Friday, February 18, 2011

Did you hear that? I didn't

Selective hearing is an interesting condition, and not something I did on purpose.
You see, when my children were little I never heard them at night.
Honest, I did not do it on purpose, I just didn't hear them.
They could squawk in the black of night and I would be blissfully asleep, dreaming about not hearing any noise so I would not have to get up at some unholy hour.
My wife, on the other hand, would hear just about every little sound they made.
If they rolled over and rustled their sheets a little too loudly, the Missus was wide awake. Meanwhile, they could be playing the drums and I would be sleeping away without a care in the world.
To put it mildly, this used to drive my wife nuts.
"Didn't you hear Junior crying for juice last night at 3 a.m?"
"Really? You didn't hear a thing?"
"Sorry dear, but the only thing I was aware of last night was the dream I had where I was wearing a purple spandex uni-tard while juggling two squirrels and a chihuahua. What do you think that means?"
She would then tell me the tale of her dragging herself out of bed at an hour no one should have to, to take the little one a cup of juice.
When the youngsters were babies and I did not have the ability to feed them, it was not that much of an issue.
I did not have the necessary equipment to make the situation better, so the Missus would take care of things while I snoozed away – a situation I felt guilty about. Honest, I did, really.
The problems really began when they got older and I still did not hear them.
I suspect right about now there are many mothers out there wishing me some sort of annoying rash as pay back for all those extra hours of sleep I was able to get.
Sorry ladies, but that darned selective hearing selected not to hear the little ones in the dead of night - that is unless my wife was not around.
One weekend, she went out of town for a work thing (or so she claimed anyway) which left me alone with two small kids and a dog.
Being the only parent in the house, an amazing thing happened ñ I could hear every noise the offspring made.
In fact, my hearing became so in tune with the household, the dog would fart and I would sit bolt upright.
One of the kids would rustle in his bed and I was suddenly more awake than a caffeine addict after getting a Starbucks fix. It sucked.
I survived the weekend, expanded my appreciation for my wife and her mothering abilities, and found the whole thing rather odd.
When the Missus returned, I told her about how a bug belch would wake me up and I could tell she was enjoying this new-found hearing ability.
Her eyes got a dreamy, far-away, glazed-over look as she anticipated more sleep-filled nights while we shared the late-night duties of raising our spawn.
My new super sonic hearing did not last however, and the first night the little woman was home I could have slept through a thermal-nuclear strike.
I heard nothing, not a peep, not a rustle, not a single blessed sound.
But every time my wife had to go out of town, I would tune in to the sounds coming from the kid's rooms like an old mother hen ñ a flabby, bald mother hen, but a mother hen nonetheless.
So why does this happen? Beats me (something my wife felt like doing on more than one occasion I am sure), but that's the way it was.
Now that my kids are teenagers they have selective hearing.
ìClean up your roomî somehow translates into ìI have nothing for you to do today, so play video games and talk to your friends online.î
The only time they truly hear what I have to say is if the words ìmoneyî and ìfoodî are involved.
Darn that selective hearing.

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