Tag Archives: Parenting

On the Last Day of Summer Vacation

Amy, during my most recent quarterly review as your husband you expressed concern in the Fatherhood competency category. You asked, “Why did Brandon try to reach mom on a day dad was clearly designated as the Parent on Duty?” My report on those events is below. I have filed it as, “The events of August 16th, 2016” I suspect you will add it as another chapter in your ongoing story: “J. is an Idiot.” I have recreated the key scene below. I have omitted some minor facts which make me look bad/worse:

Brandon and Ryan are sitting with me in the living room. I am in dad mode: calm, thoughtful, almost beatific, and ruggedly handsome.

J: “Gentlemen, all morning long what did I say had to happen?”

Ryan: (age 8, responds like someone who has memorized a speech): “Boys, I have a conference call at 11:00. I am at work and cannot be disturbed during that time.”

J: (patiently, radiating fatherly mastery of the situation) “I got everyone set-up with device codes after making sure chores were done, I did my part. I really needed to have that hour come together. I was phoning-in to an important meeting.”

We sit in silence until Brandon (age 12) says: “Can I go now?”

J: “No. (pause for effect) So I’m downstairs and I hear lots of commotion, but I think, _the boys will handle themselves, they know that dad is Working from Home_. Then during my conference call I get a text from your mother who is asking why Brandon is trying to call mom. Brandon, why were you calling mom at work?”

Brandon: “Because you were on your important call.”

J: “And what was so urgent that you needed a parent at just that moment?”

Ryan: “You suck Brandon.”

J: “Quiet Ryan. Brandon, why did you call mom?”

Brandon: “Because you were on your…”

J: “I get that, what were you calling her about?”

Brandon: “Ryan was shaving his legs.”

Ryan: “I hate you Brandon.”

J: “Ryan was shaving his legs? Ryan, why were you shaving your legs?”

Brandon: “Well…”

Ryan: “Shut up Brandon! Because the hair was getting long! Geez! (he does not use the word, “moron,” but I sense it was there).

Brandon: “Guys don’t shave their legs, Ryan!”

Ryan: “Olympic swimmers do!”

Brandon: “You’re not an Olympic swimmer!”

Ryan: “Not if I can’t shave my legs!”

J: (holds up hands) “Quiet please Ryan. So, Brandon, did he have a razor, or a knife, was he in danger of hurting himself?”

Brandon: “No…”

J: “Did he have scissors?”

Brandon: “No…”

J: “So how was he shaving his legs?”

Brandon: “He had mom’s noise hair trimmer.”

J: (long pause): “He was shaving his legs with a nose hair trimmer?”

Brandon: “Yes.”

J: “So, you tried to call your mom.”

Brandon: “Yes.”

J: “Why?”

Brandon: “Uhm, well, I figured it was wrong to shave your legs with a noise hair trimmer. I have to do something.”

(I recognize the need to do something, because I’m feeling it now, but at this point I go into a kind of parental vapor lock. If I were a TV computer I’d be waving my arms and smoking and repeating, “Punish, laugh, be wise! Punish, laugh, be wise!”

J: (after a long silence I make a weak choice and go with “Punish.”) “Okay, until I figure out what to tell your mother everyone is grounded.”

So, that’s my report. On the plus side Ryan’s legs look fabulous.

Respectfully Submitted,

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