I'm sure every parent of a child who is over the age of 1 is familiar with the phrase, "are you listening to me right now?"
Caly and Lex, at 3 and 5, are in a phase where they've learned how to diligently stare at me while I talk to them about some misbehavior and when I'm done talking, they chirp, "Ok Mommy!" and trot off only to repeat the transgression 30 seconds later.
Cue the "What did I say a minute ago? No hitting/spitting/throwing/screeching/punching/etc.!"
The other day, Caly was having a particularly difficult time with doing the same things over and over. Nothing seemed to be getting through to her. So I changed tactics and brought her over to my lap. I asked her to look into my eyes and I spoke veeeeeery slooooooowly,
"Caly. You can not hit your brother. Ever. Do you understand?"
She stared at me and nodded, "Yes Mommy!"
"Hitting is not kind. Do NOT hit your brother." I started to sense that she wasn't necessarily looking at me but rather... looking straight through me. Miss Caly was on some other planet.
"CALY! Did you hear what I just said?"
Of course, she had her answer down pat, "Yes Mommy, I did!"
But something told me to follow up, "Caly, what did Mommy just say?"
Without a moment's hesitation, she shouted, "DON'T BITE YOUR FRIENDS!"
Worthy advice... but um, NO.
She got the selective hearing from her father.