Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are my kids turning deaf?


Luckily No!! It just turns out they are trying to experiment with their new found worldly knowledge of how big kids are supposed to behave. They are realizing the thrill of turning a deaf ear to their parents, already! They are enjoying the bliss of enlightenment they’ve recently attained, that parents get worked up, when they are brushed off or ignored by their kids, (I think!)

Today N asks me, “If I were deaf and dumb from birth, then I wouldn’t know a word of any language right, Mama? “ and I answer “Yes, probably!”. not knowing any better since, I have had no acquaintance of a deaf and dumb human being, unless I start to count my kids among them.

As soon as I answered, it got me thinking. That, if the triplets were fine, then why were they unable to understand a word of what I talk to them,recently?  I had tried English…Hindi and even Telugu. That was 3 of the languages they’ve already been exposed to. I had not tried Spanish since I wasn’t exposed to that except frantically yell  “corta, corta” to my lawn mowing contractor pointing to the grass and later, thank him saying “Gracias” appreciating his effort to understand my peculiar speech pattern.

Or, the words “Vamanos”, or  “abre” or “salta” that Dora seems to repeat at the drop of a dime. None of these words had anything to do with what I wanted to convey to my kids. So, you can understand my reluctance to try Spanish.

All this thinking, an exercise so rare but nonetheless exciting,  brought to my realization, that nothing I speak to my kids these days, seem to evoke a reasonable response from them. Nothing, we ask of them..gets them to follow directions or take notice of the speaker, the shouter..the yeller!, ME!  It doesn’t seem to bring their attention to me at all!  I might as well be an invisible something..during such moments and it wouldn’t make a difference. Or, I could very well even have a conversation with the wall around.  Maybe, my faith in the walls around was stronger, and would surely get them to answer me.  It would be another story to recount in that case, of devils and ghosts etc…

Still, in spite of all this..I refused to believe that my kids were turning deaf, because, some thing else happens when I start to talk to them. They find many more attractive things around them..which they wouldn’t have paid a heed to in a million years, had I not turned on my speech. They seem to find all those much more interesting, than, to decipher words falling out of my mouth..

Why?! I dont know but, consider this.

I had dropped by the triplets school, to pick them up for a doctor’s appointment the other day. They were taking their own sweet time waltzing around the corridors before they reached me at the office. It was a once in a life time opportunity, right!! That, an elementary school kid gets to walk across the corridors of their school, peeping into the other classrooms, with nobody to report back to because, she’s already been signed off, right?!  So, while they are trying to use that to the fullest extent…I managed to spot them. This mean eyed creature spotted them. 

We were supposed to be on our way to the doctor’s office at that moment. Considering, if we gave ourselves about, 15-20 minutes for the drive, I had reached their school 40 minutes ahead of the appointment.  Little did I know, my kids love to walk the corridors of their school. Even stopping by to admire the periodic bare walls, taking more than 20 mins to reach the spot where I could look at them. I had already lost 20 mins, and we were no where close to the car, parked outside.  Without giving a care, I had almost yelled across the serenely quite corridors, asking them to walk faster…instead of a response that one would expect to see..P had stopped to watch something on the way.  

Was she able to understand or hear me right, I had thought.

Let me illustrate another episode, this time it was K’s turn to exhibit this idiosyncratic behavior pattern.

K was taking her sweet time eating her breakfast just as she has always done since the day she took the first bite of food. I had asked her to eat faster just as I always have done since the day she took the first bite. But, instead of remembering to continue chewing on her food, she stops, her hand stopped in mid air, her mouth staying open..she looks at me, and everything freezes.. as if I had commanded her to Freeze.  I had to remind her again

“K, I didn’t ask you to freeze. I had asked you to eat faster”, I repeated it this time, showing with action.

That got her to continue eating without even any change in her speed at all! My talk had just caused a pause for a few minutes, instead of the expected response of eating faster.

Was she able to understand me or even hear me, I had thought.

Now it was N’s turn to display this weird behavior pattern that had put me into a stressful mode.

Between the 4 of them..they use more than 40 pair of socks a week. Sometimes, changing more than 2 pairs in a day.  When they remove them, they just turn the sock over to get it off their feet. When its time for laundry, It takes me as much time to sort the laundry and turn the socks to the right side, as much time it would take the wash cycle to complete. So, I had requested the kids to turn the socks to the right side when they get it off their feet. When it wasn’t acknowledged, I had demanded that of them.  Still, no response!  Now, it was time to threaten them….. 

When I go over to sort the laundry, what do I find. There are still a few pair of socks that have not been turned inside out. Whose socks were they?  They were N’s. It had continued to be so for a few days.

Was she able to understand me or even hear me right, I had thought.

If I look at how they have changed from toddlers to the present..I know its only going to get worse. Today I got to be in my Mom’s shoes and felt as she had felt years ago, helpless and exposed, not knowing who to turn to, for direction, for consultation, for tips on parenting on the topic:

How to deal with a kid who loves to ignore?

But, the only difference is, I have the advantage of the internet today. I could turn to my friends for advice.

“Anybody has any pearls of wisdom for me??? “

“Anybody has any similar experiences, they’ve had and dealt with???”  other than telling me..

“Its a phase, and its going to pass”!!


Rachna said...

Siddharth does the ignoring or not hearing bit with us these days and even Gautam sometimes especially when he knows that he is being called to be pulled up. I give them a lecture, but it does not seem to be working.

Gayatri said...

Racha, That makes 2 of us in the boat!

Gayatri said...

I mean Rachna :-)

Bhagyashree said...

Same with us too. Miraculously he always listens when we mention choclates or some outing ;)