Kathy Petersen’s Blog

I live in an echo chamber

Posted in children by Kathy on November 3, 2008

I’m sure my experiences are not unique to me. Maybe some (or all) of you can sympathize.

I have a four-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old. My younger son frequently comes up to me saying things, and I always have to repeat them back to him. Which means that if I can’t understand what he’s saying, he keeps saying it over and over and over until I echo it back to him. He also echos what I say a lot. And he echoes what his brother says, too. And my older son echoes what my younger son says. And he makes me echo him, too — I’m assuming to prove that I did actually understand him.

So, all day, every day, I hear the same words and phrases over and over and over and over and over. And I also have to participate in the saying of those words and phrases over and over and over.

And if that’s not enough, most of the time when I say something — ask a question, or give a command, or whatever… well, let me just see if I can authentically relate to you what is so frequently my life…

Me: Ok, boys, let’s eat some breakfast.

Keith: What’d you say?

Seth: What say?

Me (more slowly and distinctly): Let’s…eat…break.fast.

Seth: Ee breh-fes.

Keith: What’s for breakfast?

Seth: What breakfast?

Me: Toast.

Seth: Toe!

Keith: What’s toast?

Seth? What toast?

Me (very patiently): Toast is bread that is… toasted… cooked again. Then I put butter on it.

Seth: Bread… butter onit.

Keith: What’s butter?

Seth: What butter?

Me: Just eat your toast.

Seth: Ee toe!

Keith: What’s toast?

Seth: What toast?

Me: Just be quiet and eat your toast.

Keith: What’s toast?!

Seth: What toast?!

Me: That is toast.

Keith: Is this toast?

Seth: This toast?

Me: [silence — trying ignoring them]

Keith: Is this toast?

Seth: This toast?

Me (giving in, said with gritted teeth): Yes, this is toast.

Keith: This is toast.

Seth: This toast!

Keith: What is this? (talking about the toast he is holding)

Seth: What this?

Me: It’stoastjusteatit!!

And some people wonder what I do all day! 🙂 And this is just the first half-hour of my day! You should see all 14 hours they’re awake.

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