what you say, because little ears are listening. This is something I am often aware of when I’m talking to someone with my children present or within earshot. I have been rebuked many times when my wee girl says something that I had said (sometimes weeks before), forgetting that just because she is below my eye level, she still has ears.
Three years ago, I got wise to this and told my two about my MS. I realised it was important to name it, and diffuse the fear of hearing and seeing frowning adults talking to me about it. That kind of freed me too.
So often at the school gates I see parents with their child by the hand talking to other parents saying ‘she’ or ‘he’ as though the little person beneath them is oblivious. They even lower their voice, as if that’s going to work! Yesterday was a bad one. A mother shouted at her four year old son, ‘shut up!’ and then turned to her friend to say loudly ‘he’s such a whinge-bag’. I’ll not tell you what I thought of her.
Our children are so precious, and so easily damaged. The thing I’m most sorry for are the times when I have said something belittling to mine. I can still remember things that were said to me that hurt me, or things that grown-ups didn’t realise I’d heard. I don’t know about you, but I find the hard words stick longer than the good ones.
So, next time you are looming tall over little ones, remember they are listening too. And they won’t forget.