I remember being a normal person.
Well, not totally normal. I’ve always been a freak show. But at the very least I used to carry on halfway normal conversations with people. They’d say something, I’d respond, they’d come back with something else, and on and on it would go. Naturally. The way conversations are supposed to happen.
Unfortunately I’ve recently realized having kids turns you into someone completely incapable of having a normal conversation. Tell me if the following sounds familiar.
At the moment, my wife is currently home from work taking care of Sam full-time. Which is wonderful. But for two hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon everyday, she’s got Sam AND Will. As you might imagine or can attest, a screaming newborn combined with a precocious 5-year-old is a hair-raising experience.
Which is probably why every single time MJ calls me she’s already talking before I pick up on the other end.
“…I DON’T KNOW IF THE YELLOW POWER RANGER ALSO POOPS YELLOW, GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM…Hello??”
“…DON’T LICK YOUR BROTHER, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?…Hello??”
“…OH MY GOD, WHY ARE YOU NAKED? WE’RE IN PUBLIC, PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON!…Hello??”
MJ also has the uber annoying habit of calling me seconds before she orders coffee at the drive-thru. At least three times a week I’ll be at work and see it’s her calling me, so I pick up because I want to make sure everything is OK. That’s when I’m treated to the delight of hearing something all-too-familiar:
“…I’LL HAVE A LARGE ICED HAWAIIAN CHOCOLATE NUT, MILK, ONE SPLENDA…Hello?”
I’ve asked her why she can’t wait to call me until she’s settled and not talking to someone else, but to this day I’ve never received a valid answer. I blame the ADD and what I imagine to be bears riding on unicycles to the strains of blaring circus music that is in my beloved’s head at all times.
But I can’t criticize too much because I’m just as guilty.
As a parent, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I swear. But looking back, I know if someone polled my friends they’d be more than happy to call me on it. I call them, they answer, things are going well, and then BOOM — kids.
“Hey man, are you going to the game Sunday because — WILL! GET YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR BUTTHOLE! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? GO WASH YOUR HANDS OR YOU’RE GOING TO SMELL LIKE ASS ALL DAY. GO NOW!! — I think it’d be cool to meet up and tailgate for a bit.”
“So how was that event last weekend? I saw the pictures on your Facebook and it looked — WHAT WILL? WILL, I’M ON THE PHONE. NO YOU CAN’T HAVE THE NERF GUN ON TV. I KNOW IT’S NOT A REAL GUN BUT YOU STILL CAN’T HAVE IT. WELL THEN GO LIVE AT THEIR HOUSE BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY WE’RE SO CRUEL TO YOU! NO YOU CAN’T HAVE THE SWORD OF GODRIC GRYFFINDOR EITHER. BECAUSE 1) NO WEAPONS, AND 2) IT’S FICTIONAL! FICTIONAL MEANS NOT REAL, NOW JUST BEHAVE!!! — like it was a really good time.”
To all those negatively impacted by this epidemic of parental conversations, I humbly apologize. Unfortunately, it’s not changing any time soon.