What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Usually, one conversation or another that I’ve had with my kids is a highlight of my day. They’re sure to either say something hilarious, unintentionally heartwarming or completely absurd. And sometimes it’s all three in one sitting. Those are my favorite.

Listening to them talk almost always leaves me smiling. The way they mispronounce words, butcher basic rules of grammar, speak in absolutes, or very seriously explain to me the inner workings of their little minds, it is always wildly entertaining.

Until one of us can’t understand what the other is talking about. Then we end up basically wanting to strangle one another and/or never, ever speak to each other again. Ever.

The other day my 6-year-old was asking me about his upcoming Winter Break. He is a very serious kid who really listens to what we say, remembers it, and calls us on it if he thinks we’re wrong. So I try as hard as possible to figure out exactly what he wants to know before I answer his questions. Except when it’s something I’ve already decided to lie about, of course.

Anyway…he was asking me how many more days there were until Winter Break. Because I knew he’d never speak to me again if I gave him a “wrong” answer, I wanted to clarify the question.

“Do you mean school days or total days, including weekends?”

“No. Mom. I want to know how many days there are until the break.”

“I know. I’m asking you if you want me to tell you how many days you have to go to class or if you want to know the total number of days, including days you’ll be home on the weekend.”

“MOM. Listen to me. I want to know how many days I have left before Winter Break. Just tell me that.”

“Dylan, I am trying to answer your question. You have 7 days of class left, but 9 days total because there’s a weekend coming up. SO, seven days of actually being in school, but you have to count 9 days on the calendar.”

“MOOOOMMMMMMM. I have NO IDEA what you are talking about right now. Just forget it.”

This is just one little example. There are countless instances that one of us has said “What?” so many times during a conversation that we have finally just given up, stopped talking, and acted like it never happened. It sometimes seems as if we are speaking two entirely different languages.

Maybe we are.

But does it ever get better? As an adult I sometimes have conversations just like this with my own mother, so that means one of two things:

  1. There will always be some sort of communication gap between a parent and their child.
  2. I’m the problem.

Does this same thing happen to you? What is the funniest, most confusing conversation you have ever had with your kids?

Photo Credit: Flickr

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