Monday, November 07, 2005

Attention, attention, attention

According to my Babycenter weekly email, I can rest assured that my child is (still) perfectly normal when he clings, whines, screams, chirps, whistles and shrieks at me all day and all night.

Isn’t that comforting?

Yes, they tell me, “If your 15-month-old has started sounding like a hyena or worse, you're experiencing his intense desire to interact with you.”

Which, of course, makes it all good, right? My adorable little pumpkin has an intense desire to interact with me – that’s good, right? Right? RIGHT?!?!

OK, seriously – yes, it is good. I’m still #1 around here. Mommy is da man (slangily speaking). And his desires are simple. All he wants is my constant and undivided attention, 24/7.

That’s all.

Captain Adventure has many ways of getting my attention. Generally, he starts with the more adorable methods. Chirping, singing, running up to me and staring intently up at me until he gets eye contact, then laughing and clapping and dancing in place to express his approval of my cleverness in noticing Himself, the Center of the Universe.

Meanwhile, his sisters have evolved their methods of attention getting. Boo Bug does a great body-slam, accompanied by a wrestling/climbing/clinging skill a jujitsu master would envy. She also babbles, pretty much nonstop, from morning to night. I now understand why parents sometimes ‘tune out’ their kids, to the point where they are blissfully unaware that their horrid children are making life a living hell for all around them. Because I do that with Boo Bug, frequently. After four straight hours of her little piping voice blathering on and on and on about bugs and toys and juice and shirts and dresses and socks and a blow-by-blow of what Captain Adventure is doing and whether or not fairies are in the backyard and how come the neighbor is walking on the street…well, one gets a little glazed over.

Danger Mouse can let loose a wail that sounds remarkably like someone has driven a fire truck into the house. Unfortunately, this does not generally result in the attention she’d like. It tends to result in a shout of, “TAKE THAT NOISE UPSTAIRS!! COME BACK WHEN YOU CAN TALK TO ME IN WORDS!!!” (But of course, trying to ‘use words’ in a conversational manner around here is like trying to discuss philosophy over a glass of nice wine in a sawmill…)

Eldest, of course, is developing more adult-like methods. She’s learned to wait for lulls in the constant roar of noise, and to ensure she has your attention before she starts talking (a common mistake from the younger siblings, who begin asking for things while they have their little backs to you and then get upset because you didn’t even realize they were talking). Unfortunately, she still hasn’t quite gotten to the level of understanding timing. For example, asking Mommy for a soda while she is running around getting towels to clean up the four gallon puddle of milk she just spilled? Probably not a great idea.

Sometimes, I long for the days to come – when my children don’t want a damned thing to do with me. When they’re all in school, most of the day, and have little to say when they get home instead of having to tell me Every Little Thing that happened that day (“…and then Bobby burped and Elsie said ‘Excuse YOU!’ and he burped again so Ms. Whittiker told him to stop it and THEN…!”). When I’ll be able to sit down during the afternoon in a quiet house and do something, without the constant threat of attack from the Toddler Mafia.

Other times, I dread their approach – especially when ‘at school’ becomes ‘away at college’ or ‘grown and flown.’ When the noise is replaced by a silence that isn’t fleeting. When my attention is not so important; maybe nice to have, but not needed.

Yes, those will be sad, lonely days spent in utter stillness, with nothing to do but plan where to eat that night and which movie we might want to catch…

1 comment:

Very Herodotus said...

Those baby boys are something else. Mine is still up my fanny, and he's going on four. I hear that it stops around age five, so I'm trying to enjoy the attention while I have it!