“Marco!” My youngest daughter was looking for me in our home, of all places. I was looking for her, so I yelled back, “Polo!” The thing about my house is that even though it’s small, it’s very easy to lose each other. I often describe it as a continuous circle, with the living room at the entrance, which flows into the kitchen, the laundry hall, the master bath, my bedroom, then goes up the hallway back to the living room.
As far as audio logistics, it’s more like a “V” shape, starting in my bedroom at the end of the house then extending to the right into the bathroom, laundry hall and kitchen and to the left down the main hallway by the office and a kid’s bedroom. It’s important to understand because when I am in the bedroom and think I’m talking to a kid in the kitchen, everyone up the other side of the “V” answers.
In the past, I’ve described how when I sit in the living room and I’m talking to someone in the kitchen everyone answers because they can hear me in every other room. The situation the other day was a bit different because my youngest daughter answered and I assumed she was in her room. I cut to the chase and headed out to the hallway which is unusual for me. However, one habit I’ve tried to break over the years is yelling everything from the room I’m in.
She wasn’t in her room, but I could still hear her, so I headed back to my room and started for the kitchen. That’s when she yelled “Marco” because she had headed down the hallway seeking me. If you’re not familiar with the children’s pool game of Marco Polo, it’s basically wet hide and seek. The kid who is “it” closes their eyes and yells, “Marco,” the others reply with “Polo.” The idea being the seeker will follow their voices, the water slowing everyone down, and catch the others one by one.
My daughter’s and my problem was she was on the move looking for me as well. Even though I’m trying to change my habit of yelling everything from one room, I still do it. Not because I’m lazy, but I try to avoid going around in circles through the house, like my daughter and I became entrapped in.
That day, I was standing up folding clothes off my bed, not settled in my lounging chair. I called her name, she answered, then I set out to find her because the topic was more complex than could easily be yelled to each other. The acoustics of the house are deceiving, because I assumed she was in the kitchen, but she could have been in the hall bathroom and, for all I knew, I was hearing her through the heat register. I’ve often had whole conversations with my kids when they were sitting on the toilet. I would try to switch to talking to them face-to-face, only to be surprised to discover they were in the bathroom. Not wanting to be the annoying toddler with my face pressed up against the seam in the door jamb, I left those conversations for more respectable moments.
My daughter and I finally connected when I stopped in my tracks and kept answering “Polo” until she came to me, which is what I usually do anyway. Perhaps it’s best if I make them come to me. I seemed to have trained them that way. Or maybe the Marco Polo game is an ingenious way to find people in our audio vortex.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh,” or twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.