Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Anybody Listening?

Tonight I combed the greater Tri-Cities area for a different dress to wear to Corrina’s wedding but came up with nothing. Okay, okay, I gave up after three stores. I hate dress shopping. I hate dress trying on. I hate looking at myself in those mirrors. So I tried on a few things, threw in the proverbial towel, and headed to Sweet Treats. Valaney mentioned going there for bubble teas after Stake Conference with her husband and I figured I’d better check it out. The things I do for you.

Sweat Treats is over by Carmike and it’s open later than most places in the area; Mon-Thu, Sun 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 10am-11pm. They have several board games you can play if you feel like hanging out and the biggest banana split bowl I’ve ever seen. But I was there for something else. Chin was the gal who seemed to be running the place and she showed me the list of flavors. After clarifying that there wouldn't be actual tea in these and gagging a little when I got to ‘Avocado’, I chose Mango for me and Raspberry for Michael. She mixed them up, sealed them, and gave me two super-mega straws to deal with the incredibly large frog eye-tapioca they were populated with. Chin warned me that they weren’t everyone’s thing. That if we didn’t actually like them, she wanted me to come back another day and she’d make us something different, no charge. That was awfully nice! She also gave me three different samples of frozen yogurt she makes from scratch. The raspberry was AMAZING! Actually, so was the lemon. Hmmm.

Okay, I didn’t actually like the bubble tea. The gooey black tapioca balls freaked me out and made me gag a little. Michael liked his though, so you never know. The yogurt though, it’s really good!

So. Today. I’ve been feeling like I’m living in a Peanuts special. You know, where the teacher says, “Wa wa wa wa wa wa”. Jibberish. Unfortunately, I was that teacher. It was a day full of The Blank Stare.

It began bright an early. Kenny walked into the kitchen after watching “Curious George” and asked me question about twins. What’s the difference between identical and the other kind? Awesome! I love questions I can answer! I grabbed a piece of paper and pencil and started drawing. My diagram looked more like the Dodge Ram emblem than an actual body part but I kept going. I carefully explained each step from start to finish for a set of identical twins versus a set of fraternal twins then turned to look at Kenny. Any questions? He was pulling on a string from the Clementine bag and said:

Kenny: “Um. Look Mom. I made a parallelogram.”

Me: “Are you sure you don’t have any questions?”

Kenny: Blank stare. “Mom. Look.”

Me: “Um yeah, but do you understand?”.

Kenny: *sighs, pointing to the ovaries* “Well, is there a boy side and girl side?”

Sierra: *yells from the living room* “MOM!!! What are you telling him!”

Like it’s her personal secret. As if she’s the only one with that particular configuration. There was a whole lot of talking going on but not much communication.

I often feel like I talk, talk, talk, saying the same things over and over but the sinking in part isn’t coming together like one would hope. For example, I’m having a heck of a time getting a particular child to remember to flush the toilet and remove the ring from the seat before washing his hands and leaving the bathroom. I say it and I say it and I say it and I still walk in to find he’s sort of gone his own way with it. Today I marched him back in and asked what we do after we use the bathroom. His answer? Blank stare. Then: “Say sorry?” Although I imagine there are times when that might be appropriate, no, that’s not the answer I was looking for. Seems like all he’s heard me say was “Wa wa wa wa wa wa” over and over.

Later in the afternoon I went to the garage to find the next size shoes for Kenny. Turns out I didn’t have the next size but I did find some sandals that looked good. I handed him those and received, once again, the blank stare.

Me: “You can wear these”

Kenny: “For what?”

Me: “For school!”

Kenny: Blank stare

Me: “What? People wear them.”

Kenny: “I go to school. People Do Not wear them.”

It was my turn to give the blank stare.

Being understood has been on my mind since Friday night. Kenny had a friend stay over and Michael Jr. and Sierra were in charge while we made a Costco run. Sometime after dark the boys decided they needed something at the other boy’s house and instead of calling us or the other parents to take care of it, they decided to get on their scooters and head out on their own. Michael Jr. warned them not to but they did it anyway. When we got the call from Michael Jr. we called the other parents and we went looking for them. In the end they were safe and sound but my gosh, they’re only 8 and 9. Wearing dark clothes, they weren’t even particularly visible to cars. It was just such a stupid move that I questioned everything I thought he must already know and understand. If he could think for a moment that this was acceptable, what else could he have up his sleeve? Is he really just hearing “Wa wa wa wa wa wa”? Maybe I need to employ three point communication like they do in the Navy and commercial power plants. Lives are at stake here folks. Maybe not in terms of twins, bathroom etiquette, or sandals, but some of this stuff I’m trying to get across to them will actually matter at some point.

And then I feel a little guilty because I know I’m not the best listener. I can zone out, smiling and nodding just when I need to. Like when certain children need me to hear all the minutia of their Pokémon dealings or listen to their retelling of the latest episode of Dateline or get my feedback on their thoughts about augmented reality technology. Sometimes all I hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher too.


  1. I will have to try a bubble tea, Chaz tried one in Boston and had the same reaction you did, but I have never tried one yet - glad to know where to get one around here!

  2. You crack me up. Its as if you read my mind at times. LOL...scary place I know. Seriously I feel the same way. Im constantly going in circles with my children, even with some adults that dont listen. It would save so much time to listen the first time, such as myself 90% of the time. Ugh. Hang in there your a champ!


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