Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obsessions II

You may recall that several months ago, Larry expressed discomfort with my habit of knitting while he talked. I claimed that I pay better attention to him when I am knitting than when I am giving him my undivided attention, but he did not believe me. This disagreement was never resolved.

Well, I believe that we should just look at the scientific evidence. Recent studies have shown that people who doodle while listening to someone speak retain more than the people who only listen. Meaning, they are paying more attention, not less, than all those sycophant-type listeners who make eye contact with the speaker the entire time. In other words, I'm right! He's wrong! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Vindication is sweet. Now, hand me that knitting bag, will ya?


Susie (not yet 4) likes to play UNO. Likes, as in, someone has to be playing with her at all times throughout the day or risk her vehement UNO-less displeasure. So we've been taking it in shifts.

At least she's not obsessed with something complicated, like chess. I hate chess. I mean, games are supposed to be fun, aren't they? You have to think to play chess.

So I won't complain about the mandatory UNO. After all, it could be worse - Susie could be amusing herself by decapitating stuffed animals. UNO is far less frightening.


Rachel has conquered the art of skipping rope. She went at it with the same singleness of purpose and determination that she displayed when learning to ride a bike, or stuff a toilet, or disable the motion sensor we placed in her room to monitor her whereabouts a couple of years ago. (Not that that thing stopped her from stealing and eating the raw hotdogs in the fridge, but we had to try something.) She has a certain drive, shall we say, for success. Let us all hope she chooses to use this drive for good and not for evil. Because, Lord knows, we have absolutely zero influence over that child's behavior.


  1. SnakeMaster went through a phase at age 4 of NEEDING to play "Sorry" every single morning. Even worse, the darn kid beat me at it more times than not! Like you, I was relieved it wasn't chess (the game my husband still can't understand why I don't like to play).

  2. Your husband should count his blessings. I don't even pretend to listen to mine anymore. I'm usually startled when I notice there is silence on the phone and then go..."I'm sorry, What?"

    And then the lecture begins...

  3. I'm already having a yucky day. Can I come to your house and play UNO and jump rope? I warn you though, I have a killer instinct at UNO.

    Of course people who can hand-fidget are able to pay more attention. This is why Vaughan got a Rubik's cube in his stocking along with UNO.

  4. I would like to show that to all my teachers who left "no doodling" remarks on my papers. I have always been a big time doodler. Little did I know it was giving me bionic brain power.

  5. I doodle constantly. Does that make me a genius?

  6. When my son was 2 1/2 he loved the book Babar. I had to read it to him over and over. My record was 6 times in one sitting and it took almost 20 minutes to read out loud each time. By the 6th time, I was leaving out entire pages and he never seemed to notice. At least the outcome of UNO changes from time to time. The ending of Babar was the same every time.

  7. I am always doing something while talking, watching tv, etc.-I've wondered if maybe I have adult onset ADD. My DH gets a little disgruntled but I know for a fact I am a much better listener then him. Our own studies have shown that.:)

  8. Kids are so obsessive aren't they? They decide on something they like and then they do it over and over again.

    I'm trying to convince my husband that I listen better if I blog while talking to him.

  9. Right now we are watching Thumbelina constantly! This is the 3rd time since yesterday!

    Chess can be fun! Especially if you have a huge chess set. If you go to my blog and go back a few posts you will see what I mean.

  10. I have some Annas and Rachels, too and count yourself lucky if that drive is ever applied to something useful. As for the knitting, did you know that UN interpreters knit while they work? And it requires great concentration and attention to what is being said and what it means, all while spewing forth what was just said in another language. You are so right, you are paying more attention when you knit.

  11. I hate UNO, 'cuz it's hard to knit if you have to hold your cards up. I'm tellin' ya - that chess thing ain't all bad...

  12. Never a dull moment! I love it. Those crazy stages kids go through are the fodder for laughter in later years!

  13. Heh- I was at an education conference over 20 years ago. At the opening meeting the speaker looked around. Of maybe 150 people in the room, two of us were knitting. The speaker pointed us out and said, "Look at these two people." Everyone looked at us. We clutched our pointy implements of knitting defense and prepared to defend ourselves.

    "I'm delighted to see them," the speaker continued. "That means there will be at least two people in the room that I *know* are listening to me instead of daydreaming about what they're having for dinner."

    I just wish I'd taken my knitting to classes in those days- I'd probably remember more of them!

  14. I'm so with you on Chess--not fun, not relaxing, definitely not a GAME.

  15. Freshman year in college, my best friend and I had Psychology together...she is a perfectionist notetaker...I am a doodler...
    She got the B+, I got the A...just are SO right!
    Now, I have to teach my husband how to do this...he is so single-minded...sometimes he is even looking right at me (his choice) and can't grasp what I am saying!