Author: noisetopia

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Girls and Boys

I live in a house populated entirely by females. I co-habitate with a wife, four daughters, a female dog, a female rabbit, and six fish that I’m pretty certain are females (because they always look angry to see me). It’s not the worst thing in the world, though. I’m sure having a house full of girls is exponentially better than having a house full of boys. With girls, there is a major reduction in the chances of them peeing on the bathroom floor, tracking mud and/or reptiles into the house, and actual hand-to-hand combat between siblings. The only reason I know all of this about boys is– brace yourselves– I was one. And I had a brother. So, believe me. I am keenly aware of the trouble I’m avoiding by having only girls. 

But there are definitely some things that are unique to most boys that our girls can’t deal with. Being the manly man that I am, I once went fishing for dinner. Because I consider myself the “provider” of the house, I set out with the goal of giving my family a feast of fresh catfish. After a full day of battling the sun, the mosquitoes, and other fishermen trying to encroach on “my spot”, I had caught enough for a small appetizer. Or a nice fish stick lunch. So, after I brought home McDonald’s for everybody, I still had 2 mediocre-sized catfish to clean. I set to the task in the kitchen sink, which my wife expressed her enthusiasm for with a hearty “are you f*cking kidding me?” My oldest, ever the supporter of her dear old dad, came into the kitchen to find out what I was in trouble for this time. She wasn’t yet tall enough to see over the counter top, so she asked what I was doing. I told her I was cleaning the fish I had caught. She then asked me why I was giving the fish a bath, and I realized that she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Because she was 3. So I explained to her that I was removing the meat that we were going to eat from the rest of the fish. So she asked me if she could watch me. I explained to her that it was “yucky” and she probably didn’t want to see it. Then, she put her arms up in the air signaling that I was required, by law, to pick her up and show her what I was doing. So I did. 

Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? That moment they sense their impending doom and turn into a motorized death machine whose only objective is to get the hell away from you? That’s kind of how my 3-year-old reacted to seeing a gutted fish. I can’t help but imagine that a boy of the same age would have been ’bout it ’bout it when it came to getting a handful of fish guts. I know I was at that age. Now, I’m not implicitly saying this is a girl/boy issue. It may very well be a 3-year-old seeing a gutted fish for the first time issue. It was likely a traumatic experience, and understandably so. Not that it affected her appetite for catfish. On meal-catching expeditions where I am more successful, I can definitely say the #1 importer of the fish I catch is the mouth of our oldest. The child eats fish like she’s a bear getting ready for winter. 

Then again, there’s definitely some traits specific to girls that I wouldn’t trade for all the mini-fishing buddies in the world. For example, our third child, Lucy, is one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. In the time it has taken me to write this article, she has busted into the room approximately six times demanding hugs and kisses. She kicks the door in, runs up to the desk, and says, “Daddy, I want to hold you!” I imagine if it were a boy he would kick the door open, run up to the desk, and show me the booger he just got out of his nose or the large, angry frog he just found outside. Some of you that are parents of boys can probably confirm my assumptions with tales of your own experiences. 

Nevertheless, like I said earlier, this may not be a specific boy vs. girl thing. I’m operating with a major bias, in that I only have girls to base my theories on. Oh, and my own experience and fond memories of torturing my mom when my brother and I were younger. 

Noisetopia

Bath Time

Listen, I love my kids. But they’re gross. My kids could get dirty in a sterile operating room. I don’t understand it. At any given point they’re either sticky, dirty, smelly, or a combination of all three. So, like most good parents, we try to bathe them at least semi-regularly. Here’s a breakdown of the process.

The first thing you want to do is announce in a calm but firm voice that it’s bath time. You should try to do this in a room with the least amount of exits possible. The fewer ways these stinky crumb gremlins can escape, the better. You should also “prep” the room by removing any sharp objects and covering any reflective surfaces as your dirt-covered noisemakers may startle easily. Having your spouse stand just outside the room with a butterfly net and/or candy is effective as a secondary means of containment if and when your crumb snatchers panic. I have four kids. Rounding them up can be a challenge sometimes. Luckily our middle two haven’t quite developed their hand-eye coordination and frequently faceplant during their attempted flight from deodorization. Our youngest is still in the squishy paperweight phase, so she gets bathed in the kitchen sink. Our oldest has a mean head-fake and often gets past her less-than-agile dad but is usually scooped up in secondary containment by her mother.

Once you have them all in the bathroom, it’s time to draw the bathwater. I’ve had people suggest doing this beforehand. The problem with that is A) when the dirt goblins hear the tub filling up they run and B) if they do escape, by the time they’re caught the bath water is usually too cold and has to be re-drawn. No, it’s better to wait until you have them cornered in the bathroom. When they hear the tub filling up, they usually accept their fate and prepare for the inevitable.

