listening in…we have Annie!

Heather and I used to be able to talk about whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, but those days are over. Somewhere along the line our conversations went from sounding like the teacher in Peanuts to something very interesting to Annie.

It started innocently enough. Heather and I were chatting in the car one day when Heather said, “Did you know they got a dog, Mike? A chocolate lab.”

“Chocolate?” Annie said as if woken with smelling salts. “Chocolate?”

This made us laugh, but we assumed she just perked up when she heard something she liked and wasn’t listening to our whole conversation. Now, though, she’s definitely listening to a lot more than just the words she likes.

For example, earlier this week Annie was playing with her toys when I told Heather that I was thinking about taking Annie to see Planes, but wasn’t sure now that I’d heard it got some bad reviews. Annie never once looked over at Heather and me during this conversation, but that night, as I put her to bed, she said, “Why don’t you want to take me to see Planes?”

Jeez. I guess I should have turned up a Rolling Stones record full blast before discussing that with Heather.

listening to instructions
Surveillance Annie

There’s no being sneaky around her either. When Heather and I whisper to each other Annie runs up to us and says, “What did Mama say to you?”

This whole listening in thing surprises me because when I was a kid I found my parents’ adult conversations very boring and tended to tune them out. It’s really made me hyper aware of what I say in front of her. Now I ask myself:

Am I being negative?

Am I being too critical of myself?

Am I saying words she shouldn’t hear?

Am I discussing a news event that might scare her?

I’ve definitely started to think before I speak, which some might say is a first for me. The good news is that James isn’t listening in yet, so I can still say whatever I want around him!