At our house we played a lot of hide-n-seek, caught a lot of lightening bugs, rode miles and miles on bicycles, while I walked up and down the road watching for cars, played card games, built towers and forts with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs, and read books…lots and lots and lots of books. Each of the kids had their favorites, but they all agreed that the “Berenstain Bears” and “Amelia Bedelia” belonged in the category of classic literature.
The other day I came across an Amelia Bedelia book and it still made me laugh. Hey, putting clothes on a chicken (dress the chicken) and covering the furniture in dusting powder (dust the furniture)…. I don’t care who you are, that’s just funny.
But besides being good for a laugh and a little lesson in ‘word play’, Amelia’s misinterpretations reminded me of the times my kids misunderstood our comments or instructions to them—like the time we were playing outside and I asked six year-old Zach to go check to see if ten month-old Olivia was still sleeping in her crib.
Zach willingly went in the house and returned a few minutes later carrying Olivia. “She was awake so I changed her diaper, too,” Zach said proudly. FYI: I used cloth diapers…the kind with diaper pins. Neither he nor Olivia was crying and he’d actually done a pretty good job. J
I didn’t ask or expect Zach to do those things, but he knew that for me, checking on Oliva meant a diaper change.
And then there was the time John had to work; missing the Vacation Bible School program. When he told the kids goodbye before leaving the house, he told two year-old Elizabeth to sing loud so he could hear her. When it came time for her little class to sing the two songs they’d practiced all week, she marched up on stage, planted herself smack dab in front of the microphone, and sang loud enough that I’m pretty sure John did hear her. JI could go on, but I won’t. Instead I want to encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about what you say to your kids and how you say it. Are they getting the right message or is there too much room for misunderstanding and misinterpretation?
If your kids seem to be ignoring you or seeing how far they can push against their boundaries, stop and think about the fact that they just might be confused and unsure of your expectations. Ask them to repeat back to you what you’ve just said in their own words. In doing so, you will save both you and your kids a lot of frustration.
Copyright 2018 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.