Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dad. Dinner. Ready.

One of the things that I have been trying to get Haley to do lately is call her Dad for dinner. 

The main reason is convenience.  If she calls him than I don't have to, but there is another reason.  It gets her to use her big voice in a nice way.  She does have one.  She uses it when she is angry or upset.  We want to hear her voice.  And not just when she is ticked at us.

So I have been asking her to call her Dad.

The first couple of times I asked her to go upstairs and tell him that dinner was ready quietly.  That was the way that I did it and the way that I have asked her sister to do it in the past.  The main reason is that I don't like yelling in the house.  There is a history behind that.  I can't stand it when someone is upstairs and they yell down to me and expect me to yell back.  It annoys me. 

For a while we used our telephones to talk to each other, they have an intercom system on them.  That works pretty well, but our phones are cordless so they tend to wander around the house.  I might try to call my husband while he is in his office, but the phone in our bedroom or in my office might ring.  It could take up to three tries to get the right one. 

I decided that getting Haley to use her big voice was more important than my need for a relatively quiet environment. 

So at first I would say "Haley, let's go upstairs and let Dad know that dinner is ready."  I would go up with her and then prompt her to say "Dad. Dinner is ready."  Sometimes she would, sometimes she wouldn't.  She might balk at the going upstairs, or once we got up there she would not cooperate.  She might mouth the words, but even though she was standing right next to him he couldn't hear her.  After a while I got her to at least say a facsimile of "Dad. Dinner is ready."  It really didn't sound like it.

Then after we talked to her teacher about how quiet she is in school we decided to work on the volume of her request.  That is when I would stand at the bottom of the stairs with her and prompt her.  I would say "Say Dad."  She would whisper "Dad."  Then I would say it louder.  Then she would whisper it again.  Then I would yell "DAD!" at the top of my voice.  She might say it loud enough that he could hear her (he is smart enough to wait until he hears her, not just me.)  Then he would say "What is it Haley?"  Then I would prompt her to say the rest.  It could take awhile.  I had to plan it so that dinner didn't burn or get cold. 

So far not convenient. 

Well, this has been going on for a while.  I don't know how long exactly, but several months at least.

I have gotten to the point that I can say "Haley, go tell Dad that dinner is ready." and she gets up and goes to the bottom of the stairs and in a fairly loud voice says something like "Daaa..nnerr...edddy." and then she heads back to whatever it was she was doing.  I can usually hear her, but her Dad usually doesn't.  If I am in a hurry I will run to the bottom of the stairs and say "Did you hear that?"


"Oh, well dinner's ready."


Sometimes if I have more time and patience I will ask her to do it again.  Sometimes I ask her if she thinks he heard her.  She usually says "Yeah."  I wait a little while.  If he doesn't come down I make her do it again.

Sometimes I ask her to call him and she just sits there or she grunts.  She is a teenager after all.

So last night I said "Haley, let Dad know that dinner is ready please."

She got up, went to the bottom of the stairs and said "Dad.  Dinner.  Ready."  Clear as day, big and loud.  He said "Thanks Haley," and came right down.  She got a big high five from both of us. 

All of that work has paid off.

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