Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Selectively Deaf Mothers


Can you not HEAR the toddler screaming your name? Because you seem to be able to hear your girlfriend sitting across the table.

Can you not HEAR the 2 year-old asking “Mommywhatsthat?” every three seconds? Because the IM beep on your laptop appears to be working.

Can you not HEAR the child screaming as it runs up and down the aisle of the train? Because your cell phone seems to be getting pretty good reception.
When your water broke, did your eardrums go with it?

What is it with mothers and the ability to just completely tune out a yelling child? How is this possible? I never see this with fathers. I never see a man completely ignoring a child who is yelling its purple head off. It seems to only be mothers. Are they just as sick of the kid as I am?

I am, clearly, not a parent. I’ve never had a child of my own to love, hold and, apparently, ignore. And I have never been around someone so much who is so dependent on me that there are times I can’t even listen to him.

A few years ago, some people I graduated high school with called me up and we all went to lunch together. There were 5 of us. We all came alone, except one of us brought her child. It became impossible to carry on a conversation as this child’s constant needs seemed to be heard only by us and not his mother, who would just continue talking over the demands/tantrums/screams of her child. When she called me the next day to say how much fun she had and wanted to do it again, I said, “I’d love to, but next time you have to leave your child at home so that we get a chance to talk.” According to the grapevine, Terry was mortified, and I never heard from her again. Just being honest here.

When I go to a restaurant, I sometimes ask for the table next to the screaming infant because that is, invariably, where the host/ess will seat me anyway (so we may as well work as a team here).

Can these mothers also not hear fire engines and police sirens when they choose? Can jack-hammering go unnoticed? If these same mothers were sea captains, would they crash their boats into the rocks because the fog horn may as well have been a whisper?

I am envious. I wish I could choose to hear what I wanted, when I wanted. I wish I could choose to not hear the recycling truck dumping bottles at 6AM. I wish I could choose to not hear the city street repair ripping up the asphalt outside my house each morning. And I wish to God I could choose to not hear the kid talking in the movie theater.

Just like its mother does.


  1. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>....Dop--

    Need to show a bit more compassion. PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE. Remember you were one of those screaming kids at one point.


  2. Dop -- I had my own experience on Sunday when I went to IKEA. And believe me, if you asked, EVERYONE in that store would have said: 'Hey Lady, can you hear your baby screaming at the top of her lungs?' And this has nothing to do with compassion, because a compassionate woman would not let her child cry and cry and cry for no reason, with few exceptions.

  3. Compassion-bullshit! Part of raising a child is training it manners. Sure, an infant is too young-but in that case mommy should have the manners to TAKE IT OUT OF THE ROOM! And by three or four, they all know what they're doing. Can you say power trip? And again, mommy should have the MANNERS to get the child out of the room. Unless the kid's on fire, adults take precedence.

  4. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>People -

    Seem to have struck a cord here with my use of the word compassion. It shows how one-sided, perhaps selfish we can be. Don't get me wrong, I am all for taking some disciplinary action, as many kids today just don't get enough of it (too many soft "time outs" -that I definitely believe is bullcrap). But unless you are around the parent and her/his child all the time (which clearly is not the case here/ a mere chance meeting), I've learned not to assume what might be transpiring and why the parent might be ignoring the child. Some circumstances require ignoring the child because its all an attention getting scheme. I don't make automatic judgments anymore because of what I have seen people do around my sister who happens to have a 13 year old 'severely autistic' child. She and her husband have chosen to try to raise my nephew as a normal child (when so many people would simply say, 'why don't you institutionalize him). If you have any idea about autism, a child can have uncontrollable quirks, outbursts, etc. And how do people react if this happens in a public place...much like what I am seeing here in terms if comments and how Dop has responded.

    No one ever takes a moment to even wonder what the parent might be handling. ( And in case any of you are thinking why would his sister put up with any antics dished out by my autistic nephew, she has to for her own sanity, and yes, if they are severe enough she will walk out of the public location and attempt to admonish him, much like a normal child and as hard as it may be to get him to understand. But this is not the point here.).

    The point is, DON'T ASSUME you know what is going own when I child is reacting the way he/she is, and a parent doesn't react in a manner he/she should. Heck, in so any places, a parent gives a child a simple swat on the rear and you have people calling police,screaming child abuse.

    Enough said.


  5. Tony:

    How 'bout I buy you a beer? I'll have Norbert bring it over to you.


  6. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>DD&C -

    I probably need a cold beer about right now, to cool off some of the 'searing steam' I have running through me. You can have Norbert send over a 'chaser' too.


  7. MTnester here. Single Parent. Kids grown. Regularly stop by to read the great posts. I couldn't relate to this one until tonight when I took my parents out to eat at Cracker Barrel. I didn't hear the kid screaming until mom blurted out with major frustration, "Why is it we always get seated by screaming kids?" I thought of this post. How funny. I stand enlightened. I just hope I don't start noticing screaming kids every where. If I do- Thanks Buddy. LOL.

  8. Hilarious. I LOVE it (not) when parents bring their infants and toddlers to the movies. I know babysitters are expensive, but a 2 year old (or youner) doesn't have the natural tendency to sit in a semi-dark room for 2+ hours, people!! When I went to see "The Blair Witch Project," there were people with their infants in the audience. They proceeded to do what infants do--cry, coo, etc. This is by no means the fault of the kid; the kids are doing what they do. This is ENTIRELY the fault of the parents. Ridiculous...