Unless they don’t. Open rebellion is also a possibility. My 2-year-old is usually the leader of the resistance. Her most-employed tactic is to crap in the bathtub. Once this happens, I have to get them all out of the tub, empty the water, disinfect everything, refill the tub, and drain it again to remove cleaning agent residue. All the while my wife is hosing the girls down in our stand-up shower with the handheld shower head.

If by some miracle our 2-year-old doesn’t crap in the tub, it’s time for the actual cleaning portion of the process. Now, some people will take the hands-on approach of getting a washcloth or one of those poofy things and scrubbing their kids down. Ha! Amateurs. I’ve found a much more effective method– a bubble bath. I’m not talking about Mr. Bubble and his bubblegum-scented bullshit. That stuff is nowhere near strong enough to handle the funk film that my kids carry around. You need something much stronger. Cue the Dawn dish detergent. They use this stuff to clean animals affected by industrial disasters and catastrophic oil spills. Sounds like the right stuff.

The most effective method is to take a about a tablespoon of Dawn and add it to the bathwater. Then, grab a bath toy and offer it to one of your kids. The other kids will ask you to let them have it instead. Then, drop the toy in the middle of them and watch the child-powered agitating action that comes from three kids fighting over a toy. You should have some extra towels on hand for the inevitable splashing of the walls, ceiling, and floor that will occur. Rain gear is also recommended but not required.

After a brief but messy struggle, a victor should emerge. Your kids should now be squeaky clean with no hand-scrubbing required. It’s best to get them out of the tub one at a time, as they will try to get past you and run through the house naked, trailing as much water as possible along their route. Much like when you were trying to round them up for the bath, you should have a secondary means of containment with a towel ready to capture and dry off any now-slippery scream demons.

The goal is to get them in and out of the bathtub before they realize what has happened. Upon donning clean pajamas, their first instinct will be to run outside and play in the first dirt pile they can find. They can’t help it. It’s just in their nature to get dirty again as soon as possible. This behavior is especially prevalent after you’ve gotten them dressed for a formal function. This can be avoided by distracting them with dessert or popcorn and a Disney movie.

Finally, enjoy the next approximately twenty minutes that they remain clean and odor-free. Because, let’s face it, they’re probably going to find a way to get dirty again before bed.

P.S.- We don’t actually use Dawn dish detergent on our kids. That would be cruel. We’ve found that GOJO works better and leaves them with a refreshing citrus smell. 

Noisetopia

Honesty

What is it about kids that makes them so honest? Is it because they haven’t learned the benefits or– more importantly– the consequences of lying? Imagine a world where everybody said whatever they thought, whenever they wanted, without regard to impact. Have any of you ever witnessed something or heard something that made you stop and take a moment for self-reflection? Yeah, me too. Except my moments of self-reflection are usually because of some brutal honesty on the part of my kids. Story time!

The family and I got all dressed up and made our customary bi-weekly trip to The Walmart for restocking of our depleted wares. We perused the aisles, filling most of our basket with things that weren’t on our shopping list. I mean, honestly, who can pass up a battery-powered handheld mister/fan combo when it’s on sale? We eventually ended up in the clearance aisle. The clearance aisle is kind of like doing a scavenger hunt in a hobo camp– you’re going to find something that you think is pretty cool but somebody else thinks is useless and/or disgusting. Orange Dreamsicle Oreos anyone?

Halfway through our trip down the aisle, my four-year-old spotted a stuffed Santa Claus toy stashed behind an As Seen On TV Shamwow. She dug the toy out from its hiding spot and studied it. Then she looked at me. She alternated between studying the toy and studying me, no hint on her face as to what was about to come out of her mouth. Then she blurted out, “Daddy, he’s got white in his hair just like you.” Whew! I thought she was getting ready to talk about the similarities between our bellies that resemble bowls of jellies. Still, though, the hair comment was uncalled for. Accurate, but uncalled for. If she were a grown man we’d be going fisticuffs. But she’s a four-year-old and couldn’t have seen anything wrong with the comparison she had just made.

Kids are the purest form of conversation, even when the chronological events of their stories are fabrications of their still-developing minds. Listening to a 45-minute story from my two and half year old is a riveting adventure that covers princesses, dinosaurs, ghosts, monsters, and then circles back around to dinosaurs. In their minds, these events are vivid and real. And they want you to experience the exciting wonderment the same way they did.

Imagine if we had the same types of rules for honesty and story-telling that our kids do.

Wife: Do you have any idea how loud you were snoring?

Husband: No. How loud?

Wife: Loud enough that I was trying to figure out how to make your impending death look like an accident.

