Day 637: Hello, Walls…

Hello, walls, how are you today?  You may ask, why are you talking to the walls, have you completely lost your mind?  And to that, I would have to say that I would need to have my mind to lose it and that talking to the walls brings much more satisfaction and less disagreeable behavior.  I will explain.  Of late, the natives have developed “selective listening” skills – selective in that they are selective in what they hear and who they hear it from.  Their listening skills are apparently good overall, however, my voice falls on their ears like the adults on Charlie Brown.

Some of the tactics I have employed to ensure that the natives are listening are thus: reiterating and reinforcing what I immediately say with questioning the natives about what was said.  For example, the following exchange has taken place at one point or another:

Me:  Tuesday, I need you to turn off the light in your resting chambers and pick up the toys in the tribal living area, please.

Tuesday:  OK, sure is. (Her standard response for most everything not answered with “No.”  I would like to note that this infuriates me.)

Me: Tuesday (Because I know she dismissed what I said), what did I just say?

Tuesday: Ummmm…(Thinking but not real hard and then looks inquisitively at me for the answer)

Me: I want you to go to your resting chambers and turn off the light and start picking up the toys on the floor in the tribal living area.

Tuesday: NO. (Definitively)

Me: (Frustrated) Go turn off the light in your resting chambers NOW. (At this point, my eyes are just about out of my head, the horns are beginning to sprout and my voice changes to that of an ogre.)

Tuesday: (As though she’d never been asked yet.) Oh, ok…I try. (She goes and turns off the light and returns.  She continues whatever she was doing prior to this exchange.)

Me: Tuesday.

Tuesday: What?

Me: I need you to pick up the toys in the tribal living area, please.  C’mon, let’s go.

Tuesday: …

Me: Tuesday…did you hear what I said?

Tuesday: What?

Me: What did I ask you to do?

Tuesday: Turn off the light. (Dammit, she’s not wrong.  But she’s not completely right either.)

Me: AND?

Tuesday: …

Me: Pick up the toys in the tribal living area!

At this point in the conversation, it is similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book.  Either Tuesday will answer the question with a definitive “NO” or an “OK, I try.”  Should she employ the definitive “NO” response, my transformation into a big, ugly and mean ogre completes and I then force the heathen native(s), depending on the situation, to perform the heinous deed of picking up their toys in the tribal living area.  If the uncharacteristic “Ok, I try” response is utilized, a cleanup of the tribal living area commences, in one way, shape or form.  It usually requires supervision to ensure that the natives stay on task.

Of late, Wednesday has begun to follow her elder sibling’s lead by responding in kind to various requests, similar to those outlined above.  Because of her young age and lack of experience with defiance, she is a bit more malleable when it comes to encouraging to answer appropriately when asked to perform a task.

In some ways, I believe that the natives are attempting to trip up my logic by diverting the attention from my requests to repeating them for their sake.  Damn heathens.  Toddler mind tricks.  Always the toddler mind tricks.  Alas, though they do try, in the end, the Mounties always get their man, and likewise, I almost always get them to do what I ask.

Often, however, I still find that talking to the walls yields less stress and fewer toddler mind tricks.


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