Being a mother gives you a lot to work on. Sometimes you're aware you need to work on something. And sometimes it takes a little help to see the changes that need to be made.
In my defense, Ellie talks A LOT. Her mouth is constantly moving. She narrates everything she does. A lot of the time she's just talking to herself, but then again a lot of the time she's talking to me.
The problem is differentiating between the two. This is where I get myself into trouble.
The other day we were out running errands. She had been chattering in the backseat the whole time, and eventually I just sort of tuned her out. I was listening to NPR. It's not like music - you can't just have it on in the background. There are people talking. I needed to hear what was being said. Of course I did. But when the little voice in the backseat started saying, "Mom. Mom? MOM!" with increasing volume and intensity, I realized a reply was expected. So I jumped in with a standard Mommy's-tuning-you-out-but-doesn't-want-you-to-feel-bad-about-it response: "Oh, yeah?"
Clearly I've been using this one too much.
She became very indignant. "Mom! Stop saying 'Oh, yeah'!"
So I apologized and tried to keep up.
But I got busy listening again. For a while I at least remembered to use some standard variants: "Uh-huh" "That's crazy!" "Really?" "No way!" "Mmm-hmm" ("Mmm-hmm?" works well, too) "You're so silly!" "Oh, boy!" You can tell by her tone which basic kind of response is required.
Then I forgot. I said, "Oh, yeah?" again. And, oh, she's on to me. She may not have caught on to the others yet, but she knows exactly what "Oh, yeah?" means. It means Mom's not really listening, and Something Should Be Done about this.
Ellie is a take charge kind of girl. She announced, "Mom, we need to get that word out of your mouth!"
I'm trying, kiddo. Oh, yeah, I'm trying.