Selective hearing takes on a whole new level when it comes to communicating with children. Once they reach a certain age and you know they can hear you and understand you, it becomes blatantly obvious that they are choosing to ignore you. And the difference between what you say and what they hear is quite baffling, really.
Any of these phrases sound familiar?
We say: Can you please go and brush your teeth?
They hear: Can you jump on the bed, hide in the pantry, pull out every single book from the bookshelf, colour all over the walls and then saunter into the bathroom and rinse your mouth out with water?
We say: Can you please go and get dressed?
They hear: Please return to the living room wearing one thong, one gumboot, three pairs of underwear and a bathing suit top.
We say: It’s time to go to bed
They hear: Can you demand a snack and a drink of water before telling me for the first time today that you have a show and tell presentation due in the morning?
We say: Can you get in the car?
They hear: Can you go back in the house and have the world’s longest poo?
We say: Leave the dog alone
They hear: Pull the dog’s tail again. She really loves it.
We say: Can you please clean your room?
They hear: Can you please go into your room, put on 17 different dresses, take off your doona, make a blanket tent and cut the hair off of every one of your dolls?
We say: Ask your father when he gets home
They hear: Keep asking me on repeat until your father gets home.
We say: Hurry up, we’re late
They hear: I think now’s a good time for you to look for that random piece of Lego you got for Christmas three years ago that may or may not have been chucked in the bin last year.
We say: Eat your dinner
They hear: You can avoid eating this dinner and I will make you three others to try over the next 15 minutes if you keep saying you hate it.
We say: Stop annoying your sister
They hear: It’s game on until someone loses a tooth.
We say: Get in your room for a timeout
They hear: I dare you to slam every single door in the house.
We say: Give Mummy a kiss
They hear: Wrap your whole body around Mummy and then lick her face.
We say: No dessert
They hear: Dessert is only 35 more requests away.
We say: Good night
They hear: I’ll see you in a few short hours when you crawl into my bed in the middle of the night and steal my pillow.
It’s a good thing we love them! No translation required.