All moms should be divas...this one just happens to be in Jersey!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What We Say vs. What They Hear

I've always thought my kids really needed a hearing test. It seems at times they don't catch a thing the hubs and I say. But I've noticed the issue is not really hearing, it's processing. For two young kids, Son1 and Son2 seem highly advanced at "inferences." Drawing inferences is that much sought after decoding skill in 2rd grade reading class used to gauge if a child gets what's going to happen next. My kids must have gotten our money's worth out of Sylvan, because they've haven't stopped at the written word. They've expanded into oral instruction, drawing (self-serving) inferences for every thing we say.

They appear to have some processing fixation which causes clever attachments with additional meaning to our words. They end up completing a task, but always with some horrid loophole based upon them tacking their own desired meaning on to our instructions. Here are just a few. I'm sure your kids have their own and I would love for your to share (mainly so I can learn from your fiascos and see where I need to specify more).

We say: Take a shower
They hear: you can run the water for 30 minutes with your smelly AXE while the liner is outside the tub letting water escape creating a lagoon on the bathroom floor which comes down through the kitchen lights below.

We say: If you ask me one more time to take you to Target today I will implode.
They hear: ... so you'd better flip to whining for Walmart so I implode.

We say: You need to put your clean laundry away.
They hear: ... in the hamper, without even bothering to unfold it, mixed in with really muddy clothes so I have to rewash them --simply to say you're done.

We say: Check and make sure you have your bathing suit for swimming.
They hear: ... just as you're walking into the Y after the twenty minute rush hour ride.

We say: Don't toss that football near the fish tank.
They hear: ...when in it, displacing five gallons and five clownfish, is so much more exciting.

We say: Don't wear your soccer cleats on the wood floor in the kitchen.
They hear: ...only. Walk through the entire house. Four times. Unless the field didn't drain from the rainstorm and they're coated with mud. Then make it five times.

And, the most apparent example of language processing issues if you have sons:
We say: Don't punch your brother in the stomach first thing in the morning!
They hear: ...wait until he's just eaten dinner.

Are my kids the only ones using hyper-inference abilities to creak their own loopholes? And will I ever be prepared for the exteneded interpretations of mine own instructions? I fear not, I truly fear not.


  1. Oh my goodness. Is this what I have coming with two boys? Holy cow.

  2. Are you sure you are not living in my house?

  3. I'm guessing your boys are older than my boys. Yet, I can completely relate to everything you've written here. Completely!