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.
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!
Cathy G says:
And this is why parents take to ‘spelling’ out their conversations, which will only work for a few more years. Then you will have to resort to texting each other on password protected phones!
Ha ha. Hubby and I have already started texting!
Becca Masters says:
A friend of mine said she realised when she needed to be careful of what she was saying when one day her two year old came up to her and said “mummy I need a shit!”
I laughe a lot at that!
We are in the spelling stage at our house. We thought it was working well until our 4 year old yelled to our 2 year old, “Guess where Mommy and Daddy are taking us??!! The Z-O-O!!!!”
Adorable and funny, yes. But this happened at 7:00 at night, so then there were tears because we had been talking about the Z-O-O trip the next day. Poor kids.
Also, just wait until your little eavesdropper rats you out. As in, “Aunt Sally, what’s ‘annoying’? Daddy said you were annoying sometimes!” Gah.
My God daughter ratted out her whole family about the word shit.
“Daddy said it outside. Grandma said it in the car and Mommy says it all the time.”
Yeah what’s more frustrating is when they pretend to not hear you when you say things in a normal tone, but then you whisper something and they perk right up.
Parent in normal voice: “It’s time to go to bed now.”
Response: silence… crickets chirping… child acting like they didn’t hear
Parent whispering: “Time for ice cream.”
Response: “I want ice cream!!!!!!!”
We’re having this same problem, expect that our 6 year old can spell now. So now, we spell SUPER fast in the hopes she won’t catch it and then sometimes the spouse doesn’t catch it! We were married for 6 years before we had kids, so it’s been really hard to wait to have conversations later. I know they are accidentally hearing things they shouldn’t. Our 6 year old is especially curious about everything and she begs us to tell her what we were talking about. We’ve started telling her, “It’s none of your business!”
See, now you have to start spelling everything… but, then she’ll learn to spell! LOL I can’t even text to my Mom about Christmas, with my 7 year old looking, because she can read now. Yikes!
Planes was an entertaining film. My 4 year old saw through it right away and asked “is that Lightening?” of the Dusty character and “is that Doc?” of the mentoring character.
It’s probably not worth full matinee, but maybe a cheaper theatre in a few weeks.
My cousins in question are 32 and 36 now but my aunt and mom still can chuckle remembering the evening my mom was on the phone with my aunt who mentioned that the older of the two had a Brownies meeting that evening.
Yep- enter the younger of the two inconsolably shrieking through tears, “But I want a brownie!!!!”
Several years ago when my youngest was about 2 years old we were at a school assembly for my older children. The principal announced a child who was receiving an award. The child’s last name was McDonald. As the boy was making his way to the stage, our two year old yelled in his loudest voice (echoing through the auditorium!) “McDonalds!!! I LOOOVE MCDONALD’S!!!”
It was a classic moment and still remembered in our community
This is when speaking another language which the child hasn’t learnt yet becomes useful
FYI: Kids listen even harder when you whisper. They can’t hear you tell them rules but they can hear everything else. It’s time to start texting.
Time to start spelling words, then when that doesn’t work spell words backwards. With my daughter we almost got to spelling words inside out. Then it got to the point where she could be told to mind her own business and let us talk. So now at 8 she might listen but doesn’t comment, but its usually just my son (17) and I talking.
Well, I guess you could learn to speak Pig Latin. We try that sometimes just for fun and she hasn’t picked up on it yet.
Other than spelling words out which will only last for so long and learning another language all you can really do is be more aware. I often find myself having late night conversations with my husband after my almost 5 year old has gone to bed or we will email sometimes throughout the day.
Even as cautious as you are, they still are way more intuitive than you think and she’ll continue to surprise you with what you thought she didn’t hear or see.
My little one just ratted me out to my sister the other day on a conversation I thought my hubby & I were having in private. She was watching cartoons in the living room