You talkin’ to me?

Ever since our two boys L and C arrived on the scene, I have rarely managed to talk to my wife like we used to B.C. (Before Children). Back in those days, our conversations were spontaneous and fun. Most importantly, they went back and forth in a coherent sequential string.

Enter the Children!

Everybody, talk at once

Everybody, talk at once

Now that they are 6 and 4, going on to 16 and 14, my wife and I can’t for the life of us converse in a normal human way when these little ones are around.

To begin with, there is no eye contact. This is because our attention is constantly diverted by the boys’ needs, be it gluing together their cardbard ninja swords or breaking up their no-holds-barred ninja fights. Even during those brief moments when our eyes do meet, I know hers are preoccupied trying to see through mine, so that she can keep a watch on the mischief the kids are up to behind my back.

Our conversations are also, of course, forever interrupted by incessant questions and requests from the two boys. They could be happily playing on the iPad or climbing the play gym but as soon as my wife and I start talking, the boys would suddenly turn into investigative journalists or Curious Georges. It has gotten to a stage where, if I ever want my too-cool-for-their-daddy boys to tell me about their day, I just have start talking first to my too-tired-for-her-husband wife.

Then there’s the conversation itself. It’s not so much a to-and-fro dialogue but more a jumbled exercise due to the million distractions emanating from L and C. To give an example, a typical interaction would be as follows. And keep in mind, all this is typically going on with pots and pans clanking, TV blaring, and the boys shouting, often for no apparent good reason:

My wife: “Did you remember to pay this month’s daycare fees for C“?

C: “MUMMY, L’s not sharing his Legos with me“!

Me: “I paid it last week“.

L: “But he’s wrecking my castle, mum! Can you tell him to stop! By the way, can you help me paint the door on this castle“?

My wife: “I’ll talk to him“!

Me: “OK, and bring the receipt so he sees it“.

My wife: “What“?

Me: “When you talk to the daycare guy, bring the receipt“.

My wife: “Sorry Daddy, I was talking to L. What were you saying“?

Me: “I’ll help you paint it when I finish washing up here“.

My wife: “Paint what“?

C: “I am not wrecking his castle. I’m just trying to help L“!

My wife: “Listen C, can you be quiet for a minute? I’m trying to talk to daddy“!

Me: “No I said I PAID already“!

My wife: “Paid? I thought you said you were going to PAINT something“!

L: “No, I want mummy to help me paint it“.

Me: “I was talking to L“!

My wife: “Wait a sec, who’s painting what now“?

Me: “CAN EVERYONE SHUT UP SO I KNOW WHO’S TALKING TO WHO, WHO’S PAINTING WHAT AND WHO’S PAYING WHICH“?

L and C: “Ahh ha, you’re in trouble daddy. You just said ‘shut up’“.

I have also noticed that, sometime in the past couple of years, I have ceased to have a name but, instead, is simply known as Daddy. Not just to my kids but also to my wife! Daddy, can you brush the boys’ teeth? Daddy, can you wash the car? Daddy, can you get some takeway because I forgot to cook, Ask your Daddy dear.

I don’t mind it, of course, except I sometimes get the feeling that my wife gets away with requesting things from me that I normally wouldn’t  entertain, simply by addressing me as Daddy. It is as if such a label instantly prohibits any protests because the request is for the greater good!

Honey, can you please mow the lawn“? “No, I’m watching football, woman! Anyway, I’m really tired from the my run this morning“.

But if she says: “Daddy, can you please mow the lawn “, then it’s off the couch, on with the gloves, and the lawn is mowed to perfection in no time.

What is most tragic, however, is the fact that I have to now watch what I say in front of the kids, even when I’m just conversing with my wife. That means no more French and no more vocabulary revolving around human anatomy, thus, essentially robbing me of the one attribute I had of expressing myself clearly. It is little wonder that my wife sometimes complains that she can’t understand my mumbling!

In all fairness to the kids, though, we do have time to talk like adults when they are finally asleep. Unfortunately, by that time, both of us are so fatigued that we just want to poison our heads with mindless TV and web-surfing. Because it’s either that, or:

So Daddy, did you say you paid this month’s daycare fees for C … or not“?

Keep on pounding.

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14 thoughts on “You talkin’ to me?

  1. mummyflyingsolo

    haha great post! Yeah my son’s dad and I do this all the time. It seems that if we are speaking even remotely in our son’s presence we have to use the mummy/daddy titles. Sometimes it just ends up plain weird if you ask me!

    Hey I’ve nominated you for a “Shine On’ Award. Pop over to my page and look for the Shine On post for details. 🙂

    Reply
  2. smile breathe and go slowly

    HAHAHA!!! such a true illustration of life with kids!! 🙂 🙂 mine are getting older now, but the interruptions are just as busy! I haven’t resorted to calling my dear bf “daddy” though…I’d get a weird look on that one!!

    Reply
  3. keladelaide

    Hilarious dialogue. You had me loling luddite. Much the same goes on in my house with the 2 boys, now 6 and 3. Sad news is, it doesn’t get any better. My grandparents called each other Mum and Dad till the day they died. Don’t think that’s a family tradition I’ll be continuing.

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      I was just about to look up Luddite until I realised I was the one who introduced the word to you in the first place! You see what this parenting is doing to my head?!?!

      Reply
  4. My Pajama Days

    I assure you that it does get better. My daughters are now 15 and 11 and we are amazed at how many unplanned moments we have alone together. At least once a week we are able to steal an early dinner together without the kids while they are at a practice or a friends’ house. At believe it or not, we actually have more to talk about than just the kids! Hang in there.

    Reply
    1. The Jogging Dad Post author

      That’s encouraging to hear. But, you know, despite what may seem like a complaint, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Guess one must have some masochistic tendencies to be a parent 🙂

      Reply

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