Definition of déjà vu
1: the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time
2: something overly or unpleasantly familiar. The team’s poor start to the season was déjà vu for its long-suffering fans.
Definition of paje vu
1: the feeling that you’ve definitely said the same thing a number of times to your offspring and yet they still need it said a number of additional times in order to hear it once
2: the sense that you have said something before but feel like you are saying it for the first time because you’ve managed to reach infinity on your internal counter and have gone back to the start of the numbers used for counting
Welcome to the science* post of our little website. I say science* instead of science because science* is the type of observations that has no actual basis or backup in terms of real science. Like Flat Earth Theory, but without the zealots and conventions.
See, recently I’ve noticed that I am repeating myself with the kids. Not just repeating myself but saying the exact same line over and over and over and over and over and over and…
Sorry, got stuck in a loop there.
The point is that as the eldest has hit her fourth year on this mud-ball she has definitely developed selective hearing. Selective being a nice way of putting it, by the way. I genuinely think that she has mastered the art of fully closing off her ear canals to block out all sound and has simply developed a sixth, seventh and eight sense to replace her lack of hearing. It is the only scientifically* sound explanation for how I have to ask her twenty-three times to pick stuff up off the floor in my normal parenting voice (which goes up a decibel level for every ten times the same lines has been said). Yet I can stand at the bottom of a well in another country and ask her in a whisper if she wants a biscuit and she will hear it in our home as if I had screamed it directly into her ear.
Hence, paje vu. I have convinced myself that it is a thing, it has to be a thing. It is the only real reason that makes sense. There is no way that a person cannot hear the same sentence, with the words in the same order, and the volume growing slightly louder with each utterance, forty-five times in a row. There just isn’t. It has to be a parental phenomenon, the feeling that you’ve said something before in the exact same way you are currently saying it. Only you haven’t said it before and you are only saying it once.
Otherwise kids have an amazing ability to control their senses that adults would relish. Can you imagine being in a boring meeting and being able to totally shut down your sense of hearing in order to survive the hour long presentation on why full stops, dots and periods are different things.
It also explains how Littles the world over are able to fart so badly you’d convince yourself they have an entire skunk up their backside, pushing a green mist around them so intense that your eyes water, yet they cannot smell it themselves. The scientific* answer: they can shutdown their sense of smell on command.
But fear not, fellow parents, I know you’ve all experience this sensation. Now you have a name to it. You’re not going crazy, you are repeating yourself almost indefinitely, because kids have mastered the ancient and wise art of Selective Hearing.
And here you all were thinking you were going crazy. No such luck, parenthood will make you insane for many more reasons than just this. Of course it doesn’t help that the younger follows everything the older one does, so he has started not listening a full two years earlier than she did.
But like all good science and science*, you need an example to quantify the experiment. So let me present experiment J below, taken from the field this very morning.
Test Environment Configuration: we’ve been up since about 7am because it is Saturday and the kids only sleep past 9am when it is a workday. The kitchen looks like a Smyths Toystore passed by and vomited on the floor. Both kids want to watch a movie on Netflix.
Parent 1: Pick up the toys.
Parent 1: Pick up the toys.
Parent 1: Clean up the toys and we will watch the movie.
Parent 1: Why haven’t you picked up the toys yet.
Parent 2: Did you pick up that parcel from the collection centre yesterday?
Parent 1: I’m not going to ask again, pick up the toys.
Parent 1: Why aren’t you picking up the toys?
Parent 1: You, pick up those toys. Other you, pick up those ones.
Parent 2: Seriously did you pick it up or not because if you didn’t it will be sent back on us.
Parent 1: Would you for the love of all that is unholy pick up the bloody toys.
Parent 1: I don’t care if you didn’t play with that toy, put it away or no movie.
Parent 1: Would you just, for once, listen to me and put the damn things away before we watch the movie.
Parent 2: Honestly, did you get it or not.
Parent 1: Why do you keep asking the kids if they picked up something from the collection centre? They can’t drive.
Parent 2: I’m not asking them, I’m asking you. Like I have done for the last four days. At least five times a day.
Experiment conclusion: turns out Paje Vu can apply to partners as well as parents.