Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 516 - Do You Understand the Words Coming Out of My Mouth?

Sometimes I'm amazed by how much the kids understand what we say. Today, I was talking to myself -- which I believe is a stay-at-home disease -- wondering what was on television tonight. And before you could say "pathetic", Andrew ran to our sofa thinking it was time for him to watch television. As for Emma, I was on the phone asking someone where they would want to "meet", and Emma was suddenly at my legs with a slab of flank steak.

But what drives me crazy is that in spite of them beginning to communicate with us, there are a few words that they are very good at not understanding. Here are the words and/or phrases they do not yet understand: "no", "don't do that", "don't touch that", "stop it", and "get out of the hazardous waste container."

This morning I was brushing Andrew's teeth in the bathroom, and Emma walked in.

"Emma, please go to the living room," I said.

Emma ignored me. She began to touch all of the bathroom towels.

"Emma, don't touch."

Emma pulled a towel to the floor.

"Emma, stop doing that."

Emma pulled all of the towels to the floor.

"Emma, leave the towels alone."

Emma picked up the towels.

"Emma, don't drop the towels in the trash."

Suffice to say, she ignored every single one of my requests including the ultimatum, "If you flush one more towel down the toilet, Mommy will hit Daddy."

Andrew displays the same behavior, except in some ways it's a little worse. With Emma, she totally ignores you. But with Andrew, it feels like he's testing you. For instance, if Andrew is throwing blocks at Emma, I'll tell him to stop and throw something softer like a plastic ball. Andrew will stop, turn his head towards you in acknowledgment, and then without looking away will throw one last block at Emma.

I want to believe that because the kids are so young, they don't know any better. They're too curious and are just beginning to learn cause and effect. But something deep inside me believes that this behavior that is slightly amusing and annoying will turn into something horrendous and ulcer-producing in about thirteen years. I guess only time and stomach acids will tell.

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