I Was Just Like You Once

You amaze me with your inability to chew with your mouth closed.  Each bite brings dozens of smacks and slurps along for the ride, yet you are oblivious.  It’s irritating.  The sounds you make at dinner set my teeth on edge.  My brain freezes and all conversation is drowned out by the oceans of strange noises emanating from your mouth.  I’m pretty sure my one eye widens and crosses while the vein in my neck pops.

I don’t know what to do?  I remind you to chew with your mouth closed?  I rephrase my admonition with explicit emphasis placed on the words “lips” and “shut”.  To your credit, you do try.  After taking your next  bite, you immediately shut your lips tight and began to move your jaw in a left right and then up down motion.  No real chewing was taking place while you were doing this, but you definitely picked up on the key words I was honing in on.  Then it’s time for you to actually eat and your mouth flies open and the cymbals crash on my ears once again.

I can’t help it.  It’s a pet peeve of mine.  Lip smacking.

Then at the oddest moment, like at work during a leadership seminar, I’m struck with just how difficult of a task I’m demanding of you.  For your entire life (three years) you have eaten this way.  It’s now part of how you are hard-wired.  I need to recognize any improvement no matter how slight.  The next night I said, “Remember, chew with your mouth closed” and you know what? You did.  For one chew.  Then it was right back to the smacking.  Still, I wanted to tell you, “Good job!”

I also have to remember, I was just like you once.  I remember having to learn how to chew.    I remember my parents telling me to get my elbows off the table, to take off my hat, to sit in my chair, to not throw spaghetti noodles on the ceiling to see how long they would stick up there…

You’ll get it one day and learn how to chew without smacking your lips.  Until then, just keep being awesome in every other way.