Just to prove my point, here is a list of recent things I have said and what my children apparently heard. There is apparently a real problem here...
What I say: "Make sure you save me some cookies."
What my children hear: "Eat all the cookies you want as long as you save me exactly one half of a cookie surrounded by copious crumbs of varying sizes."
What I say: "You need to clean up your room before your friends come over."
What my children hear: "You need to clean your room by stuffing everything under your bed and inside of your closet. Also, the only surface area that actually needs to be clean is the center of the floor, so it's okay to stack things on your dresser and nightstand and desk...as long as it's off the floor...Also be sure to leave dirty underwear where all of your friends can see it."
What I say: "Wash your hands before dinner."
What my kids hear: "Wash your hands before dinner, but only the palms because that's all that's going to touch your food anyway. The backs of your hands don't even actually count as part of your hands."
What I say: "You need to wipe your nose"
What my kids hear: "You need to wipe your nose on the back of your hand...at the dinner table...as long as it's the back of your hand because that doesn't even count as your hand. It's more like a portable napkin."
What I say: "You need to take a shower."
What my kids hear: "You need to stand in the shower and let the water run over your body for the next 20 minutes, but you can conveniently forget to use any soap or shampoo. Also please leave the shower curtain open because the floor is kind of dirty and could use a shower, too."
What I say: "Don't feed the dog chocolate. It will make him sick."
What my kids hear: "Don't feed the dog chocolate, but when he looks at you with those sad puppy dog eyes, it's okay to feed him half your grilled cheese sandwich, 7 potato chips, all of your carrot sticks, the last few swallows of your root beer, the napkin your sandwich sat on, and a breath mint, because I love cleaning up dog vomit off the dining room carpet."
What I say: "Don't run in the house. You might break something."
What my kids hear: "Please jump off the furniture doing flips in the air while attempting to land on your brother's shoulders...because at least you won't be running in the house...and, by the way, you've got that future circus career in. the. bag."
What I say: "Don't stand there with the refrigerator door open. You're wasting electricity."
What my kids hear: "If you're going to stand there with the refrigerator door open, just hold the light switch with your finger until you decide that there isn't anything in there worth eating. That will save electricity."
See what I mean? There is apparently a huge gap between what I say and what my children hear. Do other parents have this problem or is it just me? Are we all secretly speaking Klingon? Or do we all need to pull out one of those bizarre ear wax vacuum cleaners? Someone please help us!