Last Saturday, we drove out for a grocery shopping trip. It is something we seem to be doing at least twice a weekend, with each trip ending with a trolley full of food and a wallet full of damage. I often wonder whether my wife is conducting a business on the side, harbouring backpackers in the house, because the amount of grocery we go through is just astronomical.
As I was about to reverse the car into a space in the underground carpark of the mall, my wife suddenly complained: “Honey, why do you always park in rear first? It’s very inconvenient later on, you know, when we’re loading the shopping bags in the boot. There’s never enough space between the rear of the car and the wall“.
“Listen here, woman! When I’m behind the wheel, please, no passenger driver!“, I replied, as I slid the car into space, ass-first and jacked up my handbrake.
“Haha, woman! Daddy, you just called mommy woman! Can I call mommy woman too?“, my 7 year-old son L burst out from the back seat.
“Oh great, honey! Look what you’ve done now! Congratulations, a good thing you’re teaching your son there“, my wife sarcastically scolded me.
“If that ever becomes another one of your terrible sayings that the boys pick up, I’m going to be so mad at you!“, my wife continued grumbling, before explaining to our first-born that if he ever calls her woman, mommy would be doubly mad at him.
An hour later, as I was navigating the human traffic in the supermarket with a trolley full of food, my 5 year-old son C decided to do an abrupt peek-a-boo in front of me, forcing me make a sudden stop and jam my right index finger against a side shelf. I grimaced in pain but before I could reprimand him, C nonchalantly said: “Oh, toughen up daddy, be a man!”
And, of course, my wife couldn’t let the opportunity pass without giving me a smirk, while telling me: “Serves you right, honey, another one of your silly sayings, thrown back in your face! How do you feel about that?!?!”
Indeed, these days, I am increasingly finding that my two sons are throwing back in my face a number of my stock phrases. It is actually quite disconcerting, hearing them said back to me, from the mouths of two little boys who, I freely admit, should learn to talk more like their mother.
I guess I have no one to blame but myself. There are automatic phrases that I utter whenever I’m faced with certain common situations.
For example, “Relax, have a drink” is a favourite of mine whenever my kids, or even (indeed especially) my wife, are upset because I did something wrong.
“No one ever got rich eating vegetables” is another stock phrase that I use whenever I’m gorging on meat and carb, and my wife forces me to eat some green stuff.
And then there is “Of course I know the answer, but I want to see if you know” – something that I say whenever I’m dumb-founded by a question from the kids or even (indeed especially) the wife.
Unfortunately, all these stock phrases (and more) are now coming back to bite my ass.
Scream at my kids to clean their rooms? “Relax daddy, have a drink“.
Beg them to eat vegetables? “But daddy, no one ever got rich eating vegetables“.
And do I even need to spell out the retort I get whenever I ask my kids some maths questions?
I’m just lucky that I have had the discipline not to drop the f-bomb and fire the s-missile in front of the boys … yet. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the fuck-load of trouble I’d be in with my wife, saying that sort of shit in front of her two angelic choir boys!
On the drive back from the shopping trip last Saturday, I got stuck behind an especially slow-moving car. I don’t know whether he was driving Miss Daisy or forgot to put his ‘Learner’ sticker on. But it reached a point where I got so frustrated that I was about to blurt out “Man, I can sh… “. But before I could finish off this another one of my stock phrases, my wife grabbed my arm and stopped me.
“Daddy, what were you going to say?“, my boys immediately asked from the back seat, in high anticipation of another pearl of wisdom.
“Nothing sweeties, Daddy was just trying to be funny but forgot what he was going to say“, my wife replied while breathing a sigh of relief.
“C’mon, Daddy, what were you going to say? Tell us!”
I could have confessed that I was going to say “Man, I can shit bricks faster than this guy drives“. But I realised that maybe, just maybe, that’s not something I want thrown back in my face, when I’m older and driving like Miss Daisy.
Keep on pounding.