Listening Ears

Mar 22 2011

My girlfriend Leanne watches my kids when I work.

The problem with Leanne is that I like her.  When I pick my kids up, I talk to her.  So then I’m late to stuff.

See how that’s Leanne’s fault?

Yesterday, Leanne’s likability meant I buckled Aden, Cai and Cael into my car at 4:23pm.

The vet, where our dog was waiting to be picked up, closed at 5:00pm.

The post office, where I needed to mail a package that had to go out that day, closed at 5:00pm.

And, of course, I had to drive home with the dog to drop him off before going to the post office because my dog is a Houdini-level escape artist.  If I’d taken him to the post office, a well-meaning but slow-moving child would’ve inevitably let the dog escape from the car, whereupon we all would’ve witnessed the dramatic and horrifying death of the dog in the middle of street when he was crushed by oncoming traffic.  It would’ve been an excellent lesson in staying out of the street, but not an altar on which I’d willingly sacrifice either the dog or my children’s hearts.

Why not go to the post office first?

Because I honestly didn’t know if I’d have time for both errands, and not picking up the dog meant boarding him another night.  Not an altar on which I’d willingly sacrifice my checkbook.

37 minutes… aaannndddd… GO!

Me, urgently: OK, kids, we have 37 minutes to pick up Chip, drop him off at home and mail a package at the post office!

Kids:

Me: Did you hear me?

Kids:

Me:  Hey.  Guys.  I need some listeners here.

Insert long lecture about limited time, listening kids, cooperation, and cookies.  Cookies being the bribe for the listening kids.

I’m not proud of the cookie part.  Just FYI.

Me:  Got it?

Kids:  Got it!

Me:  Do I have listeners?

Kids:  Yes!

Me, making sure:  So.  What do we do with our ears?

Cai:  Keep them to ourselves!

Me:  Well, that’s great guess, but that’s what we do with our hands and feet.  We keep hands and feet to ourselves.  Anyone else? What do we do with our ears?

Cael:  Don’t touch them!

Me:  Um… it’s actually just fine to touch ears.  But you should probably just touch your own ears.  That’s a good idea.  You wouldn’t want to be bugging someone else by touching their ears.  So that’s another good guess.  How about you, Aden?  Do you know what we do with our ears?

Aden:  Yes!  It’s OK to touch our own ears.  But we should only do that alone in our bedroom or in the bathroom.

Me:  Hmmm.  Well, that actually applies to other body parts.

Kids: excitedly list exactly which body parts to which that rule applies

Me, interrupting:  OK, guys!  Great guesses, but I’ll just give you this one.  I was thinking we could listen with our ears.  What do you say?  Can we listen?

Kids:

Me:  Guys?

Kids:

I want it noted that I tried.

I really, really tried.

So it turns out it’s a good thing I had cookies, or we might have accomplished nothing.

As I type, my package is zooming toward its destination, Chip is safe at home (unless he escaped again, which is likely), and the cookies are a distant memory except where I carry them on my thighs.

Who needs listening ears anyway?  Overrated.

Tonight’s errand?  The store.

For more cookies.