Or

Wife: Honey do these pants make my butt look fat?

Husband: No, dear. Your butt makes your butt look fat.

Or

Husband [after sexy time]: Was it good for you?

Wife: Not even close.

Maybe honesty isn’t the best policy when it comes to grown-ups. How about we run with the story-time before bed idea? Not for the kids, but for us grown ups. 

Kids live in a world that I personally would love to live in myself. Everything is new. Genuine reactions that you and I take for granted every day are a source of constant discovery for children. And the reactions they witness are so genuine because they’ve usually said something equally genuine to cause them.

Hold onto that stuff as long as you can. There’s going to be a day in the not too distant future when your kids not only learn to lie, but they get pretty good at it. Believe it or not, you’re going to miss the brutal honesty of trying on clothes in front of a four-year old and her saying you look like the can of biscuits right before mommy pops it open. Or wheeling your kids through the store and having them announce, in succession and at a high volume, that they all need to poop.

The best part of an honest child? When they climb up into your lap, lay their head on your chest, and tell you they love you. That’s a truth you shouldn’t ever forget.

Noisetopia

Thanks

To all of the readers who follow this blog, thank you! As some of you know, a Noisetopia article “Jailbreak” was published on parent.com and I couldn’t be more excited. Thanks to everybody for your support and encouragement. I look forward to bringing you many more awkward stories and completely fabricated wisdom. 

Here’s the link to the article. Feel free to check it out and share it with your friends. Thanks again!

https://www.parent.co/jailbreak-from-maximum-security-infant-birthing-center-sort-of/

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Fight Me, You Winged Bitch

**This is a repost of a story from by personal Facebook page before I began this blog. If this is your first time reading it, enjoy. If you’ve read it before…enjoy again?? Thanks. 

It’s important to be humbled once in a while. For example, I am a firefighter. I have walked into burning buildings, cut people from mangled cars, been burned, stabbed, limbs broken, etcetera, etcetera. Earlier tonight, I was lucky enough to display my manly awesomeness to the Three Fair Maidens of All Things Pink while I hunted for that most elusive of foes- the common housefly. This winged trickster had incurred the wrath of King Dadness of Estrogenville when he decided to fly mere inches from my face while I was serving up the culinary masterpiece of Sir Papa the John to the Three Glittery Duchesses. So I leapt into action, quickly retrieving my “As Seen on TV” Bug Zapping Tennis Racket from its resting place above the refrigerator. I crept through the kitchen, deftly darting from sink to oven to coffee maker, the Three Crowned Damsels of Eternal Stickiness looking on in stunned silence as I played a game of cat and mouse…..but with a fly….and a human…Kaylee is actually allergic to cats so that’s a terrible analogy.

Anyways, my oldest offspring suddenly spoke up and asked “Daddy what are you going to do if you see a spider?” To which I replied (and I’m just paraphrasing here) “Fear not, mylady, for I shall be stealthy enough to vanquish any eight-legged demons I encounter while I hunt for this winged saboteur.” Or something to that effect. My middle minion then spoke up and said “Daddy how are you going to sneak up on the spiders? Whenever you see one you scream like I do.”

It’s hard to continue hunting flies when your pride takes a left-hook to the face. Stay humble, friends

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Plans

Today is one of those rarest of days. The kind of day that doesn’t come often but, when it does, it’s celebrated. The kind of day that is often talked about but rarely seen….

A day off.

And I’m not just talking about a day off from work. Because even when I’m off work there’s plenty of stuff that needs to be done at the house. No, this is a day off work, with nothing to do, and nobody to see. Okay I take that back. My mom stopped by to drop off some authentic Coon-ass gumbo. Mmmmmmmmmm……..gumbo……..

Where was I? Oh, right. Day off. Yes this is a day where we have nowhere to be and nothing to do. So the wife and I start to discuss options for the day’s fun activities. No cleaning to be done. No house repairs that urgently needed to be completed. Nothing that involved manual labor. We are going to take advantage of the day and treat the girls (who have been working their butts off trying to help with the new baby) to something fun. And we’re going to do it as a family. The first family outing with our newest recruit– the baby.

And then the eruption of Mount Saint Lucy happens.

In the middle of discussing the day’s activities, we are interrupted by the sight and sound of our 2-year-old, Lucy, projectile vomiting everywhere.

I guess I know what we’re doing today.

Amanda levitates from the recliner where she’s sitting to standing in front of the couch where Lucy is vomiting. It was pretty impressive, actually. I’ve never seen anybody move that fast. Especially with a baby in their hands. Oh, wait. It appears she put the baby down in the bouncer. Not sure when that happened, but okay.

