The 10 Things I Can't Get My Kids To Do

Our kids are pretty incredible, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own limitations...

We hear and read a lot about what amazing things our children can do. Facebook is filled with boastful posts showcasing the wonderful achievements of our offspring. There are even entire TV series that display the talents of our children, and I’m no exception; I like to boast about my kids too.
But maybe it’s time to talk about some of the things it’s nearly impossible to get our brilliant children to do. I’ve just spent two weeks vacation with my kids and have been reminded of some of those impossibilities.
1. Listening
Both my children have supposedly been blessed with perfect hearing. I have seen the proof of this in many instances. For example, I have a bad habit of commenting, under my breath, while driving when other drivers do ridiculous things. Even though the car will have the radio on, in addition to the road noise, my son can clearly discern every syllable I mutter. Usually, they are words NOT intended for young ears.  But without exception, he hears EVERY word I say in this instance. What I CANNOT get him to do is hear me when I asked him to TURN OFF THE iPad, even though I am speaking in a quiet room within 3 metres, at 85 decibels. Remarkably he can never hear me, at least not the first four times I say it!
2. Finding Shoes
My two-year-old daughter has another unique talent. She cannot lose shoes on a holiday or weekend. Shoes can only be lost Monday thru Friday between 7:45 AM and 8:00 AM with special attention to detail on mornings when Daddy has an important meeting scheduled for first thing in the morning. It’s impossible to lose shoes on days where we are not rushed and have plenty of time to look for them…in places like the dog's kibble storage pail.
3. Everything In Its Case
My remarkably clever eight-year-old just read a series of books in a few weeks, can interpret Lego instructions with ease, and recognize every automotive symbol on a car at 100 metres. BUT he cannot manage to place DVD’s or Nintendo discs back into their respective cases. It’s impossible. From speaking to other parents apparently, this is a common affliction. This runs very closely with NEVER having all the matching cases for the Nintendo games, as there are always at least two discs with NO jacket to be found. 
4. Sleeping In
Simply a concept OTHER families practice. My children cannot comprehend what “sleeping in” might be. This is especially true on weekends and holidays. Both my two-year-old and eight-year-old were born with the Early Bird gene. I don’t think my eldest has ever slept past 8:30 AM, even when sick or kept up extremely late. My daughter has the same affliction and this weekend at the cottage with the grandparents proved it. On our best morning, we slept until 7:30 which felt like a miracle. The other two mornings were 5:40 AM and 6:15AM. They are both, however, well equipped to fall asleep during the last 7 minutes of a 5-hour commute home from the cottage.  
5. Hanging Swimsuits
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to swim all summer. Our backyard pool, a cottage in the family, and our close proximity to the lake provide us with many opportunities to swim. My son is already a great swimmer, and his little sister is coming along nicely. No issue there… but what clearly is impossible when you are eight, is to actually hang up a wet bathing suit on the clothes line, or even put it in the bath tub. This affliction may be related to the iPad hearing loss issue. Being shown, reminded, and as a last resort, threatened has no impact on the ability for the wet bathing suit to make it from the floor, lawn, or shed to the clothes line. Only a parent is capable of this herculean feat. 
6. Road Spillin'
We can often go an entire week in our house without a spilled drink or plate of lasagna dropped on a rug. However, our kids are simply unable to complete a road trip without spilling food in and on our vehicle. At times I remember enviously the vinyl upholstery and rubber mat floors of the cars of my youth. Today, carpeted vehicles with soft cloth upholstery are great at absorbing everything McDonald’s offers on its menu. And if you want to know what happens to milk when it’s spilled on and under a car seat booster, just ask...
7. Getting Their 5-A-Day
Do French fries count as a vegetable? When you are the home to the pickiest eater on the planet, where a “Kitkat” chocolate bar from the U.S. is left 2/3’s uneaten because it tastes "different,” eating broccoli, cauliflower or carrots is just an impossibility.
8. Library Books
My son is excellent at picking out library books at school, excels at bringing them home and showing them to us proudly. He also does very well at reading them. But when it comes to returning them to the library, the wheels fall off the bus. It’s apparently impossible to return a library book on time or locate it without a major meltdown three minutes before it’s time to leave for school.    
9. The “Off” Switch
Both my kids are masterful “starters”. Even at two, given the chance, my daughter can start the iPad and knows how to spark up my laptop. She also knows the remote control for the TV. But somehow neither of my kids can manage to turn any appliance ‘OFF”! No matter how many times it’s been demonstrated, the concept of turning a light or TV off when it's not in use is up there with Quantum physics. It just doesn’t register on the kid radar.
10. The Age Old Toilet Seat Dilemma
While my son brought home an impressive report card this spring and understands the programing of a Nintendo Wii, the concept of how a toilet seat works remains elusive. On some days we are able to achieve the flush after business is complete. But to achieve both lifting the seat, returning it when complete, AND flushing all in one visit is clearly impossible. This may require a college course, or perhaps technology will provide an automated solution to preserve the sanity of parents everywhere.

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