Do your kids ever ignore you?
"Come to dinner." Nobody moves.
"Do your homework." Stillness.
"Okay everybody, let's clean up." Everyone acts as if you do not exist.
In the past, I would repeat requests until I found myself stomping around the house, yelling about WHY no one listens to ME. But now, the freight train comes.
What, exactly, is the freight train?
If you're a mother, you will recognize it. It's that gradual out of control feeling you get when your kids aren't listening. The more they ignore you, the faster it comes flying down the tracks. I have discovered that if I begin to announce the arrival of the freight train when I feel it speeding toward the station, my kids get it.
"Come to dinner." Nothing. "I think I hear the freight train," I say.
"Do your homework." Nobody moves. "I can see the smoke."
"Seven minute clean up." Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. "If you don't want the freight train to pull into the station, you better get moving. Now."
The instant I mention the smoke, the lights, the sound of the clackity clack down the track, they understand: this is their warning. It is not The Little Engine That Could. Nor is it Thomas the Tank Engine. It is The Freight Train.
And you can't ignore a freight train.
See you Monday.