“Mommy, I have to go potty! Mommy! I have to go potty! Mommy!” Sometimes my daughter has to repeat a request 10 times before I even notice she’s speaking to me. I am a mother and I suffer from Selective Hearing.
I swear I’m not trying to avoid her. My mind is in flight sometimes; it just needs a vacation from the noise. The noise is constant and it’s not white. It’s very colorful. It goes from screaming the numbers during imaginary hide and seek, to pounding on the piano keyboard, to singing the same word over and over and over again. I feel like Jack from The Shining, except the voice is real.
On playdates in the park, my girlfriends hear my kid well before I do. She’ll repeat, “Mommy, will you push me on the swing. Mommy, I need to go potty.” I’m always startled by a nudge, a snap or a clap to wake me from my daze.
I’m often even staring at my daughter on the slides or in the sandbox to assure her safety, but my mind is off smelling salt water, running my feet through sand (the sandbox) and sipping on a Skinny Girl cocktail. My imagination has a nice set of soundproof headphones. I have the ability to mute everyone else around me, while I slip away for just a few seconds of bliss.
My mind is adrift. I’m locked in another world, daydreaming about which suitors Emily will tell to stay or go on that night’s episode of The Bachelor. It’s a necessity to save my sanity. I have excellent focus when it comes to escapism.
There’s also Selective Hearing Lite, where I can hear her mumble something and by the tone I know she’s just announcing she did a deuce in the potty or she wiped her butt all by herself. This is where I subconsciously know to say, “Good job, Babyface! I’m so proud of you.”
This is dangerous. One of these days, I have a feeling she’ll announce she broke something in the house or, even worse, she broke into my make-up and toiletries and decided to do a self-makeover. I can’t help it, though. I’m sick. It’s a disease and I’m pretty sure it’s hereditary.
My mother is a lifelong sufferer. Well, at least for as long as I’ve lived, she has mastered the art of the “Uh huh. Uh huh.” If I tell her something serious in the middle of my mindless dribble, I hear a loud “Huh??”
She is a survivor, though. She has learned to use her Selective Hearing to her advantage. It bleeds into her relationship with my father. If she doesn’t like something he says, she just responds, “my hearing is bad. My hearing is going. I have a problem with my hearing.” Usually, after the third, redundant sentence, my father is onto the next subject. She says she doesn’t know she does this, but I think she’s a good actress.
The only time I can control the disease is when my daughter is within ear range and she’s crying. When her safety is in question, my sanity isn’t a factor. Of course, in my old age, my physical hearing has started to fail me, so she may be s#$* out of luck.