Saturday, October 27, 2007

in a rut

I was standing in the laundry room Friday morning when Gumby approached me with money on his mind. I stopped folding clothes long enough to repeat my mantra of the last few weeks.

I would be happy to talk about chores and allowances, but not until your room is clean.

(The only reason I stopped with the laundry is that for someone with not a drop of Italian blood, I sure do use my hands a lot when I talk).

I said

It isn't important to me that your room is spotless, but someone is going to break a leg one night tripping over all that crap on your floor. When we lived in California I would never go to sleep at night until all the floors were clear. And do you know why??

and he said

Yes, Mom. It was because of that one really big earthquake and everybody got out of the house okay except that one mom on the news went back into the bedroom to get one of the kids a blanket and she tripped over a toy and broke her neck and died.

and I said

well, actually I didn't say anything, because he had said exactly what I had been planning on saying. So while I was trying to a) recover and b) wrap my brain around the idea that at least one of my kids listened to me, Surfer Dude walked in.

and Gumby said

hey, do you know why Mom wants our floors to be clear before we go to bed at night?

and Surfer Dude said

Sure. It was because of that one really big earthquake and everybody got out of the house okay except that one mom on the news went back into the bedroom to get one of the kids a blanket and she tripped over a toy and broke her neck and died.

and I said

You guys remembered that? Why did you remember that? No one ever listens to me. Everyone knows that.

and Gumby said

How could we not remember that? You say it all the time.

and I said

I do not. I am not that predictable. Am I? Am I that predictable?

and Surfer Dude said

and you say the same things over and over

and I said

I do not. I am not predictable and I do not repeat myself. I do not. I am not predictable. And I do not repeat myself. I do not. You kids are just trying to make me crazy. I do not repeat myself. And I am not predictable.

They left for school chuckling.

I'm not predictable, am I? And I don't repeat myself all the time, do I?

Am I? Do I?


ped crossing said...

At least with repetition it has a chance to sink in. It is impossible with children, not to get in a rut.

We love you anyway!

And now you know that at least two of your children have listened on occasion.

And what about the amusement park???

Flowerpot said...

Great stuff that they have actually listened and remembered what you said!!

Akelamalu said...

Nothing wrong with repetition if the message sinks in!

I've posted another Nursery Rhyme Quiz today if you fancy a go. :)

PixelPi said...

Repetition has the possibility of sinking in, but then there's the teen years and totally tuned-out phase.

And you could start a new family story by substituting "tornado" for "earthquake." And for emphasis, threaten to call forth your flying monkeys.

laurie said...

i'm laughing!

my parents had standard stories, too, that they didn't think were standard. they thought they were meaningful examples of why i needed to follow certain rules.

i saw them as apocryphal and eye-rolling.

but they did sink in....

love pixel's idea of the flying monkeys. it'll keep 'em on their toes. though they might then correct you.

(which reminds me of another thurber story---the one in which the wife is always correcting her husband, so he starts telling people his dreams...and she starts correcting him on those, too. wonderful story. but clearly i have had too much coffee at this point.)

looking forward to amusement park adventures.

Diana said...

No. No you don't. It's them. They are systematically trying to drive you crazy. Beware and don't let them win.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It's amazing what kids listen to and you think they haven't even heard. Amy does it all the time.

I said, Amy does it all the time.

Crystal xx

Patti said...

i was surfing from ahna and saw that you have a book on your site i am currently reading: good grief. so, yeah, this has nothing to do with the post, which was funny.

Kaycie said...

Not one, but two of them repeated something you told them, verbatim? Damn, I'm jealous. If your kids actually listen to you, who CARES if you're predictable?!?

my two cents said...

I should have known I wasn't the only mother still using that story! Of course you are the other!!! I wonder how many other stories we use that are the same? Great idea for a test for our kids to see who is listening is to put out prompts and see who can finish the story. Pretty sure G and SD will win. While we were studying vocubulary this summer 15-yr boy couldn't remember precarious, kept confusing it with precocious which amazed me sine I tell him regluarly that the glass of milk is precariously close to the edge of the table, or that I am precariously close to the end of my rope.

Kimberly said...

That's priceless!

my two cents said...

p.s. Did this get anyone to actually clean their room???

Amy said...

In fact, your predictability is what keeps us coming back. We predict you will be funny and thoughtful, and you always are.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Like Amy says sweetie, only predictable in that you're predictably entertaining, hilarious and wise.
And you know, kids remember the gory stories.
If you'd said 'and she fell over the toy and broke a nail' they would not have remembered.
At east you're using a real example.
Not like the, 'Don't eat apple seeds or a tree will grow in your belly' kind.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

ped crossing - well, we survived the amusement park and I'll be posting about it tomorrow. I think I need to apologize in advance, as it's shaping up to be the longest post I've ever written.


flowerpot - I should have figured they were listening when SD dropped something and said "Shit!"

akela - I think this message may have sunk in a little.

pixelpi - ooh...flying monkeys. I like it. Can I keep you on retainer?

laurie - I sound more like someone elses parent all the time. I scare myself lately. A lot.

diana - thank you! I knew it was their fault and not mine!

crystal - what was that you said? Oh, were you talking to me?

patti - welcome! I finished Good Grief and absolutely loved it. She has a great way of looking at things. Enjoy!

kaycie - I really think it was a first. I've been looking in my house for hidden cameras all day.

my two cents - that is hysterical!! Do you really use the same story? I wonder if we started at the same time. It would make sense, wouldn't it? Jan. 17, 1994. (Not that I remember).

And as for the question of whether or not they cleaned their room?

What do YOU think??

kimberly - I've learned to take every victory, no matter how small.

amy - and I predict that the bribery check I promised you is in the mail. Honest.

I said...the check is in the mail. Honest.

jo - if I told my kids that eating apple seeds would make a tree grow in their belly, they would eat nothing but apples until the end of time. Or until the tree sprouted.

Corey~living and loving said...

ummmm.....what did you say? I'm sorry.....I wasn't listening.
can you repeat that?


Thalia's Child said...

That is awesome! I think I might need to steal your story to ensure Beaker cleans up after himself when he's home.

Swearing Mother said...

No more than the rest of us, we just say it more than once because no one ever reacts the first time (and maybe, the second time either).