And although these babies all arrived with ten fingers, ten toes, a set of eyeballs and what appears to be a pair of ears, I'm pretty sure that the ears don't actually work. Or maybe it's that they do work, but there's a defect somewhere between the ears and the brain, causing the words that they hear to fall down somewhere around their belly button. Or maybe they don't understand anything I say because I bonked their heads on the door frames one too many times as I raced through the house carrying a suddenly-longer-so-now-their-head-sticks-out-two-inches-past-my-elbow-baby in my arms.
Whatever the reason, I'm sick of repeating myself. It's to the point where I'm physically incapable of pretending that I'm not annoyed when I say things two, three or seventeen times, and then having to repeat myself again the next day, week or even two months later. So now, every time I have to remind someone of something, it comes out embedded in sighs, eye rolls and arm flailing, and honestly, all the extra effort is kind of exhausting.
About a week ago, with Zach in the passenger seat, I pulled up to an insanely busy intersection and prepared to take a right. Yes, the light was red but everyone knows that you can take a right at a red light. Unless, of course, there are three ginormous signs that say "NO TURN ON RED" staring you in the face. Just as I was about to turn I noticed one of these signs and, since Zach is going to start drivers' training in the near future and I need to start setting a good example, promptly slammed on my brake. Then I said "Ugh. I hate those signs. I failed my first license test because of that stupid 'No Turn on Red' sign."
"I know, I remember you telling me this story," he said. I was shocked. When had I told him about this? I had no recollection of ever having a conversation with this kid that included the topic of hey guess what mom is kind of a moron because she failed her drivers' test once. And since when does he remember me telling him things?
And that's when it hit me: they will always remember stories that involve a parent screwing up and/or embarrassing themselves. So from now on, when I remind them to do something, I'll tack on a little tale of personal woe from my own fucked up past and maybe that'll make our conversations more memorable. For example:
- Please rinse the hunks of food out of your braces with a couple gulps of water. I had to wear a headgear when I was little and my brothers teased me relentlessly.
- I need to initial your practice report every week. After I didn't practice, I used to forge my mom's signature on my band practice reports in high school.
- No, you can't swipe two gummy worms out of the bulk bin because stealing is wrong. I once got busted for shoplifting at a ShopKo in 7th grade.
- Please use two hands to carry that plate. I once walked into a screen patio door carrying a full plate of BBQ ribs and dumped them all over myself.
- Don't run around the store because you might bash into someone. In junior high, while quickly walking into The County Seat at Maplewood Mall carrying an extra large cherry ICEE, I tripped on the edge of the carpet and launched my ICEE all over a rack of clothes.
- We're leaving at ___ o'clock. After arranging to take my brothers to a Wild hockey game for their birthdays, we arrived at Xcel Center, and because I forgot to double check the game time, we arrived a little early. Seven hours early, to be exact.
- You need to study for your social studies test. I hated political science in high school and slept through most of the class, especially when we were learning about Watergate. I bombed that test, but now know that Deep Throat is more than just a porno.
- Stop talking to me and expecting me to hear you while you're three rooms away and I'm standing next to the dryer/doing dishes/rocking out to Metallica/screaming at your brother. Sorry, but I have no embarrassing story to share when it comes to this request. I will, however, start requesting that they pull their heads out of their butts, scrape the poop out of their ears, and START LISTENING!