Creative Parenting 101: I Whistle for My Kids When I Need Them

I used to laugh when my mom would shout, “Mand, er, Kam, er, Angee.” She struggled to get my sisters’ names right. I guess that’s partially her fault for giving all her kids similar sounding names.

She rarely got my name wrong. Instead, she always used tones and I could tell what she wanted by that particular tone. If I heard a monotone and drawn out “Code,” I knew my mom wanted me to peel potatoes, scoop the poop, or gather cans from the fruit room. It was the second worst call I could get from my mom because it usually came right in the middle of my favorite TV shows.

I would get a, “CO” drawn out followed by a high pitched, “Dee.” It drove me nuts. When that tone arrived, I knew whatever fun I was currently having had now reached its expiration date. I’d be shipped off to do something like weed the garden, or mow the lawn, for the next several hours.

I still cringe whenever I hear my name pronounced in this tone. My mom still does it to me when I’m at home visiting and occasionally my wife will use it too. Of course, sometimes Casey does it by accident and sometimes she does it just to bug me.

Those types of mistakes, screwing up the kids’ names, won’t happen to me once Vivi gets a bit older, because I’m going to adopt a similar “mom’s tone” method.  However, I won’t subject my kids to this… exactly. Instead, they’ll each get their own whistle and each whistle will have a distinct sound and pattern.

Addie has had a distinct whistle for several years now. I use it at home when I need to get her attention and I use it when I can’t see her in a store and I need to know where she is. I’ll make that whistle and people all around will stop to look at me. Then Addie will come trotting out of wherever she’s been hiding to see what I need.  It has worked like a charm so far. It doesn’t matter if she’s in a Sponge Bob like trance, she’ll drop what she’s doing and figure out what I need. So far Addie loves the fact that I have a distinct whistle just for her, but I’m sure that will change when she’s 16 and out in a boy’s car getting ready for her first kiss. I’ll be sure to be watching from the front window and just before it’s going to happen, I’ll fling open the front door and unleash the whistle. Talk about a mood killer; one that fits in perfectly with my master plan of keeping my daughter around forever.

Casey does not love it when I use a whistle on her. Maybe that’s because the whistle I have occasionally (always by accident) used on her is the exact whistle I used to use for my dog Coco when I was a teenager. Her dislike of the whistle is understandable. She’s not my pet, and she’s certainly not my dog. Instead, I’ll usually call for “Red” or “Lady” (Let’s not mention that I had a dog named “Lady.”) in stores and Casey knows that’s me looking for her. (It can get a bit awkward though when I shout “Lady” in a store and there’s another lady nearby.)

Do you have any similar methods that you use to make sure you’re calling the right kid or spouse/significant other?

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