Cameron is suffering from a horrendous disease called Momus Interruptus. The symptoms are all there; an incessant need to talk at all times, a deep desire to be heard no matter what other conversations may be occuring at the time, and an uncanny knack for opening his mouth as soon as mom starts talking. Now usually the treatment of such a disease is quite simple, and patients generally respond well when exposed to prolonged bouts of treatment. However, Cameron’s case appears to be terminal…because if he interrupts and talks over me just one more time he may not make it to his 5th birthday.
All kids suffer from this in one form or another. I’m quite certain every single mom in the world has been having a conversation and heard the nagging, “mom…mom…mom…mom…mom…mom…mom…mom…” Brendan did it when he was young (oh who am I kidding, he just did it tonight over dinner) and I swore at the time that it had to be the most irritating thing any kid could possibly do. Then came Cameron…
Cameron has a knack for interrupting that is a million times more annoying that the incessant “mom” call. I’m not quite sure how he knows to do it, but whenever I call Matt’s name to get his attention so we can discuss something Cameron will appear from anywhere in the house and start talking. What’s worse is I will let him finish whatever it is he’s saying and wait for him to be quiet before trying to start whatever conversation I had been about to when he came up. Inevitably as soon as I open my mouth and get the first half sylable out he starts talking again. I always assume he wasn’t quite finished, let him have his say then when he’s quiet a second time I try again. Incredibly, the exact same thing happens. It depends on the day how long it will be before my patience runs out, but he’s done this as many as 7 times in a single conversation.
We have tried everything to make him understand what he’s doing is wrong, but nothing seems to be penetrating that thick skull. He has absolutely no understanding that anyone around him may be having a conversation that doesn’t involve him. At least in Brendan’s case, he is learning. He’s not perfect at remembering not to interrupt (what 8 year old is?) but at least once I correct him he’s good for an hour or two. My initial tactic was to ignore the interrupting child and go on with my conversation. Unfortunately they annoy me to the point where I can no longer concentrate on what I’m trying to say so I’m unable to ignore them for long.
My next tactic was interrupt my conversation and in the most annoyed and exasperated voice possible look to them and say, “What?” My goal with this one was to get them to understand how irritating what they were doing was and hopefully teach them to not want to hear that voice ever again. That didn’t work either. Either they didn’t understand the subtlety of the tactic, or they just plain didn’t care that it annoyed me.
My final, and current, tactic is to intterupt my conversation long enough to let them know I’ll be with them in a minute as soon as I’ve finished my current conversation, and then return to the conversation I was having. This works quite well with the 8 year old, but not the 4 year old. Once I’ve diverted my attention for even a moment he feels it is acceptable to launch into his full conversation.
One of these days I’m sure I’ll be able to carry on a full conversation without a constant interruption from my children. It may require me to employ the use of duct tape in order to accomplish this goal, but I am certain I will make it happen.