"Hey buddy, can you put your clothes away?"
"Put your clothes away."
"CLOTHES. AWAY. NOW."
And this went on for quite a while. It seemed to happen more often when we were asking him to do something, so I assumed he had developed the male selective hearing technique and so I let him have it. "DUSTIN! Stop saying "what" all the time! I KNOW you can hear me. You just had your hearing tested at school and you passed, so there's no excuse!" He looked at me with his intense 5-year-old eyes and said, "But Mom, I just really can't hear you." So I said, "Well, you're gonna have to think of something other than "what" to say to me, because I'm going CRAZY!!!"
Then one day he came home from school after a really rough week. He hadn't been listening to me, he was being sassy and I was about ready to pull my hair out. Anyway, he comes off the bus and five minutes later is screaming that his ear is hurting. Awesome. We manage to get into the doctor right away, which was such a blessing when you have a kid in pain. The doctor checks him out. And of course, big fat ear infection. I mention that he has been complaining that he can't hear and she says she's not surprised because both his ears are completely filled with fluid. Dustin immediately whips his head around to me, points his finger, and says, "SEE MOM! I TOLD you I couldn't hear you. I TOLD you I was telling the truth. So don't ever get mad at me again, OKAY!!" Yes, folks, hand over the Mother of the Year Award to the Mom who got called out by her 5-year-old in front of her pediatrician. Thankfully, the doctor was totally nice, and we discussed that he's probably always had fluid in his ears (which is why we've had SO MANY ear infections) and referred him to a specialist so we can see how necessary tubes might be.
So lesson learned :)