There are times as parents you just think there is no way anything you have taught your kids has stuck. You look at their school work and wonder what it was they were thinking at the time. They pin up their birthday list in your office 8 months before their birthday. You have to argue with them why they need to change their clothes after its been worn for over 24 hours. There are times you just know your words are bouncing right off their little heads.
Then there are times you are shocked to find out they actually are listening to you. Take for instance what I overheard in the kitchen just yesterday. I had left my 10 year old son with my mother one day so he could go to a friends house that is around the corner from her. They spent the day shopping and eating out before he went to his friends. Part of this shopping was for glasses for my mother. The following is the conversation between he and my 11 year old daughter about that part of his day:
Son: You know when I was with Grandma the other day I helped her pick out new glasses.
Daughter: Oh yea? Did you save her a lot of money?
Son: Yup. She got a pair of glasses and sunglasses for less than it would have cost her at the other place just for the glasses!
Daughter: Wow, are they nice?
Son: Yup, maybe next time we go over she will have them so you can see.
At this point I have about fallen out of my chair. For my daughter to go straight to the cost of the glasses and my son to be so excited that he saved money and that he helped pick out women's glasses I was shocked. They have been paying attention all those times I have talked about saving money and getting good deals. My mother was quite happy to have my son along too.
A week before that we went to the zoo. Every year we renew our year pass and get free train ride tickets and guest passes. So we all went on the train at this visit. The driver asks the kids questions about the animals at each stop. Questions like What is the fastest land animal? What is the largest land animal? What is a Rhinos horn made of? How do Flamingos get their pink color? Every question the driver asked my kids were the quickest to respond and they had all the answers correct. I was having doubts that they were learning anything, but they proved me wrong. If they don't learn anything else they could probably work at the zoo driving the train. Now that I know they are in fact teachable and can retain information I will be trying to teach them even more. No, really. I know they are smart kids. But it did make me feel better.
So just when you think they aren't listening, they surprise you and show you that they are in fact paying attention.