Look, parenting has its challenges. We know that. We embrace it. But still – some days, the life of a parent takes turns that are uneffingimaginable.
Some nights are even more bizzare. Take tonight – please!
No, OK, but still. I got them to bed. SOBUMD and I were in bed. She paused to use the restroom, I paused at my PC to turn this damn thing off – and a light came on, flickering, like a bad horror movie with no soundtrack, the only sound a soft footfall like you hear just before the words you know are coming, the scream, the – no, not a scream. Just a quiet voice from behind the flashlight: “Daddy, I’m still hungry. Can I have a bologna sandwich?”
The following exchange is a verbatim transcript of my life.
Number One Son: Can I have a bologna sandwich? I ate all my dinner.
BUMD: No you didn’t, you – oh, wait, that was yesterday. Damn, you did eat all your dinner. Stop pointing that light at me. OK, let’s look downstairs.
Number One Son: I did eat all my dinner.
BUMD: Yes, an entire chicken drumstick. But still, OK. So, we have bread that I have to slice, which I’m really not up for, or we have the sourdough that you didn’t like, or I can get – oh, hey, we have cookies! You can have a bologna wrap, or you can have a fresh-made chocolate chip cookie. Your choice.
Number One Son: Cookie.
I walked around to turn off the Human Tape Recorder’s light, and by the time I was done with that he’d walked into his room, munching on a cookie. I followed him in as he started climbing into his bed.
BUMD: You are NOT getting in that bed eating a cookie. In the chair, at the desk, now.
Number One Son: Mmh. OK.
BUMD: While you’re there at the desk, you can finish the cookie and your reading log! Here they are in front of you, and here’s a pen. I know it’s not due until Friday, but you haven’t filled it out all week. What did you read Monday?
Number One Son: Fmmtm Tllboof [pointing to Norton Juster’s Phantom Tollbooth]
BUMD: Ah, great book. So, write it down there!
Number One Son: OK.
BUMD: OK, you need a “thoughtful thought” about the book. Tell me something about the main character.
Number One Son: Milo is a weird kid who doesn’t understand anything at first.
BUMD: OK, I’ll take that. Write that down. Have you finished this book?
Number One Son: [silence]
BUMD: Hmm. [flips through pages remembered only dimly, if fondly] Do you remember how Rhyme and Reason returned?
Number One Son: Yes.
BUMD: Tell me.
Number One Son: They rode on the back of a demon named Ri Ghastly, who told them they were no strangers to love.
BUMD: What? [flips through book faster] I don’t remember that. Tell me more?
Number One Son: He said we’re no strangers to love. You know the rules [singing] – And – So – Do – I …
BUMD: What? BOY? Did you just Rickroll me? Did you just sit there and Rickroll your own father?
Number One Son: [giggling] It’s not a Rickroll if it’s not a video!
BUMD: Get in your bed. Get in your bed right now!!!
Number One Son: [still giggling]
BUMD: I cannot believe you would Rickroll your own father.
Number One Son: [still giggling] I was just singing!
BUMD: In the bed with you!
I don’t know what’s scarier – that he Rickrolled me, that he KNEW HOW to Rickroll me, or that he pulled it off so well. I’m still laughing at Ri Ghastly, but still – “Huh?” Damn, he got me again.