I hear a faint sound of what sounds somewhat like crying coming muffled up the flight of stairs and through my bedroom door…
“Daddy!! Taralynn kicked me in my face!!!”
Yep. That sound is definitely crying. And so my day begins…
I rise from my slumber (way earlier that I had anticipated), and walk slowly to the top of the steps.
“I didn’t do it!!! I swear daddy!!!”
“Yes you did”
“It was an accident daddy. I promise…”
Yawn. I’m going back to bed. I walk back in the room to see Brandey staring at me with this stare that says “You better go put your foot in their…” Sigh…Guess I’m NOT going back to bed. I pull a tshirt over my head and go down the stairs.
“Taralynn, Ashleigh—Come here please.”
“It was on accident dadd—”
“Stop Lying, Tara. It wasn’t an acci-”
Let me just stop right here to say that I’m already at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say to these kids sometimes. OK, quick Jeremy. Say something. Anything. Please say something intelligent enough to save face or your kids will never respect you like you know they should.
“Did you guys eat breakfast already?”
Blank stares. OK. That must have worked. Damnit Jeremy—You are a genius. Just like that—-“Did you guys eat breakfast?” and they’ve already forgotten that there was just an altercation before 8:30 am. Whew.
Brief interlude here: When mornings start like this—I usually try to switch it up a little bit. You catch more flies with honey, right? OK…Back to the story…
“Girls!!! Get dressed please.” I glance over at Brandey. Oh. I know that look. SHE’s not coming obviously.
“Ummmm, since you’re not going with us, do you want me to take Ella too?”
Blank stare. OK. Ella is staying with Brandey.
We load up in the Explorer, Taralynn pulls down the DVD player, which Ashleigh promptly shuts.
“Dad, I wann–”
“No, Taralynn, dad and I want to listen to the radio. So shut it.”
“Today, we’re getting copies of your all’s birth certificates. We have a little drive ahead of us, so please, please, please, please, puh-leeease stop arguing. Thank you.”
Forty five minutes and thirty dollars later: Birth Certificates are done.
“Now, where are we going?”
“To the Social Security Administration Building in Independence.”
“The Social Security Administration Building.”
“Oh. What’s that?”
“Uhhhhh….It’s just a place we have to go to today.”
One hour later: New cards have been ordered for Ash, Tara, Ella, and myself.
“What do you guys want for lunch?”
“No, NOT Burger King, dad hates it.”
“Ladies, how about Subway?”
“Yay! Subway Ashleigh! Subway!”
“Wow. Taralynn, I know this may come as a surprise to you, but I actually have EARS too. I HEARD what dad said. Whoopti-doo…Subway.”
Glad that’s settled.
We get home with our Subway, and are greeted by my nephews, who are already at the house.
“Can we build a snowman daddy?”
Ok. That sounds doable, right?
“Sure. Bundle up, hats, gloves, scarves, boots—and I’M coming too.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve built a snowman, and this thing is going to be HUGE. As much as I hate snow, I know my lawn creation is going to beat the pants off that little crappy snowman the neighbor kids have in their front lawn!
“Here. Let me show you how it’s done. Make sure you pack it tight and roll it like this…”
OOOOUUUUUCCCHHHHH!!! What the FFFFFFF was THAT????!!!, I wondered to myself.
“HAHAHHAHAHA, Uncle Jeremy got CREAMED by a snowball!!! Good one Ashleigh!!”
“OK, NOT cool! I’m out here trying to help you guys and you hit me right in the EYE with a snowball??!!!”
“Hahaha! Sorry daddy, I meant to hit you on top of your head but you looked up.”
We start making our individual snowmen (no working as a team today—I’m taking all the credit for my monster snowman).
“AMBUSH!!!,” Nathan yelled from behind me. As soon as I turn around I’m greeted with yet another snowball dangerously close to my face. Sigh…
“Not funny, Nate…”
Giggling Nate…”Sorry, Germy.”
As we are finishing our snowmen, the kids step back in amazement at the monstrosity of a snowman I had just made. As I’m admiring my work I feel something cold yet AGAIN!
“HORSEY CRACK!!! HAHAHAHA GERMY!!! I GOT SNOW IN YOUR HORSEY CRACK!!!”
Really? I’m done. F this.
The kids disappear inside to their room, actually playing quietly for a little bit. Ella and Brandey had just returned from their afternoon romp at the local Target. I go to the kitchen to start making dinner. Hmmm, what should I make? I got it…
One hour later the kids are in the kitchen eating their chicken alfredo, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and peas n carrots. There. Mission accomplished. Almost survived the day. They eat, retreat back to their room, and close the door.
“Dad! Taralynn won’t leave us alone!”
“I didn’t do anything daddy!!”
The door swings open and Ashleigh stomps into the living room.
“Ash. No. I do not want to hear it. I’m done listening to the arguing today, just go play. Please.”
She walks away, glancing back over her shoulder as if I had just told her puppy died. Great.
Over the next couple hours, it’s “Daddy!!” and “Stop it.” and “Quit hitting me!” and “Daddy!” and a bunch of laughing. Just normal kid stuff, right? Well, that’s what I tell Brandey as she keeps staring at me wondering when I’m going to man up, take my belt off, kick down their door, and start swinging…
Being a father for over nine years now, has enabled little kids voices to kinda echo in my head on a near constant basis now. When the girls argue, it’s almost like turning on a light rock station and listening to Delilah on 98.1 KUDL sometimes. Call me crazy, but their voices soar above most, and trust me, I DO hear them—I’m just not listening. My selective hearing is top notch when it comes to what’s really kids playing and what ‘s really kids hurting each other. I hope Brandey joins forces with me and grows some magical ears too.
“Girls, go brush your teeth and put your jammies on please!!”
“WHAT?! At EIGHT????”
Sigh….Why does Ash always have to be so dramatic?
As her and Taralynn crawl into their bed, Ash informs me that she would not like me to tuck her in, and how she’s sick of being treated like a baby. She says the boys don’t ever have to go to bed this early: I remind her that Jeremy is not their daddy (however, I am HER daddy).
“GET OUTTA HERE!!! LEAVE!!! I MEAN IT!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!
“Ashleigh, why are you being so mean to da-”
“SHUT YOUR MOUTH TARALYNN. SHUT UP!!”
Wow. I thought I had done a better job than that. Apparently, I need to do a quick tune-up of my parenting skills. Then again, I share custody of this bad attitude having loud mouth young lady, and maybe it’s not me she’s learning this from. Who knows?
“Wow, Ashleigh. That sounded very intelligent. Did you learn that in school?”
“You are so mean. That’s not going to make me feel any better. Thanks a lot. What a great dad you are!”
“I’m just curious as to why you think it’s ok to talk to your sister like that. I know I haven’t said “Shut up” to you one time in your nine years on this earth—but obviously it’s in your vocabulary. I mean, it just rolled off your tongue—-”
“I DON’T EVEN HAVE ANY FRIENDS IN SCHOOL!!! THANKS A LOT FOR MAKING ME FEEL EVEN WORSE NOW!!!”
“Well, Ashleigh, if you talk to your friends with the attitude you’re having right now, I can see why they wouldn’t want to be friends with you for very long. You need to work on having a better attitude, and I am definitely willing to help you with it. You have to want to be a better person to actually be a better person. If you don’t want to change your attitude—then you won’t be near the person you could be.”
“Get out of here. I don’t go in your room and bother you. So stop bothering me.”
And people wonder why I have gray hair already….Geez.
One day I know she’s going to “get it.” Right? And then maybe she can help Taralynn “get it.” And then maybe both of them can help Ella and Audrey “get it.” Until then….