I’m kneeling at the coffee table, teaching my daughter to play Uno. And with each instruction comes an interruption or a distraction. Jasmine starts every sentence by shouting “Daddy!” because she’s super excited. At six years old, everything is still the most exciting thing ever.
“Daddy! What’s this card?” She shows me her hand and points at one of the cards.
“That’s the Reverse ca-”
“What’s that do?”
“It changes the direc-”
“Daddy!” she shouts, “What’s this card?”
“It’s the Draw Four card. It-”
“What’s that do?”
“I’m trying to tell you, baby doll. Can you settle down?”
“Ok. Now the Draw Four ca-”
Bless her heart, I know she can’t help herself. She doesn’t realize she’s constantly interrupting. When Laurie and I are discussing bills, she throws herself on the laptop and asks if she can put on a different outfit. When I’m on a conference call at home, she busts into my office and announces that one of her siblings just farted. It would be hilarious, if it didn’t drive everyone in the family a little crazy — especially on long days.
We hear the older kids shout to us from the next room, “Mom! Dad! Jasmine keeps interrupting us.” I tell them to come here, and when they come into our room Jasmine is following close behind.
“Dad. Jasmine keeps interrupting-”
“No I didn’t!” she shouts.
I say, “Jasmine, you gotta-”
“I didn’t interrupt!”
Even if Laurie and I are having an “on” day as parents, we’re able to keep our cool for at most the first ten interruptions. By the eleventh interruption, we snap. “Jasmine! Wait for me to finish answering your first question before asking a second! You’re not even listening!”
“Yes, I am.” She says.
“What did I just say?” I say.
“You said we’re going to have sandwiches for lunch and eat out for dinner.”
“Oh,” I say, as I bring my voice down a couple octaves. “That’s exactly what we just said.”
I assume she doesn’t hear what we’re saying when she interrupts, but she constantly proves me wrong. I think she doesn’t hear me explaining the rules of Uno, but she does.
“Daddy! Who’s turn is it?”
“It’s your tu-”
“Skip! Draw two! Uno! Wild card! I win!” She runs throughout the house shouting “I win! I win!” She’s running so fast her feet hardly touch the floor. I hear the siblings whining, “Jasmine! Stop shouting. We’re in the middle of-” But she can’t hear them. Or doesn’t care.
I scoop her up in my arms, and she laughs hysterically. “Jasmine!”
“Your sister and brothers are busy.”
“I know,” she says.
“Do you want play ag-”
And she shouts, “Daddy! Let’s play Uno again!”