Saturday, March 07, 2009

Things My Kids Say When They Think I Can't Hear Them...

I admit it – I eavesdrop. There. I said it. Sometimes I don’t mean to do it, I just have really good hearing and can’t help it... but sometimes people who aren’t really talking to me are just flippin’ interesting. There’s the tone thing – people talk to different people in their lives with varying tones in their voice. For instance, when I was in my early teens I could always tell when my older brother was talking to a girl on the phone. It drove him crazy, well, I drove him crazy... because I always knew just when to embarrass or pester him, but never did it when he was on the phone with a guy friend... why? Because his tone changed the minute it was a girl and I knew he was trying to impress someone (enter evil, grinning demon sister).

Now, I eavesdrop on my kids all the time. Not to invade their privacy, though I guess that’s a hard case to make since I just said I’m listening when they don’t know it, which is pretty much the definition of privacy invading. But to clarify, I don’t dig through my daughter’s diary, or listen in on her phone calls. I do, however, hear them talking from rooms away, and I can see around corners... that’s only because there’s a big mirror in the dining room and they totally don’t realize that I can see and hear them, because they don’t see me – I’ve given them enough hints on this already. When I correct them for saying something wrong or doing something stupid from two rooms away, they should realize that I can see and hear them. In their defense though, they’re 11, 8, and 6, so lucky me, they just think Mommy’s Magic... the eleven year old is convinced I have the place bugged.

But the conversations they have when I’m not in the room crack me up so much, sometimes, I just hope they never totally figure it out. I’d miss this part of their relationship. The non-mom included part.

(Oldest Daughter walks into the kitchen. She’s wearing an oversized tee shirt, raggedy sweat pants and her hair is in the same ponytail she slept in... She’s still sick with a nasty case of strep throat that’s felled my whole family this week... which, by the way, littlest guy was the first one to get and therefore the first one to feel better. Littlest Guy is sitting at the table)

Littlest Guy: Wow! You look disgusting.

Daughter: Thaaanks! Girls just love to hear things like that.

(She sits at table across from littlest terror and he eyes her up and down... just staring)

Daughter: What?

(He smiles, his big, missing front tooth smile)

Littlest Guy: You’re a fan of Hello Kitty.... Hello Kitty is for babies and you’re a fan...

Daughter: I am not, what are you talking about?

Littlest Guy: See! Hello Kitty! (He points to the tiny pink band-aide on his sister’s finger)
Daughter: Ouch! Hey! (pulling back wounded finger) I’m not a fan, I was bleeding. It was a medical emergency.... What did you want me to do, all we had was hello kitty, should I bleed all over the place?

Littlest Guy: You could’ve used tape.

Daughter: Grrrr.... I’m sick... and cranky... and you’re the one who made me sick in the first place!

(I couldn’t see his face, but I’m convinced he grinned even wider – the classic is, the first two days littlest guy was sick, she doted on him and snuggled him and brought him juice)

Daughter: I’m telling mom you’re bothering me.

Littlest Guy: (Jumping up and standing in front of her) No you’re not...

Daughter: Don’t start that.... sigh... I’m not looking at you... I’m not looking at you... your cuteness is eeeeevil.... I’m not looking at you....

Littlest Guy: (whispers) But, see, I’m doing the puppy dog eyes... see? (with the little high pitched lilt he uses special, for conning, cajoling, and generally getting his way)

As no one ever told mom, I’m guessing points go to Littlest Guy on that one. Anyone want to lay odds on how long it’ll take before the eleven year old loses her temper and cracks him? So far, she lets him get away with pretty much anything, because, as she says often “His cuteness is EEEEEVIL” He is much cuter than I was and my brother never killed me.

How ‘bout you guys? Are you eavesdroppers? Ever notice the different tones people use for the people in their lives. Ever like to be that fly on the wall?


Ello said...

Ohmygosh that was so cute! Yes I eavesdrop all the time. That's how I get a lot of my good random things my kids say stuff! Eavesdropping is good!!!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Ell,

I have a hunch that most writers eavesdrop to some extent.

But yeah, you really get to see a different side of your kids when they don't know you're listening... if I had been in the room, littlest guy would've laid off because he'd be afraid I'd take away dessert or something :-)

Mary Witzl said...

YES! I'm an eavesdropper! I don't open people's mail and I hardly ever gossip, but I dearly love to overhear conversations, and what my kids say is always enlightening and often very funny, (like your kids' conversation). Eavesdropping is an indispensable writing aid. And you get to learn what people really think about you that way too.

Travis Erwin said...

I once sat next to a very drunk guy on Fremont Street in Vegas, even after he puked, just to listen to to his tearful plea of forgiveness over the phone with either a wife or girlfriend for taking off to gamble. I still have plans to use some of that dialogue in a book one of these days.

My wife thought I was crazy for staying there to lsiten.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Mary,

I totally agree... I think writers are almost always people watchers... which regular folks just think of as nosy... ah well, normal people miss all the fun.

Hi Travis,

It could've been worse. At least your wife let you sit there without making a scene... if I did that in front of my husband, he'd have yelled at me for embarrassing him and ruined a perfectly good opportunity to character build :-)

Colleen said...

Yes! I eavesdrop. It's part of my job description (I run a daycare in my home). I love how I can hear innocent conversations between the kids. It's imperative that I know what is going on all around me at all times and I take advantage of a mirror in my house as well. I love that kids (up to the age of 4) are amazed that I know exactly when to step into a room and that I have heard what is going on (much to their dismay). I know all ... I see all ... I am a daycare provider (who loves to write) ... and I love to be able to add some of these conversations to our daycare blog so the parents can 'hear' them as well.

jjdebenedictis said...

When my husband answers the phone, I can tell pretty much as soon as he says, "Hi! How are you doing?" whether it's someone he wants to talk to, someone he didn't expect to be talking to, or someone he really wishes he didn't have to talk to.

And I am sworn to secrecy regarding which category his mother falls into. :-) I always know when it's her on the other end.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Colleen,

Nice to meet you! That's so nice that you have a daycare blog!!! The parents must love that, I know I love hearing stories about my kids from their teachers and other parents... er, umn, at least I love it when they were doing something good... not so much when they had to have their seat moved or something :-)

Hi JJ,

Ah yes, I usually know who the husband type person is talking to, too... I can usually even tell the difference between which of his friends or his brother by the jokes or tags he uses... most of the guys from work are "Hey, Buddy..." but then one guy there's going to be a dirty joke within the first five seconds...

pssss... you can tell me which tone he uses for his mom... none of my blog readers will tell a soul!

Jennifer said...

Merry, this is too funny! Your kids sound adorable. I have three kids the same exact ages, and we always tell the littlest if only he could use his cute powers for good. :)

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Jennifer,

Ah, yes, the youngest always seems to know how to ply the cuteness card... mine also tends to try a lot more than the older two, I think he knows he can get away with more... My oldest is almost five years older than he is, so she dotes on him, too.

Thanks for stopping in! I'm so glad Erica pointed out your blog.