Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Stolen Adulthood

There has been plenty of news to blog about the last few days, but I have not touched any of it. I think I have time, but it keeps getting eaten up by the little gremlins who call me "Daddy". Do you think I can listen to ten minutes of Lileks on the Hewitt show every week? Is that too much to ask?

Before my wife started working on Monday nights, she always had something to say to me just as Lileks came on. Without fail, she would tell me something unimportant or ask me something about a non-urgent matter. At 6:30, with Lileks gone, she would fall silent. Why? What couldn't wait until then?

Our offspring are no better. If they are not demanding food straightaway or asking to go on the computer, they are screaming with the anguish of a million tortured souls for the most trivial of reasons. One thing that seems to be a constant in these situations is that the one who sounds most like a baby is one of the older children. Like in this exchange from yesterday:

Sound from upstairs: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Me: Come down here!
Little brother (descending staircase): Well, that was...
Sound from upstairs: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Me: Tell your brother to come down here!
Little brother: Okay.
(Ten minutes later, after much calling and using Little Brother as messenger.)
Big brother (sounding like he had just lost at least two limbs and had an eye poked out):
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Me: Quiet! The baby is trying to sleep! You'll wake her up!
Big brother:
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Me: So what happened?
Little brother: Well, he wanted to play with my Buzz Lightyear but I wouldn't let him.
(At this point, I should point out that I did not hold Little Brother responsible. There is a difference between sharing, which is mutual and harmonious, and acting like a Democrat, which is coercive and punitive, and involves a lot of whining and crying when they don't get their way.)
Big brother: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Me: So he tried to take your Buzz without asking you first?
Little brother: Uh-huh.
Me: Is that what you did? Try to take his toy without his permission?
Big brother:
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!! Yes. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Me: Calm down, and I will help you. (to Little Brother) If he asks you to do something, can you please just say yes and do it for him?
Little brother: Okay.
Me: Ask little brother if he will let you hold his Buzz Lightyear.
Big brother (sobbingly): Please, may I hold your Buzz Lightyear?
Little brother: Okay!
(Dispute settled. Whole thing forgotten. EXCEPT BY ME.)

If their conduct as children is any indication (and I could post hundreds of examples like this), Big Brother will grow up to become a Democrat (like his mother) and Little Brother will grow up to become a Republican (like his father). He has shown a tendency towards independence and self-reliance since his first day out of the womb in the hospital, when he kept spitting out the pacifier. He never used one after that.

But dang it, Lileks and Hewitt were having the most interesting conversation about Lucha Libre and I missed most of it after the first couple of minutes!

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