Monday, April 21, 2008

As Long as I Don't Sound Like Marilyn Monroe Singing Happy Birthday

For better or worse, in my house if Mama isn't happy - no one is happy. I think it's too much pressure. If I am in a bad mood, I watch as my children one by one succumb to the surly. They're like little emotional sponges, waiting to soak in and squeeze out whatever mood I'm in.

We have had winds here all weekend. The whipping, whining, blow trees down kinds of winds that come ripping down from the mountains and set everyone on edge. It makes me feel cock-eyed - that kind of constant howling. So all weekend I battled the gusts and my souring mood - pushing doors open against the gales only to have them swing back and bark shins, watching as new green buds skittered across the field, and saying more than one silent prayer that May comes quicker than ever.

Today it is still blowing, so in order to calm the members of my household, I am going to have to pull out one of my least favorite tools in my box of tricks - the soft voice. I know that my kids will respond favorably, and I know that Bob will, too. I've talked about this before. The soft breathy voice, when employed properly, puts a smile on the children, keeps the dog in line, and renders your husband malleable and eager. I may have confused the effects of dog and husband - but you get my point.

But you cannot laugh. You must act as if nothing is out of the ordinary as you request, in your most breathy Marilyn-esque manner, that your husband/child/dog come hither/set the table/sit.

It is perhaps one of the most effective and annoying techniques out there. Especially when you believe, in your heart of hearts, that speaking like an asthmatic hooker isn't going to work on your husband (who loves you as the strong and self-reliant feminist that you may be thankyouverymuch) and when you try it for the first time you watch as he melts like cheap foundation on a summer day. Sure, it's easier to understand why our kids respond positively to softer inflections. They're kids. Kittens and puppies like it, too. But our husbands? They should want to do our bidding 24/7, even if we sound like Kathleen Turner on her third pack, right? Or do they secretly thrill when we sound weak and feminine, like we're in the throes of...something...when we address them. I still remember the first time I tried it on Bob. In my breathiest, weakest voice.....

[mustering self control to not fall on floor in heap of giggles] "Bobby? Honey?"

[Bob, visably straightens and perks up, a lot like our dog does when presented with bacon] "Y-yes? Sweetie what do you need?"

[tracing finger around shoulder, breathing softly] "Would you go to the store for me again? And get some milk? I forgot to put it on the list when you went earlier."

[Husband flushes, pulls me close and kisses my neck]. "Of course, darling."

I'm barely exaggerating.

Try it. I am going to employ this today, as I work to sooth my own nerves, calm my children, and try not to look out the window as I watch houses fly by with the tumbleweeds.

20 comments:

Marie said...

Oy, I can't go around giving my husband ideas! He might expect me to follow through!

Nancy said...

Darn I don't have anyone to try it on.

The dog? Nah, bacon works better.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I don't think I can do it, not even for a trip to the grocery store.

I hope the wind calms down--I know how nerve-wracking it can be.

Becky said...

I'm with Marie!

jakelliesmom said...

Nah, it would never work around my house. My husband would be all, "are you talking to me? I can't hear a word you're saying. Speak up, woman." or something like that.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I love this! I'll have to practice it, though, before I try it on anyone.

Jen M. said...

Jake Ellies mom - THAT'S what I thought, too. Go on, I dare you ;)

Mary Beth said...

What? You mean the voice that winds up 5 octaves higher than when you started doesn't work? Damn! I have to rework my entire repetoire now:)

liv said...

oh, that sometimes works. usually speaking in a british accent does it for me.

Trudie said...

Wouldn't work here either - my SO would probably just shake his head and go tinker in some car, hoping that I'd come to my senses, but SOON.

painted maypole said...

hmmm.... i have a hard time believing it will work around here, but just for that reason I may have to try it!

Karen said...

ROFL! I had to de-lurk on this one because oh my gosh, this is SO TRUE!! And it does, it works like a charm.

I wonder if the guys ever catch on. Or maybe they do and just don't care as long as we "the voice."

I tell you one thing, use "the voice" often enough and when you do finally yell? The whole family jumps to attention.

And oh yeah, I'm SO speaking from experience here. Mwhahaha.

Write From Karen

Jan said...

Yeah, Bob's are an easy bunch. It must go with the name.

Joanie said...

I don't think I WANT to know if it would work for me (even though I very much suspect that it would). My execution would have to be flawless given O's suspicious ways, but having said that....no, I just can't handle the truth.

Mamma said...

I'm not sure anyone in my house would hear it over the cacauphony, but it would be an interesting experiment to conduct.

Mrs. G. said...

I'm going to try this and report back.

Anna said...

Interesting strategy--I may just have to try this! Will it work on Henry, who pretty much only says, "I don't like it!" these days?

Circus Kelli said...

Bwahahahahahaha!!!

I'm going to try it...

ekbetsy said...

It's been crazy windy here too, so I feel your pain.

I don't have anyone to use the "voice" on, but when I was younger and braver I used to use it to get guys to tie my shoes. Just because I could. And it worked.

Jennifer H said...

I'll have to try that voice...as long as I don't have to do anything else. :-)