Sep 07

One Technique To Get Their Attention



The Family Squeak, One Technique To Get Their Attention

We have a traditional technique to get everyone’s attention in our house. This method has been passed down by my father, through me and on to my children.

As small children, we used to grab my dad’s nose all the time. We couldn’t help ourselves because, it was a dead ringer to Corporal Klinger’s from the TV show MASH.

When we squeezed his nostrils together, we would hear a loud squeak. Somehow, he was able to make this noise with his mouth without moving it. We squeezed our own nostrils and nothing happened. We tried to get each other’s noses to squeak, but with no luck. He was like a master ventriloquist with that thing.

This was so much fun for my dad and so we did this a lot. We did this so much, that my dad found out that he could squeak and we all would come running or at least turn in his direction. So it went from being a fun activity to a command technique (shout out to Pavlov).

Whenever he would want to get our attention, he would squeak. If we were doing something in public that we weren’t supposed to be doing, he would squeak. Then he would give us “the look”. Double non-verbal communication jackpot! This squeak seemed to have so many functional uses.

When we used to go to K-Mart or Wool-Co for some family shopping, we would be released into the toy section with a command of “Don’t leave these aisles.” This was before all the televised and posted dangers of leaving your children alone in a store. Being the oldest of four, I was always in charge. So it was my responsibility to make sure my siblings didn’t wander away.

As we were playing with all the packaged toys, pretending that we were going to be able to keep them, I heard the squeak, signaling that It was time to go.

After assembling “the kids”, we ventured out in the direction of the squeak. My parents must have been in hurry because the sound was more frequent than normal. It felt like they were searching for us because I could hear the squeak moving from aisle to aisle.

Trying to catch up to my parents was becoming more difficult and I was having a hard time keeping the little ones all together. They kept getting distracted by every bright and shiny items we passed along.

“Stay together and hurry up!” I shouted. “We’re going to lose them.” They were nowhere in sight and no matter how close we got to the squeak, I just couldn’t find them.

The high pitched noise finally led us up to the cash registers, however still no parents.

And that’s when I saw him…

A small boy sitting in the toddler seat in a shopping cart. In his tiny hand he was grasping a little red ball. Every time he squeezed that ball, it emitted a sound that was identical to the family squeak.


Red Ball

This miniature person, in all his excitement, had led us around the entire store in a vain attempt to find our parents. He had no idea what was going on but I felt like every giggle was his way of mocking me.

Nanny nanny boo boo! Okay, he didn’t say that but it sure felt like it.

Even though this isolated incident made me look like a complete imbecile, I still decided to keep the squeak in the family.

In a crowed or in a store, if I yell out my wife’s or any of my children’s name, no response. If I squeak, they all look in my direction, simultaneously. This is a serious husband/dad win.

My wife does not agree. She feels like she is being beckoned like a dog. Maybe it’s payback for when she tried calling me “Babe” while we were dating. This was of course, her family dog’s name.

Sometimes, when I squeak at my wife, she will answer back by flapping her wings and squawking in her best bird imitation, “CUH CAW, CUH CAW!”


Cuh Caw

Point taken.

My five year old daughter has figured out how to do it. It’s so cute listening to her try it out. The problem is when she is trying to get my attention, I never hear it. After all these years of using it on everyone else, I must have become immune to the squeak.

Do you have a unique way of communicating with your family?

Share your special techniques for signaling your loved ones.


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  • Sherry Fletcher Aus

    This is funny!! It reminds me of how my dad could whistle…loudly! When we heard his whistle, it was time to run home. Often we were a block or 2 away. With my kids, I found whispering was the best way.

    • David Mike

      If I whispered, it would be dead air.

  • I remember my grandfather would whistle and when he did the kids would come running. .then again so would the cattle so you either needed to run fast or wait until they passed. I can whistle and usually get my wife’s attention fromy across the room or even a building.

    • David Mike

      Till the cows come home, right?

  • I was my dad’s caregiver during the final years of his life. Someone got him a bicycle horn to blow to get my attention when he needed something – a drink, trip to the bathroom, so on.

    He also would whistle to get our attention.

    After his death, hearing either sound would remind me of him.

    • David Mike

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. It’s interesting what sounds will do to our memories.

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