Written by ERICA
So, I had a baby. Again. I am now a mother of 2. And even though I realize that gazillions of people in the world have 2+ kids, the first word that comes to mind as I stare at my packed house with 2 children, 1 dog and lots of visitors is YIKES. That said, so far so good. Maggie is a dream baby, and minus the poop-on-the-floor incident, Owen has been a breeze of a big brother. I have plenty of tales to share from the labor/delivery/first few days of miss Maggie’s life, but I’m saving those for next time. Because I’ve been holding on to this one for weeks, and it’s doozy.
It’s about that time I faced the harsh reality that Owen hears EVERYTHING.
If you ever think that your toddler doesn’t understand you, or worse, that they are flat-out ignoring you, I have some bad news. You are wrong.
They hear everything. They understand everything. They are paying attention to everything you say and are waiting for just the right (aka wrong) moment to spill your secrets.
It doesn’t look like he’s paying attention. But he is. He totally is.
I always knew that Owen was pretty smart. He has a fairly large vocabulary for an almost-3-year-old and he picks up on things fast. He has an excellent memory and when he listens, he learns really quickly. But I always assumed that when he wasn’t looking at me/talking to me/interacting with me directly, he wasn’t listening to me. So when he’s playing with his trucks on the carpet while I’m on the phone, there’s no way he’s also taking note of every word out of my mouth. Right?
A little while back AJ and I picked the name Maggie Drew for our baby girl. It took us longer than I expected. Turns out picking the right name is tough; finding a name we both liked, that sounded cute with Owen and made sense for our daughter was a challenge. And once we did settle on Maggie, we wanted to make sure that a) we actually liked it and b) no one found out the name until the baby arrived. To see if we actually liked the name I typed it out numerous times, I made fake stationary to see how it would look in print, and most importantly, AJ and I said the name to each other. When we were home, and no one else was around, we’d use the name in conversation. We’d talk to each other about her. We’d talk to her and call her by name. But we never, I repeat NEVER, told the name to Owen. Our first-born had no idea what we were naming his sister…and any time we asked what her name should be he replied something random/bizarre like “Rashasha” or “Swatsi” or “Mufasa.” The kid knew nothing.
And then it happened. One day Owen was at his grandparents house and when we went to pick him up, we got a little surprise.
Grandparents: "So, Owen told us a secret."
Me: "What do you mean?"
Grandparents: "He told us the baby’s name."
Me: (Laughing nervously.) "That’s not possible. He doesn’t even know the name. Hey Owen, what’s your baby sister’s name?"
Owen: "Maggie! Yeah, her name is Maggie!"
Me: (Silence, as I basically wet my pants.)
We then proceeded to question Owen intensely about how he knew the baby’s name. His answer? He heard us say it. Busted.
So after laughing for approximately 20 minutes and doing some damage control to make sure Owen didn’t spill the beans to anyone else, we moved on.
Even when he’s blowing up my spot and sharing all my secrets, who could get mad at that face?
But wait…if Owen overheard us talking about the baby’s name when we thought he was completely ignoring us, what else has he heard? What other secrets is Owen going to divulge when we least expect it??
The other day Owen screamed "GO CARS GO! GO MOMMY THE LIGHT IS GREEN NOW! UGH GOOOOOO!" while we were driving to school. So apparently he overheard me display some road rage once or twice.
He also comes home from school and gives me the play-by-play of who hit who, who bit who and who had an accident. So, he might seem like he’s focused on his trucks and crayons, but clearly he’s taking mental notes on way more important things like how to embarrass his friends.
Now, from what I remember I haven’t said anything too incriminating in recent weeks. But I also can’t remember 94% of the things that come out of my mouth, and if I’m being honest, I’ve almost definitely talked smack about someone. And even though I’ve already forgotten what I said, I’m slightly nervous that Owen hasn’t.
Maybe Owen has a future as a detective or a paparazzi or some other profession where it pays to be sneaky and observant. However he puts his spy skills to use, I guess I should prepare to watch my words until he’s old enough to zip the lip. Game on.