Shakespeare once penned, “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players/They have their exits and their entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts…”
On the stage that has been set for me, I play the role of the mother. So far, I’ve had a 7-year run, and though I sometimes feel I have been typecast, it’s a role I am comfortable with. Except the times I miss a cue.
On the stage, a missed cue can lead to embarrassment and disaster. So it is when a parent misses and/or misinterprets a child’s cues. We learned this lesson with Omelette one fateful evening.
Roostler and I had decided to go to one of our frequent haunts for dinner. Before we left, Omelette had complained that she wasn’t feeling well. I dismissed this as her simply being hungry. So we proceeded with our plans. Shortly after we arrived at our destination, we discovered that she really wasn’t feeling well. In fact, the entire section of the waiting area where we were seated became witness to our misfortune. (I have never seen an old couple make such a hasty exit.) Needless to say our performance that evening did not receive rave reviews.
After this incident, you might think I wouldn’t miss the same cue twice. But you would be wrong. One morning as we were preparing to leave for school, Omelette once again complained that she wasn’t feeling well. Again, I misinterpreted her cue. Thinking she might be pulling the I’m-too-sick-to-go-to-school trick, I hustled her out the door and into the car. From her seat, however, she leaned out and lost her breakfast all over the driveway. So we promptly headed back into the house, and I made a mental note never again to misinterpret the I’m-not-feeling-well cue. So far I haven’t.
Now let’s move on to Early Bird’s cues. As her speech is not quite clear, her cues are a bit harder to interpret. So when she says, “I poop,” this could mean a number of different things. There is the obvious interpretation that she is in need of a diaper change. Or, perhaps she has misinterpreted her own body’s cues and actually has gas. Still a third option is that she needs to sit on the potty. She has been reluctant to actually do anything in the potty, though, so it was easy to miss her cue entirely when she delivered the “I poop” line just before nap time. Roostler checked her diaper only to find it clean and dry. So he dismissed it as gas and laid her down for her nap. A few minutes later, she tore down the hall in what we thought was one of her classic escape attempts. Upon being returned to her bed, she promptly sat back up and tore down the hall once more. This pattern repeated itself until it was discovered that for the first time, our daughter had been trying to tell us that she needed to sit on the potty.
The role of mother would be a lot easier if there were someone off-stage holding cue cards. My scenes would go so much more smoothly. I would know, for example, that the line after “I’m not feeling well” is not “Oh, you’re probably just hungry” or “You’re fine. It’s time to go to school.” I would also know to follow “I poop” with “Let’s go sit on the potty.” But this is too much to hope for an act that is not even scripted.
Just ask the people I work with…
What about you? What cues have you misinterpreted or missed? I’d love to hear your stories!