Most days I wonder if anything I say is getting through to David. Usually I talk, and his eyes glaze over.
But today– proof that some things sink in.
We ate lunch at one of those western-themed steakhouses that give you big buckets of peanuts to snack on. David loves to crack open the shells, and fill up on the contents so he’s not hungry when his food arrives.
He was scarfing down peanuts, and neatly collecting the shells on a napkin.
“David, you know you’re supposed to just throw those on the floor here.”
His head snapped up from the kiddie menu he was studying, and he looked at me incredulously. “What?”
“The peanut shells. You don’t have to do that. You can just throw them on the floor.”
“Huh?” With a confused look on his face he looked down at the worn wooden floorboards.
David looked up. “Throw them on the floor?” he asked suspiciously like he thought I was trying to trick him.
“Yeah. It’s OK. You can do that here. See?” and I tossed a shell down.
When I did that I saw something flicker in David’s eyes. That flicker was the realization that the truth he’d based his entire life on had just been irrevocably altered.
Think about it.
Here was his mother who is always telling him, “Don’t spill that! Don’t get cookies crumbs everywhere! Take you shoes off when you walk on the carpet! Wash your hands! CLEAN YOUR ROOM!” throwing what was essentially trash on the floor. And she was saying it was OK.
With disbelief still registering on his face David gingerly picked up one peanut shell. Slowly he placed his hand down at his side, let go of the shell and it fell to the floor with a plink. He kept looking at me the entire time, half waiting for me to freak out and reprimand him for making a mess.
But no reprimand came, and soon he was tossing peanut shells over his shoulder and left and right like a pro.
I guess David was listening to me all along. And here I thought I was wasting my breath. Beating my head against a wall.
So to all you moms out there who keep wondering, “Does it even matter if I repeat this again for the 557th time?”
Yes it does.
That 557th time might one be the one time they actually pay attention.
You just never know.
Until you tell them to throw peanut shells on the floor.
Have you even been shocked to discover that your kids actually listened to something you told them?