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What I Said/ What You Heard

Mother’s Day 2019 is history. Those who have children probably received cards ranging from crayon drawings to colorful store-bought sentiments.

This year my children solved their procrastination problem by sending flowers ahead of time. This is unusual behavior, considering they usually send a text message on Mother’s Day saying, “Your card will be late this year.” Gotta love those kids.

I have yet to receive a Mother’s Day card which mentions the syndrome children experience called Selective Hearing Loss. Or its related condition called What-I-Said/What-You Heard.

Ask any mom what would happen if she whispered, “We might go on a picnic this week.” Instantly her children would dig out the picnic basket and start making sandwiches. That’s because they thought they heard her say, “Let’s go on a picnic today.”

Or, when you are at the doctor’s office and say, “Junior, the nice nurse is going to give you a shot but it will only sting a little,” their syndrome activates. In Junior’s mind he heard Mom say, “That lady over there wants to stab you with a giant harpoon and it will cause you to bleed out both eyeballs.”

You are driving Johnny home from school when you casually say, “That new boy in your class seems nice. We ought to invite him over to play sometime.” Immediately upon arriving home—and without your knowledge—Johnny calls the new boy, asking him to come spend the weekend at your house. That’s because he thought he heard you say, “Let’s invite that new kid over for an extended stay.”

See how this works? Children are afflicted with this syndrome in other areas. When you say, “Fillmore, I want you to mow the lawn tomorrow, young Fillmore hears, “You can mow the lawn if you get time, after you’ve slept as late as you want, called all your friends, played a few games and read an entire book.” Or, if suffering from Selective Hearing Loss, he will appear in the kitchen about 2:30 pm, yawn, and say, “Why didn’t Dad mow the lawn today?”

You are sitting at the table, trying to convince little Clementine that broccoli really is super food and makes everyone smart. When you say, “Eat your broccoli, Clementine,” she hears, “This is the nastiest stuff ever invented. It will make you sick if you swallow it. Your skin will turn green and your throat will close up forever.”

The most pronounced case of What-I-Said/What-You-Heard occurred at bedtime when our children were small.

When I said, “It’s time to get ready for bed,” their innocent little ears heard, “In a couple hours you need to think about getting ready for bed. Meanwhile, why don’t you make a peanut butter sandwich, play with the dog, call Grandma, read a book and take all the toys out of your toy box?”

Yes, Mother’s Day was a time to bring out all those memories and dust them off. I am waiting to receive some of my cards, since my kids usually send them a week late. However, they’ve never yet found one that mentions their childhood affliction called What-I-Said/What-You-Heard.

What about you? Know any children afflicted with this syndrome? We would love to read your comments below.

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