Monday, December 3, 2012

I know, I know


Recently we instituted a family-wide ban on the phrase "I know" as a response to a statement or question.   This was borne out of necessity as our littlest one followed every single statement to him with a terse and snotty "I know" as if he were allergic to NOT knowing something.

It dawned on me that he actually comes by the phrase quite honestly.  I say it all the time. I always thought that I was saying "I know" as a sort of accord with the person with whom I was conversing.  It turns out that what I was really doing was shutting them down and making them feel stupid.  I realized this not from them telling me so but from experiencing it from the other side.  When the curt and shitty reply to some awesome juicy piece of news that I deliver to a loved one ends up with the "I know" response, I shut right the hell DOWN.   So I imagine the apples didn't fall far from the tree.

The whole thing is a bit of a cluster.  Jeff is halfheartedly on board but mostly not.  The kids are constantly interrupting us during a regular discussion where it's perfectly appropriate to say "I know" to tell us that we, in fact, have just broken a rule and said "I know" to which we invariably respond "I know, I know!!" which usually prompts a tearful and rapid exit followed by a slamming door and more "I know, I knows." has done something to me.  It has made me so much more aware of sounding like an officious bitch every time I engage in conversation with anybody.   The fact of the matter is that I don't know jack sh*t about much.  Other people are far more interesting.  In an effort to not appear as stupid as I really am or as un-knowing, I should say, I was going out of my way to tell people how much "I know" when in fact it was just a mask for how much I didn't or don't know.  Not knowing something, it turns out, is a good place to start learning.  While knowing everything is not.


Some phrases we've adopted to replace the offending "I know" include but are not limited to the following list:

"Yeah, yeah"
"Uh, duh"
"I hear you"
"What do you think I am, stupid?"
"I see"
"Uh huh"
"You've already said that 1000 times!"
"That's cool"
"I've heard that before"
"Is that right?"
"How fun, cool, great, wonderful, interesting, etc."

Of course my hit ratio is abysmal.  The kids' is better. They catch themselves and then tell me when they catch themselves.   I hope this is a precursor for other forms of exercising self-control for them and for me. The next issue to tackle is yelling.

I know, I know, right?!!!  Now that's going to be a hard one.

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