Talking to Myself

“Wash your hands, use soap.” It’s a phrase I repeat daily. Still, I know better. With Gracie I’m just talking to myself. Lord help me if I chain three or more tasks together. “Go upstairs, change into your pajamas and take out your ponytail,” I told her tonight after dinner. Five minutes later, after rounding the corner I found her on the computer, hair down, tapping out her latest puppet show story on the computer. She was still in jeans and a shirt. I reminded again. “I KNOW, DAD. I KNOW – YOU TELL ME ALL THE TIME!” she interrupted as she stormed to the steps before I could ask her to change into pajamas for the second time. Two minutes later she was back again, still in jeans and a shirt. “What did I ask you to do?” I insisted. “I did it Dad, I took out my ponytail and went upstairs. Now I’m back downstairs,” she replied. And all I could do was just shake my head and walk away.

I talk to myself. And I know it won’t get better. Friends tell me it’s an age thing; that one day she’ll listen to her Dad. Obviously they’ve never had a teenager. It just so happens that mine is starting early. Worst yet, she’s every bit of her mother. And even she doesn’t listen to me. I ask Brooke to pick up some butter when she goes to the store. I even write it down on the shopping list. Then when she forgets the shopping list I fax it to her at work. And when she forgets the fax at work, I call her on her mobile phone to remind her. And the phone rings alone in the car while I leave a message. After all, she’s forgot the cell phone in the car while she ran into the store just long enough to forget the butter. But don’t worry, next week she’ll forget it all over again during the next shopping trip.

I’m not so bad. I don’t forget. Sure I get all the wrong stuff when I go to the grocery store, but at least it’s an attempt. She asks for mashed potatoes. I get her scalloped potatoes. She wants cottage cheese and I get her sour cream. Hey, but at least it looks the same.

Lately I’ve started insisting that both Gracie and Brooke repeat back what I say. This never works. Now instead of ignoring my requests, they now ignore me all together. Maybe it’s just the pitch of my voice. Perhaps all women have a gene that prevents them from hearing the tones that make up the modern day male voice. Then again, maybe it’s just me. Either way I know it’s not going to change.

Even the dog ignores me. I tell him to sit and he lays down. I tell him to speak and he shakes. I tell him to roll over and he sits. About the only way to get him to listen is if I’m holding a pepperoni or tennis ball in one hand while I give him the command. Then he listens and I get results. I wonder if it would be the same with Brooke and Gracie. Maybe the next time I want Gracie to change into pajamas, I should tell her while holding a tennis ball or pepperoni. Somehow I doubt it would work. Pepperoni and a tennis ball will work with the dog, but somehow with women I imagine it would be much more complicated – and expensive. The next time I want Brooke to get butter, maybe I should ask while holding a diamond necklace. Sure, I’d probably get the butter, but then again I’d go broke by the second shopping trip.

In the end, I’m outnumbered. The toast will always be plain and Gracie will go to bed in jeans. And I’ll still be talking to myself.

3 Responses to “Talking to Myself”

  1. Mikey says:

    I would try a bratz doll, and a shiny new cell phone to talk into. Or a chocolate cake, that would work for me anyway. Haha even just now I asked my papi to get me something as I was writing, and didnt listen to him when he came though the door. That is until he yelled at me to “Get your butt in here already!”. And now hes yelling at me to get off and eat.
    I dont know, maybe your right and its a male thing. All I know is just because I love him doesnt mean that I will listen to him all the time. And I guess that is what your future holds. I wish you luck, you’ll need it! lol

  2. Darla Creasey says:

    My 4 year old daughter is the same way, and also my 14 year old son. My daughter i could repeat over and over and raise my voice but she still ignores me until she gets into trouble and gets time out. My 14 year old son forgets he even has a brain and what i say goes in one ear and out the other. I keep hoping they will both grow out of it and my daughter will start understanding the meaning of discipline, and my 14 year old will start maturing a little bit more and act his age, but it hasnt happened yet. Goodluck to you, and hang in there.

  3. Lisa Kulp says:

    I have that same problem with my husband and my 7 year old daughter. I thought it was a guy thing.
    I am almost finished reading your book.Part of me can’t put it down and the other part doesn’t want to finish it because I know how it ends. My heart goes out to you and your family. My daughter is my most valuable gift and we almost lost our family this past summer in a bizarre twist of fate that we had no control over and I cherish our life as a family every minute.
    I was glad to find that you are continuing your journal. It shows us that Elena still goes on even if she is not with you. Thank you for sharing her with us.
    I will tell everyone I know about her.
    I look forward to hearing more about Gracie.
    (and I’ll be looking for parenting guidance too!)