February 2013
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Venomous pronged hug

I walk down into the basement office where Mark is working on his computer, “Alright, the girls are in bed, and they want you to come up and hug them goodnight. Neither of them is happy, by which I mean that they are both quite hysterical with rage. Please do not engage the girls in discussion about how much their mother sucks. Do not engage either of the girls in discussion about how much her sister sucks. Do not attempt to resolve any issue. Do not express sympathy for any viewpoint. Ignore their wailing, whining, and claims that grievous bodily harm has been inflicted upon their persons by yours truly.”

Mark stares at me.

I glare at him, “Do not go up there and play the good guy, because I swear to god, I will fucking kill you. Hug the idiots you helped make and then walk away.”

He speaks mildly, “Have a little difficulty, did you?”

“Yeah, thanks for your help, by the way.”

He leans back in his chair, “I heard them screaming, but I decided the best parenting decision was to let them work it out without my intervention.”

“What you call parenting, I call hiding. Good job hiding, babe.”

Still leaning back in his chair, he crosses his arms behind his head, “Weren’t they just packing their lunches for tomorrow? Why can’t they do that without your help?”

I stand and stare at him for a second, “Because they are insane.”

He stretches his hands up above his head, “So did they get that done? Did they get lunches packed?”

“Nope. They’re both going to eat hot lunch tomorrow.”

He pauses mid-stretch, eyebrows raised, “But they hate hot lunch.”

“Hence the hysterical rage of which I spoke just a few moments ago.”

He laughs, “They messed up that badly? Want me to talk to them?”

“Sure, babe. Grab a beer on the way up . . . it will soothe you during the death.”

“What death?”


He stands and turns to heads upstairs, “Alright . . . hug the idiots and walk away . . . got it.”

But of course he does not hug the idiots and walk away, and I hear both of the girls pleading their cases to Daddy in outraged fashion. I grab a book and settle in on the couch, aware of the tone of the conversations going on above my head if not the actual words. Mark annoys the crap out of me sometimes.

After perhaps twenty minutes, he reappears and stands at the end of the couch for a moment before deciding to speak, “So, ummm . . . Maj claims she will die of typhoid if she is forced to eat a hot lunch served to her by the lunch-maidens of contagion.”

“Uh huh.”

“And she says you are insane.”

“Uh huh.”

“And she says that all she did was try to get you to parent her sister in responsible fashion, which you refused to do.”

“Uh huh.”

“And she says that part of being a mother involves supervising the packing of lunches so that no one packs a satchel of Lucky Charms and chocolate.”

“Uh huh.”

“And she says that you keep telling her to stay out of Kallan’s business, but she cannot stay out of Kallan’s business because she is in fear for her life and so she must supervise her younger sister at every moment in case this next moment is the moment in which her sister turns on her like a rabid python and squeezes the life out of her with a venomous pronged hug.”

“Uh huh.”

“And Maj suggests I sign you up for some parenting classes.”

I turn a page in my book, “Uh huh.”

“And she wonders if she could maybe pack herself lunch in the morning, after you’ve had a chance to sleep off your psychotic fury.”

I look up at Mark, and he shrugs, “I said I would ask you.”

I sigh, “Is that all?”

“No, but those were the highlights. Maj also feels that that you treat her unfairly at every turn and that she is punished far too often for behavior that a sane person would appreciate . . . even applaud. She sees that you are not up to the task of proper mothering, and she is just trying to help. All she is trying to do is pick up the slack around here, and apparently our house is an ocean of slack, and her job is quite difficult. Also, she advised me to disregard every word that comes out of Kallan’s snake-lying mouth.”

“And Kallan?”

“Kallan says that she was packing her lunch and minding her own business and trying to ignore Maj’s bossiness when you flew into the room like a witch and attacked her.”

“Did she now?”

Mark nods, “Yes, apparently there was some sort of confrontation about chocolate-covered raisins, and you were like a demon.”

“Did she mention the part about how she threw the chocolate raisins on the floor for the dogs to eat rather than show me how many she had taken?”

“No, she skipped weepingly to the part where you attacked her and threw her to the ground and injured her shoulder and her back.”

“I threw her to the ground?”


“Nothing about how she tripped over the chocolate-gobbling Labrador?”



Mark thinks for a second, “Are the dogs OK?”

“Yeah, they’ll probably have upset tummies, but they’ll be fine.”

“Also, Kallan wonders if she could pack her lunch in the morning, because you messed up and lost your temper this evening.”

“I messed up?”


I flip another page in my book, “Is that it?”

“Pretty much . . . there was more wailing and garment-rending and name-calling, but in the end, they both agree that everything is your fault.”

“It’s nice when sisters support one another, don’t you think?”

Mark laughs, “Anyway, I think I got them calmed down.”

I close my book, “Look at you, all good-daddyish. I’m so pleased you disregarded my instructions and instead took the time to listen and sympathize and resolve issues and then come down here to plead their cases to me.”

Mark is suspicious, “Yeah?”

“Yes. It’s always nice when you step in to help clean up the mess I have made of things. Sometimes the girls drive me insane. I can always count on you to stay calm and help me appreciate that there are points of view that aren’t mine.”

He sits next to me on the couch, relieved, “Good, because I was thinking you might be mad.”

I shake my head and turn to stare into his eyes, “Hey, why don’t you go get yourself that soothing death-beer we talked about?”

