Is it okay to eavesdrop on your children's conversations? Typically, I would say, NO. However when the conversation is directly in your earshot, and your child is talking rather LOUDLY, then eavesdropping it is....
Yesterday, Grumpy wanted to reach out to a "friend" from home. So with much hesitation, I gave him my cell, took him to a spot in the house that has good cell reception, and told him he had 15 minutes to talk with his friend. I went back to doing what all good mom's do, laundry and cleaning and such.
As I was putting away laundry, I hear that Grumpy is becoming more animated in his conversation with his friend. Words that should never in my humble opinion be used when having any kind of conversation are being thrown around, "Yo, Homie, Nah, Yup" ... Of course Grumpy is exaggerating facts, and is spinning things to make him seem AMAZING... but the one conversation starter that pricked my ears the most was, "Yo Homie, I was being chased by the cops today." Now I ask, what mom in her right mind is going to leave the room at this point?
So I listen to Grumpy continue to tell the story of how he was being chased by the cops today while he was on his bike ride, for not wearing his helmet. At the conclusion of this story, before he has the time to launch into another tale, I go out, and remind him that his time is up.
At the conclusion of the call, I go retrieve my phone from him and sit down and ask him to explain his "being chased by a cop" story to me. At first he seems shocked that I know about the situation. I remind him that if he wants to talk to people without being overheard then he needs to keep his voice down. To which he nods his head in acknowledgement, but if you know anything about this dwarf, quiet is not his M.O..
"Well mom it is like this, he says, I was riding my bike today and when I was out there was a police man in his car chasing me." " Why do you think he was chasing you? " " I know he was!" " Did you do something wrong? " "No, I just wasn't wearing my helmet." " Well Grumpy, you do know that here in Florida you do not have to wear your helmet. " " Mom he was chasing me!" " Let me clarify something son, if he were indeed chasing you, then did you outrun him on your bike as he drove behind you in his car?" "No." " He follow you to our home and rang my door bell to tell me what kind of trouble you were in?" " No." " Did he at anytime during the chase, talk to you, come along side you and address you, did he even smile and wave at you at anytime during this chase?" "No." "Son, do you know that our neighborhood has over 500 homes in it and that the police patrol through here about twice a day or so? " "No." " Son, did it ever occur to you that it just happened, that you and the police officer, were going in the same direction at the same time as you were riding home on your bike and as he was patrolling our neighborhood? " "No." somewhat sheepishly this time.
I explained three things to Grumpy this day. One is that people are always out and about in their cars traveling in and out of the neighborhood, and there is almost always someone that will be driving in their car, going at least for part of the way, the same direction as you are biking. The only reason that he noticed this particular vehicle is because of his hyper sensitivity to all things police related. Secondly, I explained to him, that should this have been an actual "chase" the police officer would have made verbal contact with him, giving him instructions as to what he was supposed to do, and that a "chase" would only ensue, should at the point of being spoken to by the officer, he would choose flee the scene. Thirdly, that friends can see through a tall tale, and if you desire to keep and or make new friends, one should always view the situations/stories that they are discussing/telling in light of reality. If one is unsure, it is always safe to keep one's mouth shut...or just simply state the facts.
"Today while riding my bike, I was a little scared when I noticed that a police officer was following me down the road." But of course, what kind of story would that make?
You really can't make this stuff up!