By Shannon Ralph
My son Nicholas talks constantly. Incessantly. Yes, we all think that our kids talk a lot, but Nicholas is special. He has highly developed lungs that allow him to chatter for a good five minutes straight without ever stopping to inhale. He’s a miracle of evolution, really.
To make matters worse, 9 times out of 10, he is not in the same room with me when he is pontificating. He is yelling from the toilet. Or in bed, having been tucked in multiple times and threatened with bodily harm if he emerges from his room one more time. Or he may not even be on the same level of the house with me. He is storytelling from the basement playroom, as I rummage through the kitchen cabinets for anything with a measurable liquor content. (Why do we not keep hard liquor in our house?)
No one wants to ignore their own children. Yes, ignoring other people’s little monstrosities is perfectly acceptable and sometimes the only way to maintain positive social relationships with said monster’s discombobulated and utterly clueless parents. But our own children? The children we have been entrusted to love and nurture and raise to responsible adulthood? Completely ignoring them just seems somehow wrong. Somehow counterintuitive to our ultimate goal of mentally stable adult children capable of changing our diapers when we are old and wrinkled. Ignoring them completely just isn’t an option. At least not ignoring them in such a way that they know we are ignoring them.
As a means of precious self-preservation, I have developed a finely tuned system of completely ignoring Nicholas’s lengthy tales without him even recognizing that I have tuned him out. Because I am fond of you, my dear readers, I will share this system with you. Below you will find ten phrases that you can yell back to your lovely one pontificating loudly from the toilet. You can pretty much insert these phrases at any random point within your child’s lengthy anecdote and your child will think you are paying attention. Your child will think you appreciate their soliloquy. That you are hanging on every word of their interminable monologue. These phrases are magic, my friends. Parenting voodoo at its very best.
There you have it. The secret—or at least one of the secrets—to my stellar parenting. You can thank me later for sharing these gems. If, however, one of you is awarded a mother (or father)-of-the-year award as a result of my sharing my parenting wisdom, I do expect a reasonable cut of your winnings.
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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