“Wait . . . what?”

    30 comments to Venomous pronged hug

    • Yes, I’ll have a beer as well . . .

      Thank you.

    • Death beers for everyone!
      I feel your pain…
      I need beer…

      • Just so you know, I did allow the girls to pack their lunches this morning before school.

        After I slept off my “psychotic fury.”


    • It is 8.10a.m. I have been laughing since 8.06am. This is a good way to start the day, thanks. R.I.P. Good Daddy. Hope you enjoyed your last beer.

    • I only have one, she wails and daddy soothes. I must threaten him with death-beer.

    • BethRD

      I threaten mine with worse than death-beer. Instead of killing him, I make him listen to an impassioned rant about the fact that he DOES NOT EVEN PRETEND TO LISTEN TO A GODDAMN WORD I SAY. And there is no beer allowed. He would prefer death, but no. No. That’s the easy way out and I will not stand for it.

      • You have made me laugh right out loud. Thank you for that.

        “That’s the easy way out and I will not stand for it.”

        So much laughter.

    • Yay for death beer! Heh.

      Soooo you can fly? I mean witches fly right?

    • Mishelle

      I would have made him make the lunches IN FRONT of the kids with a specific menu, he can not change, then sit outside the door and listen to the rants begin. It probably would have backfired on me somehow but the thought of the “not done AT me” ranting makes me smile.


      ps- the dogs ok? I thought they couldn’t have chocolate?

    • DeDe

      I LOVE this post! I was right there with you every step of the way… “Do not go up there and play the good guy, because I swear to god, I will fucking kill you. Hug the idiots you helped make and then walk away.” Have felt this way so many times but you said way more eloquently than I could have.

      • Sigh. Mark is such a good father. He really is.

        So annoying.

        Because sometimes in those angry moments when I want to just seethe and feel so very justified and right and correct in all things?

        He continues to be a good father.

        So fucking annoying.


    • Martha

      My ten year old daughter and I had a bit of a…disagreement, a couple of nights ago. I stayed as calm as reasonably possible, but she kept leaving the room and then coming back to make it worse. Like a thousand times. She was born with a complete lack of a know when to stop filter.
      But I’m the bad guy, because she overheard me tell my mom that sometimes that kid is lucky it isn’t legal to punch your kid into a coma. Doesn’t matter that I didn’t or wouldn’t do it, I’m now the “child abuser” she is forced to live with. Until she wants a piece of chocolate. Then I’m the best mom ever.
      B**ch. God, I love her.

      • Oh my god . . . neither of my daughters knows when to let something go. I have at times retreated to my room in an attempt to get a bit of distance and collect my thoughts, and they will FOLLOW ME, demanding that I engage. Weird that they are continually surprised at how their demands are met in an unsatisfactory (according to them) manner.

        Hee hee.

        As for you being a “child abuser?”

        My older daughter ducks if my hand appears in her peripheral vision. Full on ducks out of the way of what she appears to believe is an incoming punch. In public, in front of friends, anywhere . . . I raise my hand in a sudden manner anywhere near her, she ducks and cringes. The number of dirty looks I have gotten from strangers over the years? I cannot even begin to count.

        The girl is thirteen, and she can count the number of times I have struck her on zero fingers.


        Momming is difficult work.

    • Martha

      Sigh, indeed. Yesterday she told me that she always makes a point to hug me in front of her teachers, because she may have said some things to her friends at school about what a terrible parent I am. Things like she ran out of clean underwear, or the dishes have been in the sink too many days, or HER cats pee all over everything…
      So she hugs me when I pick her up, in case these stories have gotten back to the teachers, so that they can see I am not the neglectful, unloving parent that she made me out to be.
      When asked if it wouldn’t just be easier not to tell these unfortunately true stories, she says to not tell them would be boring and also unmotivating to me. No mention of the fact that these things aren’t done because of all of the activities that I am shuttling her to and from and working to pay for.
      Thank God I have her to motivate me to be my best mom self *biggest eyeroll ever*

      • Oh my god . . .

        See now, if I learned that my daughters were telling those sorts of tales about me, I would be all up in their school volunteering the SHIT out of my days.

        Spreading the word of my motherhood far and wide, and maybe revealing a bit of daughter-bullshit in the process.

        She can’t stop telling the stories because you would be demotivated????

        Oh, babe.

        Think of the stories YOU could tell to help her be the best daughter ever.

        Just think.

        The mind boggles.

    • "OG" Axel

      I had an idea that you could put the psycho in psychology.

      And as always it takes a husband to try to piece together that which was shattered. I think Mark’s onto something there- you know- let them work it out and discuss things reasonably with each other. You could really learn something there.

      You mad? I’ll grab a beer.


      • If our daughters would discuss anything EVER without fighting, I would totally be on board with the husband-genius of letting them work it out.

        They do not work it out.

        AT ALL.

        And then I have to send them to their rooms because they are filling the neighborhood with their screaming ridiculous rage.

        And then they seethe in their rooms, blaming me for their misfortune.

        And then up goes Mark to calm them.


        I will take that beer, though.

        Thank you.

    • Jacquie

      Your stories……oh my word I can’t even breathe right now….dying!

    • So sad that you can’t use the “Just wait till your father comes home” line. Damn kids these days ;)

    • Who knew sleep was the cure for psychotic fury? Learning something new every day here on Pretty All True