The Four Stages

I've decided there are four stages* of communicating with your spouse when you have children:

Stage 1: You talk often and freely, because your children are so young, they can't understand a thing you're saying anyway.

Stage 2: You talk a little less often, because now your children are in the chattering stage.  Sometimes you speak in code: you omit names and you wish your husband was better at reading your lips across the room, but it's hopeless: he cannot do such a thing.  (Every time you try, he looks at you like you're speaking Russian.)

Stage 3: You talk, yes- but every third word you spell.  So you have to be a good speller for this stage.  And you have to be a quick study to be able to decipher which word is being spelled.  Also, in this stage, you learn the trick of doing any serious talking while driving in the van: with the music turned up just enough so that your kids in the back can't hear what you're saying.

Stage 4: Talk to your husband?! What is that?  Because there are all these other little people talking or interrupting CONSTANTLY.  You can't even think, let alone have a conversation. 

We're in Stage 4.  What stage are you in?  (And do let me know if I've missed any stages you happen to be all too familiar with.)

Don't worry.  It's not as desperate as it sounds.  I'll post soon on how and what we're doing to survive this stage.  ;)

*So far.  I'm sure there are many glorious stages to come in the years ahead!


  1. Stage 3.5: spelling backwards. ;)

    We too are in stage 4. My husband laughed at me the other night when out on our date night I whipped out my iPad with my list of "things to talk to B about". But if I don't write it down I forget, bc like you said I just can't tell him many things when they come to mind like I used to.

  2. Stage 4 here. It's insane. I wish he had free texts because we'd get a lot more conversation in, sad but true : )

  3. haha! This is so great. I cracked up. We're still in stage 3 fortunately. Although often times I spell something for Justin and he just doesn't get it. A lot of times I spell the main word and then add the end. Like "so and so was h-i-t-ing". Hilarious.

  4. Absolutely spot on! Except in stage 4, we've learned to talk in the shower. No one can hear us there! ;)

  5. Mostly in stage 3..but sometimes we can still use stage 1 and they are oblivious (or so we think!).

  6. We are in Stage 4! It feels hopeless and need serious help in the communication department! I have to say ditto to the texting comment!! Not really talking but communnicating

  7. Definitely stage four! Sometimes I joke that Erik will have to schedule an appointment to talk with me. Or take a number.

  8. Christy~
    Spelling backwards?! Now that's impressive! I love your list idea. I've done that before, too. ;)

    It *is* insane, isn't it? We do have the texting, and that is something I'm thankful for.

    Yeah. When I spell for Mark usually he catches two letters and I'm already a few words in, so I have to start over. ;) And we've done the partial spelling, partial saying, too. Funny!

    Oh, the shower! Smaaart!

    I think we went for a good long time thinking they were oblivious, and then we realized um... they're not. (When they'd bring up something later on in conversation that we'd thought had been on the downlow.)

    Yeah, it's pretty crazy, huh? (((hugs)))

    Funny! And *so* true!

  9. This made me laugh. We are in different stages with different kids. It depends which kid is in the room :o) The boys are pretty cluelss but not the girly.

    And love the Africa jar!

    Been reading everything it's just been a little crazy around here.

  10. Definitely stage four! It was quite a day when they learned to decode what we were spelling.

  11. We're in stage 4. And my husband doesn't seem to catch it I spell it, but our oldest does so it didn't do any good!

    If we're in the minivan, we use #s for the kids b/c if you say their names then they start paying attention or wake up (that's mostly what we use it for is long trips where somebody is falling asleep or is asleep i.e. #4 is asleep and #3 is almost asleep).

    We have a saying when we want to talk about something but realize that it's not a good time (the kids are around), "we're in the cornfield" b/c little EARS are listening. :)

  12. Oh that is too funny. We are in stage four and have been there a long time.
    Our solution: email or shutting ourselves in a room (without small people). It seems to be a part of family life, trying to have conversation among smaller people vying for attention or listening in. :) It can be funny trying to whisper or spell, which in our house usually ends with nevermind.

  13. The only other stages I would add are ones that include trying to speak in a foreign language with your husband, if you and he know or sort of know one. That's what happens here but it works about as well as spelling.
    And apparently we spell a lot across the dinner table... maybe about the possibility of dessert? Whenever I start spelling something to my husband the kids say, "Are we having cookies?!!" or something like that.
    And for all the attempts at spelling or foreign language speaking that still go on, we are in Stage 4.
    Any one have a good way to train their kids to respect others in the not interrupting department? :)

  14. Yep, we are definitely in stage 4! It was such a bittersweet moment when we realized our 5-yr-old is such a good reader/speller that she'd cracked our code! Funny thing is she still hasn't figured out that she's Thing 1 and her little sister is Thing 2. :)
    We have tried escaping to another room of the house, but we have a 12-yr-old foster daughter who assumes that means we're saying bad things about her. Poor thing.
    So we usually end up with at least one weeknight when I stay up WAY too late so we can talk about things that have to wait until the kiddos are in bed.
    I'm looking forward to your post about how to cope!

  15. In Stage 4 with one child, Stage 2-3 with the others. And it's HARD! We do a lot of emailing during the day and texting too. As another commenter said, there is usually one day a week or so that I stay up really late just to have a chance to talk with him without the kidlets around.

    My favorite thing to do is go for a drive. Sometimes on a tough day with the kids we'll pack up the kids when my husband gets home and we throw some food in a bag and go for a drive. The kids love to listen and sing along to music and it gives me a chance to unload and we talk and reconnect as a couple.

  16. Oh. My. Word. Stacy! This is SO true! We're stage 4, definitely. And 3 too, during some parts of the day. Chaos, chaos, CHAOS! Jason looked at me the other day with a weary look and said "are these REALLY the best days of our lives?" :) - Jess O.

  17. Hilarious! We're in stage 4 w/our oldest two---except my kids aren't great spellers, but they always "listen" when we don't want them to. Lately we've been talking late at night while we each hold a baby (we have newborn twins)---it's our only time to catch up. (we have six 9 & under--yes, it's nuts!)

  18. I'm going to add a 5th stage - Older children (11, 15, 17). They have BIG EARS and think they need to know everything we are talking about. ;-) My hubby has a 45 min. drive home from work each day, so we bought an earbud for me (makes me hands free to do other things at that time) and we talk on his way home (he has blue tooth in his car, so he's hands free too) while I'm finishing up dinner. The kids only hear my side of the convo. so it's hard for them to figure out for sure what we are speaking about. Sometimes I am silent (listening to hubby) and they ask, "are you still on the phone with dad?" If I need to speak to him about something that is private, I will walk into the garage or outside for that moment.


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