I wanted to title this post “Big Mouths” but decided that sounded too rude. But, now you have a hint of where I am going with this post.
But, let me say this before you think too badly of me. The alternative title does not refer only to the children, as you will see…
I was in a restaurant the other day with some friends and their children and mine. Their children were well behaved, stayed in their seats, and talked in normal voices.
But mine wouldn’t stay in their seats and talked loudly, screaming across the restaurant and shouting across the table at one another and others.
I apologized for how loudly they spoke and one of my friends asked if I had ever had their hearing checked.
I thought about it for a moment. I’ve had their eyes checked and their teeth checked, but I guess I’ve never had their hearing checked. But the doctor has looked in their ears when they go for a check-up. Does that count?
And, I’ve done the whisper test. You know what I mean. The whisper test! That’s when you speak in succeeding lower tones to see if your child (or baby) can hear you.
It’s like the bottle test for the eyes you did with the children when they were infants to make sure they could see and respond normally. You know, the bottle test! You hold a baby bottle in front of your baby’s face and move it from side to side and up and down to see if their eyes follow it and if they reach for it. And if they do, then, “Whew!” they must be normal!
So having passed the whisper test (and bottle test), I am fairly certain the kids see and hear alright. And any lapses in hearing are probably due to selective listening. They choose not to listen if they don’t want to do what I am telling them!
Since then it’s been bothering me how they acquired this loud talking, these big mouths…
A few days later we went shopping at the grocery store store and I was telling the kids my expectations for their behavior while in the store. I kept noticing people looking at us and when I would look back at them they would look away. After a few of these glares and stares, I realized that I was talking to them with an unusually loud voice.
Maybe I was talking loudly because I was intense about their proper behavior while in the store.
But as I began to monitor the volume and tone of my speech when I talk to them over the next few days, I noticed that I always speak to them in a loud voice!
That’s right. They get their big mouths from me! I have to admit that they talk the way I talk to them–loudly.
So, why is it that when I talk to them, I do it with a raised voice?
I’m normally a quiet and reserved person (or so I thought). Ask anybody that knows me.
But when I talk to the children I become a loud mouth, a big mouth! Why?
Do I use my man voice with them because there’s some question about who’s in charge and I’m trying to assert my authority?
Do I raise my voice to make them listen to me and obey me?
Or maybe it’s just as Squidward has observed: People talk loud when they wanna act smart!
And maybe there’s some question about who’s the smartest around here, the grown-up or the pre-schoolers!
What do you think?
Hi Steve! I think it’s arspeciallywesome that the toddlers allow you to gain so much insight into your own behavior, because ultimately both you and the kids win by you becoming a better person! I think “why” you use your loud voice when you don’t need to doesn’t matter. You don’t like it so now you recognized the behavior you can change it. We can learn SO MUCH ABOUT OURSELVES through kids..especially toddlers!! I always say my toddler is my mirror and my parrot!! Monkey see, monkey do!! Take humor in it, and make changes as you see fit. There will be many more things they will “mirror” back that will make you very proud! Take care! Always enjoy reading your posts, your a great writer!
Thanks, Toddler Mom, for the great comment and insight, You’re right, “why” it happens is not near as important as “how” I can change it. I have been practicing speaking more softly, though, But, it’s gonna take a lot of practice! I just wish I could learn to be calm, patient, firm,and understanding with the kids like you toddler moms are!!