Dear Kids: I Know You Don’t Believe Me, But I Promise I See You

Hey Mama, watch this dance!

Hey Mom, can I just read you this paper I wrote?

Hey Ma’am, just watch me do this real cool jump on the trampoline!

Hey Mother, check out this really cool thing I built on Minecraft.

This is what life is like with three children. If I dare sit down on the couch, someone needs me to get up to go into the other room to watch the play she just directed. If I try to make a phone call, someone needs me to listen to a soliloquy. If I try to open an email, someone requires my attention on a newly mastered front walkover.

All three of my children have a healthy dose of attention-seeking behaviour. Three cases of The Lookatmes!!, as I like to call it. I’m not really an expert — actually I’m not an expert in any way — but I feel like this is pretty much normal kid behaviour. Kids like attention, kids like approval, kids want you to be impressed, proud, and interested. 

They want you to see them.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes I can’t watch a jump on the trampoline because I really have to pee. Sometimes I don’t want to listen to a 14-page paper on Egypt because I just walked in the door from work and my brain is completely fried. Sometimes I don’t want to watch the dance atthatverymoment because I’m just in the middle of listening to a really great podcast. And, truth be told, I really don’t even understand Minecraft, so showing me a house made out of butter or the cool lighthouse they made after watching some famous You Tuber’s tutorial is not all that interesting to me, especially when I’m worried that I’m going to burn our dinner.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t see them. I see everything.

I see Isabella getting more and more artistic — I have seen her clay figurines go from simple to almost impossibly complex. I have watched her face as she works, I have her concentration face memorized. I’m seeing Josh’s football spiral get more accurate. I see how happy he is when he catches a great pass, I know he’d rather be playing football than just about anything else in the world. I’m seeing Emily’s dance moves improve, as she becomes more and more confident of what her body is capable of. The talent, the joy, the confidence. I’m watching it all. The growth — both physically and as decent human beings — does not go unnoticed.

I’m watching when Emily gives Isabella a pedicure, just because. I love to see Josh and Isabella play a game together, their deep belly giggles are one of my most favourite sounds.

I see them. I see it all. It’s just mostly when they aren’t looking.

Photo: Getty