Thursday, September 13, 2007

Selective Hearing

My boys have a slight hearing impairment. There is a disconnection between the hearing components of the ear that are responsible for transmitting the words coming from my mouth to the part of the brain that should process those words and direct the rest of the body accordingly. I haven’t been able to find any medical diagnosis for this impairment, so I’ve put it in the category of a male-dominated household ailment (MDHA) and labeled it as Selective Hearing. Watch for it on a symptom checking website near you.

Selective Hearing is a complicated MDHA, and presents itself in different degrees.

There is the simple, Word Drop Selective Hearing (WDSH):

I don’t want you guys to go crazy and start chasing each other in the store.” Those suffering from WDSH will process this sentence as, “I want you guys to go crazy! Start chasing each other!”

We can not stay up late tonight. Your teacher, who cares about you, says that it is very important to get a good night’s sleep, especially if it is a school night.” Those suffering from WDSH will process this sentence as, “We can stay up late. Who cares if it is a school night?”

There is the more complicated, Word Rearrange Selective Hearing (WRSH):

“I know you think it’s funny when you show them, but stop showing the neighbors your underwear. Do you want your mommy to get arrested if you keep that up?” Those suffering from WRSH will process this sentence as, “The neighbors think it’s funny when you show them your underwear. Mommy wants you to keep that up.”

Please don’t take your clothes off in front of the babysitter and her friend. Being naked isn’t always appropriate, even though you think it is fun.” Those suffering from WRSH will process this sentence as, “Please take your clothes off. Being naked is always fun and appropriate.”

And, there is the Complete Reinvention Selective Hearing (CRSH):

“Everyone is eating what I am cooking tonight. I will not make four different dinners.” Those suffering from CRSH will process this sentence as, “Mom will make me whatever I want.” They’re usually right. After all, how much time does it take to open a Lunchable and nuke a hot dog?

And I shouldn’t leave out my husband:

“When you get a second, can you clean your clothes up off of the bedroom floor so I can vacuum?” Husbands suffering from SR will process this sentence as, “Within the next two weeks, I need to vacuum the bedroom floor. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of it all.”


To be fair, I’m half joking about that last one. John is not the neatest man in the world, but I knew this going into things. When I went to visit him in college after I had graduated and he was finishing up, he and his roommate Brian (a boy - was there ever any doubt?) had a slug living in their shower. They claimed that it kept the tile grout clean. Have you ever tried to shower while keeping one eye on a slug? As if a slug could suddenly develop the speed and muscle required to leap on me while I was washing my hair. And, what would it do when it got there? Slug me to death? But, showering with a slug was a new experience for me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Better safe than sorry.

I blame Selective Hearing as the reason I feel that I never stop talking and am often out of breath. I tend to speak with double the amount of words necessary to get a point across, hoping that the Selective Hearing doesn’t edit out the intent of my statement or request and that the point I am trying to make will get across. This is a dangerous defense to Selective Hearing. Who knows what they will do with the extra words?



This is how my boys responded to, "Please don't make a mess with the packing styrofoam." They moved so fast to make a mess, the picture is blurry.

1 comment:

BusyDad said...

Great post! In my defense, it is completely genetic and unintentional. We mean well. Really, we do. What you need to do is create workarounds. Example: "Do the laundry or I'm dumping this beer down the drain." Your husband will hear "dear, please do the laundry right now" and he will happily oblige.