Tonawanda News

October 27, 2013

DOUBLE TROUBLE: 'Mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mooooom ....'

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — It’s enough to make almost any parent get a little wild-eyed.

When you have kids, you get used to the lack of quiet. You get fairly paranoid about it, actually. Quiet means they’re up to something, like coloring on the walls or their siblings, trying to overflow the sink, or ransacking their room to build a contraption from the wildest imagination of Rube Goldberg. All real-life examples from our family, actually.

You still yearn for it, sometimes. Just a few minutes of sheer, blessed silence seems like heaven. But when you get it, eventually you start looking around, wondering why everything is so gosh-darned still.

No, I’m used to noise. But lately, I’m going to admit, there have been times I’ve wanted to clap my hands over my ears and go hide in the cellar for a half-hour. Except that they’d come looking for me. And there’s a wicked echo down there. It’s not, necessarily, the volume. It’s the repetition.

“Mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mooooom ....”

“What, Jim?”

“Hi!”

Then, a few seconds later ... “Mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mom, mommy ....”

“What is it, James?” 

“I want to do (insert request here, from ‘get a milkshake’ to ‘go back to Disney World). 

Responses range from “Maybe later if you’re good” to a “One of these days.”

A minute or two (or five seconds) later:

“Mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mooooom ....”

“WHAT???”

Repeat request. Repeat response. Repeat wait time. Repeat request ... repeat ... repeat ... repeat ...

Finally, you’re going about your business with that wild-eyed gaze, a constant refrain of “Mom!” ringing in your eyes and a small child standing three inches away, convinced that if he just keeps repeating it enough, maybe it will happen, right?

We call this the “flowered-chair” tactic at our house, after a piece of furniture owned by my husband that I desperately wished to get rid of after we bought our house. I told him this. He kept not hearing and persistently talking about where to put it. Nine years later, we still have the dratted chair. So I guess the boys come by it honestly.

I know small children like repetition. And I know it’s partly because they love attention — which they get plenty of, trust me. But even the most patient parent eventually gets a little snappish.

If it’s not that kind of request, it’s the “I just want to SHOW you!” This is even more difficult to handle, because who doesn’t want their children to be happy to show them stuff, right? But even “Mommy, look at what I can make Darth Vader do in my Star Wars game!” and “Look at the picture I drew of Disney World!” gets a little old when it’s about the 500th repetition of both in the past hour or so and all you want to do is get the laundry done so you can sit down for five minutes.

“Look at what I can make Darth Vader do!”

“Uh huh.”

“No, look!”

“I see, Sam. That’s cool.”

“It is cool. Now I’m here at this part. Look at this!”

“Just a minute.”

“No, looook! This is soooo cool. Mom! Look!”

I love them. I love that they want my attention. But honestly, one can only patiently watch Darth Vader do backflips in a video game so much.

I might try something new one of these days. I’m going to wait until my oldest is happily listening to his music player or the my youngest is settled down with a book or game. Then ...

“Jim. James. Jiiiimmmmyyy. James Eric. Jim ... Sam. Samuel. Saaaammmmyyy. Samuel David. Sam ...”

“What?”

“Hi!”

Turnabout is fair play, isn’t it?

Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at jill.keppeler@tonawanda-news.com. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler.