Mom Fail – The Parrot Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids to the children’s museum here in taken with my friend Rochelle and her kids. Her daughter Emery is 3 months older than EK and her son Dean is two months younger than J, so we can clearly see lots of play dates and slumber parties together in our future. Anyway, EK always takes a few minutes to warm up to the museum (we don’t go often enough) so once she got going, she was off. Emery was off in a hundred other directions, so naturally Rochelle and I didn’t spend too much time sitting and chatting. I was wearing J, Rochelle was strolling Dean, and those poor boys didn’t have time to chill.

A brief moment of togetherness, on the troll bridge.
A brief moment of togetherness, on the troll bridge.

Finally, the girls were getting a bit cranky (all four of us!) and needed some lunch, followed by naps all around. We decided on Moe’s, since it’s loud and fast and low-key, not to mention fun food for us all to eat. We packed the kiddos and unpacked the kiddos and ushered the kiddos through the line. Rochelle sandwiched the girls into a booth, and I situated myself in between the boys in their carseat carriers. EK and Emery were like popcorn – one was always popping up, turning around, watching the poor souls who also chose Moe’s as their lunch spot. Rochelle and I were losing our voices saying, “Sit down! Eat your lunch! Sit down! Drink your juice! Sit down! Get off the floor! Sit down! Wipe your mouth!” Talk about a broken record. I don’t feel like we were yelling, but we weren’t whispering. We weren’t being mean, but we were being firm.

After most of the quesadillas were eaten and “juices” (water with a splash of lemonade, of course) were drunk, Emery decided to stand up once more, turn around, and check out what was going on behind her. Rochelle and I had all but given up on finishing lunch sitting nicely, so we didn’t say much. EK, however, had finally gotten the point. She looked up at Emery, and firmly (rudely?) said, “SIT! DOWN! NOW!” Rochelle and I looked at each other… and tried very hard not to laugh. From the mouths of our babes, we hear what we sound like. Not that I needed a reminder that my little girl is a parrot, but I sure got one.

How hard is it, sometimes, to control your tone of voice? I know that when I need to tell EK something several times, my tone escalates each time. I almost always start softly and politely. But after I’ve told/asked several times, I begin to lose my patience. Especially if time or safety or politeness to others is a factor, I get firm and sometimes loud very quickly. I wouldn’t say overall that I’m a yeller, but I do raise the volume a little if the first and second (and third) time I say something doesn’t bring forth the desired response.

That day at Moe’s was a prime example of what she remembered about telling someone to do something. Since then, I have been more conscious of my tone and delivery of directions. I try to have a little more patience and grace. And yes, folks, it’s difficult. I have never claimed to be the most patient person in the world. I find myself hollering things like, “Get your shoes!” across the house as we prepare to go somewhere. If I catch her holding my iPad with one hand, I might shout something like, “Put that down, NOW!” a little less nicely than I could. But I’m improving, and doing the best I can. I’ve always been a loud lady, so teaching my daughter to reign her loudness is at best a little difficult for me. At least I’m honest, right?

Have you had that moment where your parrot child repeats something you’ve said, in that perfect tone of voice, and surprises you? Or even disappoints you?

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