Lately I’ve been thinking about communication. Having a 4-year-old who never stops talking and a 2-year-old who refuses to talk will do that to a person.
Communication is a tricky thing. When somebody mentions being objective, I think, “How is that even possible?” Everything is subjective. I know some of you will argue that point with me, and that’s okay. I won’t take it personally, even if you are wrong. (See what I did there? Hee.)
You never know what a person will hear when you open your mouth. I grew up believing the Sara Lee slogan was “Nobody does it like Sara Lee.” Makes sense, right? At some point during my teenage years, I found out the actual slogan is “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.” (Which is way lamer. They should’ve gone with my slogan. Also, if you type the word “slogan” too many times, it looks really weird.) The point is, I heard something completely different from what the company intended, but it made sense in my head.
Another example: I got a haircut. When Car saw it, he said, “Wow. That’s short.” Is that what I heard? Of course not. In my head, it sounded something like this: “Holy crap, you cut off all your hair and I really hate it. What were you thinking? And how much did it cost? Seriously, what is wrong with you? You aren’t even attractive to me anymore. Go in the other room.”
Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. But only a little, because that’s how my brain works. (I know. It’s scary. Aren’t you glad you’re not married to me? Since the majority of my readers are 1) male family members or 2) female, I’m guessing the answer is a resounding yes.)
Little G’s communication consists of a series of consonants followed by a long vowel sound. He’ll point at something and say, “Buuuuuuuuuuh!” I’ll try handing him his ball, his milk, his bear…all the while, he’s becoming more and more angry. Finally, I toss his blanket at him. He grins, rubs it against his face, and goes merrily on his way. I get so frustrated by this, but so does Little G. In my mind, I don’t get why he can’t just say the word “blanket,” or something that vaguely sounds like it. I’m sure he’s wondering why the crazy lady doesn’t understand his very clearly expressed desires.
It would probably be useful in my life to treat all my conversations like I’m talking to Little G. Instead of spending all my time focusing on what I’m trying to get out of an exchange, I need to focus on what the other person is really trying to convey (as well as how they’re interpreting what I’m saying).
Huh. I think I just said I need to be less self-centered. That can’t be right.
Today Big G told me he wanted to go outside in his “barrel feet.” It’s not the first time he’s used this phrase, and it cracks me up every time. I consider correcting him, but what’s the point? He’ll figure it out eventually and, until then, I get a hearty laugh. Besides, we both know what he means, and some days that’s good enough.
*Even the almighty WordPress proofreader can’t interpret what Little G is saying.