Parenting Pays

, , , , , | Related | April 23, 2018

Once while out shopping, my husband saw a terrible child and quietly slipped our kids each a quarter “for not being that kid.” It became a family “thing.” Sometimes the kids will see awful behavior and just hold out their hands. This joke persists to this day.

When our son was in high school, he and his dad went to a game shop. They were standing in line when another family came in. The mother in the other family was awful. She was swearing and rude and pushy.

Our son silently looked at my husband, pulled a dollar out of his pocket, and gave it to his dad. Later, he said that the woman was so awful that his dad deserved a dollar for “really, really not being that parent!”

Phoning In The Discipline

, , , , | Related | April 23, 2018

(Since I’m an only child of a large family tree, I’m a bit of a loner, comparatively. I don’t mind being by myself and actually enjoy silence, which is the complete opposite of most of my family. One day, I take a roadtrip with my mom and members of her side of the family. We end up carpooling with one of my aunts, her husband, and their three kids. My uncle is driving, with me right behind him, and my aunt is in the passenger seat, with my mother directly behind her. All my cousins are shoved in the back. We’re all chatting amongst ourselves, but my aunt is admittedly monopolizing most of the conversation. After a while, I get bored and pull out my phone to read. I reason that, since no one is directly talking to me, and some of my cousins are also on their phone, this is all right.)

Aunt: “[My Name]! Are you paying attention?”

Me: “Huh? Oh, no, sorry.”

Aunt: “Ugh, your generation and phones. Always texting and never talking with the actual people around you!”

(I put away my phone to pay attention more to the conversation, but it turns out she didn’t want to say anything specific to me, as she’s sharing a story. After a few minutes, I pull my phone out again, but my aunt reaches over from her seat and plucks it away from my hands.)

Me: “Hey!”

Aunt: “I warned you already! Now you can’t use it for the rest of the ride!” *slips my phone into HER purse*

(I glance back at a cousin sitting behind me, who’s been on his phone this whole time.)

Me: “But—”

Aunt: “You had your chance. You’re being disrespectful!”

Mom: “She has a point, [My Name]. Besides, we’re traveling through the countryside. Why don’t you enjoy the view?”

(I’m frustrated, but decide not to argue. After trying and failing to pay attention to their conversation, I do what I normally do, and what anyone else probably does and has done without the aid of their phones: I daydream. My mind takes me to the medical article I was reading and branches out in crazy directions. After a while, however…)

Aunt: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Hm?”

(I look at my aunt, staring at me strangely.)

Aunt: “What… What are you thinking about, sweetie?”

(At that moment, I was remembering a surgical video where a doctor removed some sort of gnarly cyst from a patient’s back. Knowing that’s a squeamish and gross topic for most, I freeze.)

Me: “Uh… You don’t want to know.”

(I immediately look back out the window, but not before hearing my mom and uncle chuckle to themselves. We’re stuck driving for another hour before hitting a rest stop. After I’ve taken my bathroom break, my aunt approaches, wordlessly hands me my phone back, and passes me to use the bathroom.)

Me: “Uh…”

Mom: “Wow, I guess she really was bothered.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Uncle: “Aw, she gave you back your phone? That’s the most quiet [Aunt] has been in years!

(Turns out, I was really zoned out and hadn’t noticed when they started talking about me. Specifically, my aunt freaked out and asked my mom what was wrong with me. My aunt wasn’t used to seeing any of her own kids staying calm while doing nothing, so when she saw me sitting there, dead-eyed and perfectly still, it had creeped the crap out of her. I didn’t help matters when she asked what I was thinking about, and it caused her to stay silent most of the ride, periodically looking over her shoulder at me, unnerved by it all. On the plus side, I was able to use my phone until we reached our destination. If anything, I was surprisingly more attentive when I needed to be, compared to my cousins who complained and fought with each other when our phones ended up having bad reception!)

And I Like Turtles!

, , , , | Related | April 22, 2018

(My younger cousins come over to my house. For some reason, my brother and I are arguing whether girls and boys on the whole tend to have biological personality differences, or whether it’s society and upbringing. I am about 11 or so, my brother is around nine, and my cousins are around five and three, as far as I can recall. My cousins are asked their opinion.)

My Five-Year-Old Cousin: *paraphrased* “I think some boys are like boys and some are like girls, and vice versa.”

My Three-Year-Old Cousin: “I think boys and girls are different from crocodiles.”

Call Of The Dead

, , , , | Related | April 21, 2018

(For many years, my father has been famous in his circle of friends for the… unique greetings he records for the family answering machine. I call their house phone today and get the following:)

Message: “Hi, this is the [Our Last Name]’s answering machine. They say life begins when the kids move out and the dog dies. Since we still have a healthy and active dog, I guess we’re not alive. If you wish to speak with the undead, please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks.”

(I left a message asking if I should call back later or just double-tap. Looking forward to the reply!)

Oh, Brother!

, , , , , | Related | April 20, 2018

(My father isn’t very tech-savvy, so occasionally he’ll ask me to look up old friends of his on Facebook and the like. One day, he calls me down from my room to do so, and points out a friend request from a youngish-looking guy whose name I don’t recognize.)

Dad: “Guess who that is.”

Me: “One of your work buddies’ kids?”

Dad: “Nope.”

Me: “Uh… I give up.”

Dad: *grinning* “He’s your older brother!”

(I’m caught pretty off-guard by this, because, one: I only have two brothers, both younger, two: this guy and I don’t have the same last name, and three: my father is also a notorious jokester. After double-checking that it isn’t April Fool’s, I stare at him, waiting for him to start laughing. Instead, he hugs me.)

Dad: “Surprise!”

(It turns out my mother and father had a baby when they were teenagers. Since they couldn’t support him, they agreed in advance to give him up for adoption, and he was apparently born with some pretty severe health problems, so they tried lessening the pain by telling themselves he wouldn’t have been around long, anyway. But he actually recovered, grew up in another state, and then came back here to buy a house when he and his wife were expecting their first child. The cherry on top? He worked in tree service like my father and ended up being sent to a job at one of my mother’s sister’s houses! His resemblance to my mother was uncanny, which my aunt remarked on, and since his adoptive parents had told him about his roots, that ended up leading him to us. Unfortunately, he never got to meet my mother, as she’d passed away a few years earlier, but he was still welcomed warmly by the rest of our huge family. On top of that, I’m great friends with my sister-in-law, and I’ve got a niece and baby nephew I absolutely adore… and who have their big, gruff-looking new Grandpa utterly wrapped around their little fingers!)

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