So there is a famous family story about me that goes like this: when I was a wee lass of maybe seven or eight, my mom and I were driving on Bender Lane and passed a lovely little pond with mallard ducks swimming on it. Excited about seeing this little bit of nature, I exclaimed to my mother, "Look, mom, it's a mallard duck!" to which she gave no reply. "Mom! Look! Mallard ducks!" I tried again. Getting no answer, I repeated my sentence, thinking that surely she had not heard me. "Mom! Mallard ducks! LOOK!" to which she quite exasperatedly replied, "YES! OKAY! I see them! Mallard ducks!"
To my parents, this was a great example of being parents: that your children require an enthusiastic answer for every utterance, and of course that becomes quite exhausting. I, on the other hand, did not quite understand the big deal about all of this for the longest time. I was just trying to show my mom the darn ducks, and since 99% of the time, she had always responded to what I said, what was the big deal about this story?
Fast forward thirty years, give or take, and now that little girl has three kids of her own, fighting for her attention, and is ten and a half years into this parenting gig. And now I have a little boy fascinated by all things construction-related, and every time we pass a work site, Alec says, "Scoop! Scooop! SCOOP!!!" because he thinks every backhoe and digging machine looks like the character of Scoop from Bob the Builder.
So today, as we are passing a rather impressive work site, Alec starts yelling, "SCOOP! SCOOP!" and I answer, "Yes! I see!" and things like, "Look at that backhoe!" and "What a big building!" and he responds to every sentence I say with, "SCOOOOP!!!"
And the only thing that stops him is when I say, "Yes! YES! Scoop! I see Scoop! I SEE SCOOP!"
And I realize that this is the Mallard Duck Incident all over again.
And I think these stories are also a testament to the lengths children will go to to make sure that they are heard. And really listened to.