Never Any Soap in This House

Oldest, 21.  Youngest two, 18.

English: A white bar of soap in a light blue p...

(With apologies to Dr. Suess.)

One of our children

It matters not who

Stepped into our room with

“Bad news for you”

Yes, we both asked

With wondering eyes

What could it be

The source of these sighs

This child, quite tortured

Delivered the news

That not a room in the house

Had bubblety-poo!

Did you look in our tub

Did you check in the hall

Have you looked in the cupboard

Yes; the answer to all

Then, we were told

Of a long-standing grouse

There’s NEVER, it seems

Any soap in this house

We hung our heads low

With shock and with shame

Had we really been guilty

Such a piercing claim

The neighbors, should they hear

Could cause us much nervousness

Skimping on bubbles?

They’ll contact Child Services

So, that night, in bed

With my inconsolable wife

I closed my red eyes

And dreamed of less strife

Of a world created

By future generations

With helpful inventions

And wondrous machinations

A box, perhaps

Sitting on wheels

Rolling individuals

Towards buildings with deals

All of it organized

With things to help cope

Shelves filled with food and

In aisles, bricks of soap

Never, in this future

Would teens ever go dirty

They’d hop in their box

And they’d come home with thirty

But, morning arrived

I slunk down the stairs

To face filthy children

My dirt-caked heirs

I told them of the dream

An unrealistic hope

To someday hear the phrase

Mom, I bought us more soap

 ***

“Hey, dad?”

 Sorry – got to go.  More later.


Imagine you were having a baby

I’m not a doctor for the simple reason that gross stuff makes me pass out. 

English: Modern wheelchair

Long before my wife and I had kids, we went to the hospital to visit a friend who just had her first baby. She was very excited.  Everybody said her tiny newborn girl was beautiful.  No.  I’m sorry. 

With newborns, beautiful comes later.  On this little girl’s Day-1, about the only thing that qualified as beautiful was the cool knit hat she got from the hospital. 

Our friend eagerly told us all about the delivery – and I mean all-about-it; the breaking of the water, the contraction pains, the delivery room, and the needles.  Her attention to detail was excellent.  So is my imagination.  I could feel the color leaving my face. 

I strategically strolled across the room, to look at the baby; the innocent, adorable, little newborn.  As the barrage of oh-so-excellent details continued, I began feeling light-headed.  I knelt down and pretended to look at the baby through her clear bassinet, saying something totally useless like, “Hi there.”   

The beautiful newborn turned its beautiful head and coughed out a splotch of nastiness against the bassinet wall.  The beautiful odor hit me before her grandmother hurried over to clean up the beautiful mess. 

I quickly walked over to my wife and tugged on the back of her shirt.  The birthing details were still streaming.  I tugged again.  She waved her arm behind her, as though swooshing a bug.  I tugged again.  She turned around sharply, saw my face, and realized it was time to go.  We said goodbye and walked to the elevator.  I pushed the down button and walked over to the water fountain for a cool drink. 

I heard her voice before I saw her face.  “Gonna need a wheel chair here.”

Ceiling tiles slowly came into focus and I felt myself being helped to a sitting position.  A large nurse looked me in the eyes and said, very loudly, “I see this all the time on the maternity floor.  You okay, sir?” 

My wife hurried over.  Her look said, “What are you doing?”

“Does this one belong to you?” the nurse asked her.

Absent-mindedly, my wife shook her head.  Other nurses were fluttering around us now.

“We’re gonna need to put him in a wheel chair.”

“A wheelchair?  No, I’m fine,” I said, getting up from the floor like a newborn pony.

“Sorry, hon,” she said, “hospital policy.”

Pride kept me from turning around, but as she wheeled me to the door, I knew my wife was trying her best contain a tear-worthy laughing fit.  Finally, she was able to speak.

“What are you going to do when we have kids?”

I said, “As long as you don’t tell me what happened, we’ll be fine.”

***

. . . And she didn’t.  For all three kids, I kept my back to the action the entire time – seated, of course.

***

“Hey, dad?”
Sorry.  Got to go.  More later.


Okay; through the years

Okay Grip Sign OK Hand

Forget ma-ma and da-da.

Small kids who just get a handle on speaking love the word Okay.  This tiny word is easy to say and makes kids feel big.  Early on, parents prompt their kids in how to use it.

Parent: We’re going inside to eat lunch.  Okay?

Kid: Okay.

Parent: When this show is over, it’s time for bed.  Okay?

Kid: Okay.

As kids grow older, the world becomes a little more complex.  But, like a favorite toy or stuffed animal, Okay remains the comfortable go-to word.

Parent: Kitty doesn’t like getting in the bathtub, okay?

Kid: Okay.

Like a craftsman, with repetition, a child refines their Okay-artistry; giving it many colors and flavors.

When said with a rushed, low monotone and a long Y-sound, they create annoyed indifference.

Parent: Can you turn the lights off when you’re done?

Kid: Okayyyy.

Some Okays have a “my-game-isn’t-over-and-you-are-ruining-my-score” feel to them.

Parent: Your homework needs to be done before you go out to play.

Kid: . . . okay . . .  (Said blankly, as if their avatar were speaking.)

It’s not until the teenage years, though, that Okay officially qualifies as a multipurpose language.  Identifying subtleties and phrasing is crucial in understanding the teenager’s true intent.

The Abbreviated Okay:   

Parent: Can you take your backpack upstairs?

Kid: K.

True meaning:  I will forget whatever you just said as soon as I leave the area in question. 

The Repeaters Okay:

Parent: You said you would empty the dishwasher.

Kid: Okay, okay!

True meaning: I didn’t think you really thought I meant it when I said okay, but OK!

The Clipped-Off Okay:

Parent: I asked you to turn the TV off.

Kid: oKAY!

True meaning: Stop!  How can I ignore you, if you keep talking to me? 

The Fully-Loaded Okay:  

Body language is essential here: they scrooble the eyebrows, slowly shake the head, and put heavy emphasis on the question mark.  Warning to users: depending on the parent, this can have risks. 

Parent: You need to be home by 10 o’clock.

Kid: Oh-kayyyyy?

True meaning: Why must I share this planet with you?

Eventually, Okay becomes such a deeply engrained response that saying it precedes the actual thought process.  These cases are easy to identify, however, because the teenager quickly calls a time out.

Parent: Can you help me wash the car this weekend?

     Kid: Okay.  Wait.  No, wait. Okay . . . wait.

Truly accomplished OK-ers create a new word by combining it with a follow-up phrase.

“Okay-I-will.”

“Okay-whatever.” 

Hearing that, you understand that the agreement will never happen, but as a busy parent you let it go because you really don’t have time for the whole homicide-investigation-thing.

***

“Hey, dad?”

Sorry – got to go.  More later.  Okay?


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