Boy: in time-out
Me: in kitchen

Boy: Can I come out now?
Me: Yes.
Boy: WHAT?
Me: Come out.

Boy: Can I have a snack.
Me: Sure.
Boy: What?

It’s not a hearing problem. If I’m five blocks away and murmur to my Patient Husband, “Maybe we should get some ice cream,” the boy will meet me at the front door with a spoon and a bowl in hand and won’t say “Hello” but rather “what flavor?” I remember my other son doing this too, asking a question and in that split-second between asking and answering, he’d forget his question.


I’m not sure if it’s a neural connector problem or just the age.

My absolute favorite:

Keep in mind, the five year old can talk for two hours at a stretch without ever pausing for breath, demanding my attention the whole time. But even there, he spaces himself off and changes subjects randomly mid-sentence. So it’s no wonder we get conversations like this:

Me, to Patient Husband: “It was a tight space to park in.”
Patient Husband: “But you managed fine, didn’t you?”
Me: “Yeah, but it was tight.”
Son: “What was tight?”

All so very frustrating. And yet, if they ask me a question and I don’t hear it, the children all react with high umbrage: how DARE I not hear their every word, even if they locked themselves into a closet on the next floor and whispered it into a pillow? Aren’t they important to me? And what does “Uh-hmm” mean, anyhow?

Boy: Can I have a snack?
Me: Sure.
Boy: But I’m hungry!
Me: That’s why I said sure.

I call it don’t-listenitis, and I wish they’d figure it out. Age five seems to be the worst for it, but apparently it persists into later years. And mothers of five year olds only wish they could contract it.


  1. Cricket

    My daughter says, “You interupted me! I was about to say, ‘Fine!’ So, I won’t say it!”

  2. Capt Cardor

    Reader of Philangelus: I’m sorry. did you write something?

  3. philangelus

    I’m sorry, Captain, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to put your head in the vise.

  4. Ivy

    If you think everyone outgrows this, you haven’t met my users.

    Ivy: What is your e-mail address please?
    User: I don’t know.
    Ivy: Can you get it?
    User: Get what?
    Ivy: Your e-mail address.
    User: Oh, I’m sure I have one.

  5. knit_tgz

    My mother actually made my paediatrician test my hearing, I was THAT distracted. I also would go on an errand (say, from the kitchen into the cupboard, more or less 10 steps away, and forget the one item I was supposed to bring.

  6. Capt Cardor

    Sadly, I still do that and it is very frustrating as I try to recall what I wanted to do.