More than once, I have seriously considered getting Leah's hearing checked. My girl has a problem with listening. While I would sometimes prefer to believe that there is a physical issue, I am afraid that, in reality, the problem is good old-fashioned stubborness. We frequently go back and forth like this:
Me: "Leah, did I tell you not to change clothes again?"
Leah: "Ummm, I don't know."
Me: "LEAH. I told you THREE times not to change clothes."
Leah: "But I wanted to change clothes."
Me: "I don't care what you wanted. I TOLD you NOT to change cothes."
Repeat conversation, at least three times a week. When do the words sink in? Of course, sometimes a wooden spoon helps the words sink in faster. I would just think that, at some point, things would click, she would remember the rules, and she would be the compliant, robot child I often want.
And then there are the times when I am surprised at how closely she has been listening, and not always to my words. Maybe she hasn't caught on to house cleaning rules or back-sassing rules, or go-to-bed rules, or be-quiet-while-I'm-on-the-phone rules, but there are some other things she has been catching on to.
Everyday after school, Leah comes to my room, where I teach high school, and washes my whiteboard for me. Today, she wanted to know if I could pay her some money. Ensuing conversation:
Me: "You want me to give you money?"
Leah: "Yes. A dollar."
Me: "What do you want a dollar for?"
Leah: "Ummm, I want to give it to a little girl that's not got money. I want to sponsor her so she can have money and eat."
Big smiles from me. My baby girl may not always listen to my words, but she hears my heart. And I'm so glad that I hear her loving, tender little heart and that it is beating with sympathy for a little girl half a world away. I don't know if Leah can sponsor her own girl yet. We'll see. But I do know that she's getting off to a good start in the love department. We will work on the rest :)