Saturday, October 22, 2011

549. Let's Talk About The Weather

Children are little tape recorders. You make one random, off-handed remark about a neighbor, and before you know it, you overhear it being played back to you later that same day (“What does ‘Bipolar’ mean again, Mom?”). For this reason, The Husband and I have had to taper back our gossip a bit.

It's like living with midget Saints. Saint Tall and Saint Short bop around our house, going about their business of playing LEGOs or Pok√©mon or doing their spelling homework, all the time secretly noting any interesting conversational infraction that has occurred.

Some tip off words and phrases that seem to garner the most unwanted attention: liar, promiscuous, quit his job again, unreliable, flake, obese, drug-addict, repossessed, wasted, jail, irresponsible, cheap, obnoxious, cheated on, extravagant, lazy, or any word of the four-letter variety. For some reason, if one of these words makes it into a chat about a movie star, distant relative, acquaintance, or even fictitious character, the house becomes deadly quiet and a three-foot shadow appears in the doorway.

“I don’t think she's obese, Mommy, she might just be big-boned.”


Much monitoring of words goes on in my head, but it is hard to talk about sunshine and puppies and Christmas every day.

When the kids first started being able to mimic us, we took to whispering, spelling words out, or even communicating in Spanish (however, since I am the only one in our household who can speak Spanish 101, The Husband had a difficult time keeping up; we were forced to nix this method). We started writing things down, but who wants to find notes scattered around the house later that read, “bizarro telemarketer” or “mean lady at the bank.”

Instead, The Husband and I lock eyes and say a terse, “We’ll talk about it later,” which we all know is code for “We’ll talk about it never.”



  1. My husband seemed unable to keep up with our kids' academic skills and spelled things waaaaay too long. One evening, for instance, he said to me "Maybe we could go to the M-A-L-L after dinner" and our son says "Dad, we are 8 and 11; we can spell mall...."
    When they hit the teenage years we would just say "sidebar!!!" and go to a corner and whisper right there in front of them.

  2. HW, Aha-- I am a sidebar kinda girl. That is going to be my new catchphrase: "Sidebar!" Thank you for that.........


  3. Why is it that when you WANT them to hear you -- for instance when you want them to extract the LEGO from your heel or clean up some other toy explosion they cannot hear a word you are saying. However, mention something even slightly "interesting" and they are all ears. Go figure. We can't do the Spanish thing in our house because our oldest is part of a two-way immersion program at his school (1/2 day in English and 1/2 day in Spanish). Sidebar is a great idea!


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