When your kids are young and you need to keep a secret from them all you have to do is whisper. As they get older you’ll need to start spelling things…’should we go for I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M?’ Thanks to all our wonderful teachers we now have Kindergarteners who can spell, so if they can pay attention long enough you’re busted there too.
We’ve taken to speaking in our own kind of code language in an effort to throw the kids off the scent. I figure if you can make it sound really boring or ‘grown-up’ then they’re going to ignore you even more than they normally do. Of course as is the case with most things related to children, when you DON’T want them to listen they’re right there like the Government tapping your phone (no I’m not paranoid…wait…I am now).
This comes in handy if you’re in the car discussing plans that may or may not happen. There’s nothing worse that saying, ‘maybe we’ll go to Six Flags on Saturday’ and then having to cancel for some reason. You’ll never hear the end of it…’but youuuuuu said we were goooiinnnngggg!!!!’
So here’s how it goes down. Try to use way more words than necessary to explain things and the bigger and more complicated the better. ‘My darling (gooey talk like this turns them off right away) perhaps it would be feasible for the nuclear family unit to travel across state lines to the outdoor entertainment center indicated by the half-dozen waving items.’ Kids get nothing out of that, trust me. of course you do run the risk of confusing your spouse, ‘you want to go to the nuclear power plant?’
Once in a while a bright kid (damn you again teachers) will pick up on a word and start asking questions. You can either play dumb or you can challenge them to see if they can figure out what you’re really saying. Our 10 year-old son tries this sometimes, but he’s only managed to confuse himself more in the process. The other kids are 6 and 2 so they’re like Snoopy and only hear, ‘blah blah blah-blah blah ICE CREAM blah blah blah.’
It’s oddly empowering to pull the proverbial wool over even the youngest child’s eyes. But not unlike destroying them in checkers or beating them in a foot race, it’s a hollow victory. And more often that not we’re really only amusing ourselves because the kids are in the back seat watching a movie with headphones on.