Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daddy Voice

“With great power comes great responsibility”
        -Martin Luther King, or Spiderman's Uncle Ben, I’m not so good with history.

In a course of the day I would estimate I need to use a loud voice about 10 times. My neighbours use theirs once, but as it appears they are going for a Guinness World Record for yelling it hasn’t stopped since the day we moved in. A loud voice is used either to gain a child’s attention, “It’s time for lunch!” to stop shenanigans, “Get your butt out of that  Cheerio box!” or to stop danger, “Put Daddy’s gun down, that’s his last bullet and its earmarked for something!”

Can someone explain why my cereal tastes like anus?

I’m not usually a loud or angry guy. Most would describe me as a calm patient man. When you meet men like me just be aware that we swallow all the little annoyances of everyday life (stubbed toes, undercooked fast food, stubbed toes in undercooked fast food, etc.). These little angry swallows form a dark black oily ball of “pissed off” that sits on our livers growing and festering just waiting for any moment to explode all over the the face of someone in front of us.

I used to be able to channel this anger into something productive back when I was a famous actor (famous in my immediate family). My angry Cyrano De Bergerac was quite well received. Then when I was working, it would come in handy when asked to host events without a microphone.

Now that I stay at home it’s become known as the “Daddy Voice”. It’s a voice that says get your shit together or this man will turn green, grow ten times bigger and destroy the house like the Jolly Green Giant.

For sure he trampled a house in anger at least once.

Sometimes its hard to remember not to bust the voice out at everyday annoyances. Listen to this: 
That’s the noise of our stools being pushed around the kitchen and to me it’s like setting my ears on fire. It is difficult to keep from using the Daddy Voice to stop it.

There are modulations for Daddy Voice. If there is potential extreme danger that will be made more possible by being startled, the Daddy Voice become softer, sterner and more in control, but it still holds the same weight. It might even be worse because now the child knows the regular sonic boom of Daddy Voice is going to come after they are safe. If I were a kid I might consider staying in the danger to avoid the screaming.

Nah, that's cool. I'll just stay up here thanks.

I hate having to use Daddy Voice in public. It’s happened just last weekend when we were babysitting someone else’s kid and spent some time at a local park where all our neighbors and their kids were playing. I gave the traditional five-minute warning to signal the end of play. The five-minute warning is pretty pointless to children who can’t tell time yet. Five-minutes can be deemed a bat of an eyelash to a child playing in the park, or an eternity when in the car heading to the zoo. I’ve even had children so bereft of time knowledge that they’ve bartered me down to four minutes. Fools.

At the end of the five minutes I announced that it was time to go. Neither this child nor my own got off the jungle gym. I said it again with heart, “Come on guys, it’s time to go.” My kid got off, the other child did not. I got a little louder, “Okay, I’m serious. It’s time to go.” The child then got off the equipment, looked at me, smiled a devilish smile and ran. I followed. She ran again with the same smile. That’s when I picture myself like an anime character inhaling everything in sight and explode. “GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!” Everything on the playground stopped, people stopped moving, birds hung unmoving in midair, there was no sound. It was as though time itself stood still except for me and this child. Because of course she was still running away smiling.

I am about to lose my shit people.

Of course when the mother of the child showed up later in the day to pick her up I  came clean and told the whole sordid story. With so many witnesses, there was no way I could risk her not finding out I yelled at her kid. She highfived me. That was a relief.

Later that evening we were all at a neighbourhood party and people kept coming up to her and saying, “So I saw your kid at the playground today...” leaving the sentence hanging in the air to see if she knew. Some people even said that other people had told them that, “they saw your kid at the park today...”

Great now I have a reputation. If you’ll excuse me I have to go scream at some kids in the yard about a Frisbee...
Your Frisbee is mine now! Gonna start a Frisbee store!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year's Heave!

When I was a kid I had a book called “School Years” which had pockets to put report cards, photos and other documents for each grade. For each year there was a place to write what you wanted to be when you grew up.

It's called an "Author" you stupid fuck. And why no new friends or achievements?
Ah, sweater vest, plaid shirt and bowl cut, now I understand.

It’s amazing how goals change through life especially after having children. When once I wanted to be a film auteur or famous comedic actor, now I want to sleep undisturbed through the night or watch a movie from the start to the end in one sitting.

Most movies are interrupted at least four times by my youngest daughter waking up and needing rocked back to sleep. Four times might not seem like much, but after that many we typically give up trying to watch it that night. Watching a movie in the span of two nights is always disappointing. Due to fatigue, I forget major plot points, characters and the name of the movie. Like I'm an old man at the movie theatre jabbering questions to his equally confused young mistress (in my simile I'm a rich old man).

Wait, is this a Moonlighting/3rd Rock From The Sun cross over?

Neither my wife nor I like to choose what movie we watch. Since it is a true time commitment of two days you do not want to be the one that chose a shitty movie. For the next three rounds of movie choices you will be reminded by your partner of the time you wanted to watch Johnny English because you heard “good things.”

"Really darling, I heard a guy behind the paint store saying this was hilarious. He had paint all around his mouth so he must be an artist and knows of these things."

Even worse would be picking a bad movie and having the kids sleep through it. Oh boy, that would be like winning a tropical vacation and then spending the entire time vomiting  because you insisted on eating at the airport Taco Bell before take off. 

My girls are notoriously bad sleepers, as previously written about here and here. Now if we have a decent night sleep it’s as if we’ve won $5,000 in the lottery. Not enough to set us up for life, but enough to feel a little relaxed about our debt.


Recently the baby has been waking up in the middle of the night and is ready to party. I have the most chance of a nap during the day, by this a number of factors align: while the eldest is in school the baby falls asleep, and no dinner prep or chores need to be done. The same equation brings about the apocalypse according to the Mayans. Anyway due to this I get up with the baby and have a “Bagel Party” with her. This consists a blurry eyed me putting cutting a bagel in two, putting said bagel in the toaster, buttering the bagel with butter, having the bagel flatly refused by the baby, and tearily eating that bagel myself.

I don’t recall seeing a New Year’s Eve for the past four years or so as a result of these children. While others are watching fireworks or Dick Clark’s balls drop (snicker and of course R.I.P.) I stare at this:

The hypnotic eyes of the Scotty dog command you to stay awake!

It’s no wonder every year my New Year’s resolution is to dust the ceiling fan more. This year we gave up trying to get her back to sleep and she partied with us.

Baby's resolution: Knock that drink out of Daddy's hand.