As I make it over to Lucy to….offer support I guess…..the first thing that hits me is the smell. How in the pea-soup puking glittery shits does someone that small make a smell that bad? I dry heave mid-sentence. I start to say to my wife, “How can I help?” but all that comes out is “How can I Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.” Hey, at least I offered.

We play a little game that most, if not all, parents have played at least once with their kids. It’s called “Try To Get The Shirt Off The Angry, Puke-Covered Toddler Without Puking Yourself.” After four kids, my wife and I are gold-medal finalists. We point our toddler in a safe direction (away from the pets and family members) and bring her to the walk-in shower in our bathroom for a thorough decon and cleaning. We get her cleaned up and into some new pajamas. With the full expectation that we’ll have to repeat this whole process over again at some point today.

These are the things that we parents do for our kids. It would have been great to take the family out and do something fun. But every now and then a little bit of life happens. Plans are great. But you’ve got to learn to accept change. Because– especially when you have kids– your plans are going to change often.

I guess it’s a day of Disney movies and popcorn. Wish us luck.

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Baby Buggy Bumpers

I know, I know. It’s been a few days since I’ve posted an article. But like our slogan says, a little bit of life happened. If you’ve been following along thus far, we recently had a new baby. It’s weird just how many baby-specific things you forget between the birth of each child– even after four of them. And it’s not just the obvious stuff like having to wake up a milk-drinking noise critter every three hours to eat. I’m talking about the little stuff. Like making sure there’s a new diaper under the baby before you try to take the poopy one off. Because I promise you– no matter how fast you think you can change a diaper or how many times you’ve done it, you will not be able to beat the poop clock in time to avoid green baby dookey all over your bed. And what’s more, that rude little poop-monster won’t even clean up after themselves.

Or, what about the fact that babies need to be burped after they eat and there is a 147% chance they will throw up on you at least a little bit. This is something our 7 year old recently found out when she offered to “help” by burping the baby. My wife had just finished breastfeeding and needed to go to the bathroom. Seconds after she sat on the toilet she hears from the living room, “oh no oh no oh God OH MY GOD EWWWW EWWWW OH MYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDD”. My wife exited the bathroom to the sight of a content three-week old being held by a not-so-content 7 year old covered in baby puke. I don’t think she’s going to offer to help again for a while.

And since we’re talking about breastfeeding, here’s another fun fact. Did you know breastfeeding sometimes requires accessories and equipment? What in the disco-dancing jiggly balls? Is it not just boob to face? Not always, apparently. Even something as simple as breastfeeding can require what I’m pretty sure is just surplus oil pipeline equipment– flanges and hoses and regulators. For what’s supposed to just be boob to mouth, this stuff gets complicated.

You think that’s bad? Let’s talk about pumping. You see, after your newborn drinker-of-boob-juice is finished eating, your wife probably still has some milk left in those sweater kittens. So what are you supposed to do with all that milk? You pump it out and store it in the freezer. Holy sugar-covered panda farts. Have you seen this crap? My wife sits on the couch, all nonchalant-like, and unbuckles the hard case on The Boobie Suck-o-tron 3000. She hooks up the hoses, c-clamps, boob grabbers, flanges, and photon phasers. Then she puts these trumpet-looking jug suckers up to her nipples and flips the switch. Actually, I use to have to flip the switch because she has the same amount of hands as boobs. Then, she went to Boobs R’ Us and bought an over-the-shoulder-udder-holder so that she could go hands-free with her jiggly juice extraction. So now she has the Jugsucker 3000 running AND she’s able to accomplish other tasks like throw things at me or point at things she wants me to do.

How about bathing a newborn? Did you know there’s a specific process to remember when you’re washing a baby. You start with the face. Wipe inside to outside away from the eyes, nose, mouth. Then clean under the nine fat rolls under her chin. Assuming you don’t yet have to change the water due to her pooping in it, now comes the fun part– picking up a wet, slippery, screaming infant and attempting to wash their back. Imagine a pressed ham covered in soap has come to life and is now screaming and flailing around. And you’re expected not to drop it. They frown on that.

But, despite all of this, it feels awesome to have a baby in the house again. It’s great to see my wife and girls caring for and welcoming the new addition to our house. If things keep going the way they are, we might even keep her. 

Noisetopia

Water Balloons

I damn near kicked the front door of our two-bedroom apartment in when we got home from the store. That son of a bitch was going down. I was sick of being second best. My roommate had been rubbing it in my face and I was done. That night was the night I would do it. That night I was going to break his record for largest water balloon launched from our apartment balcony.

My wife had gotten used to spending our nights like this. Hell, most of the time, she was the one that was reloading the water balloons into our launcher. Upon entering our apartment, I walked straight to the bathroom and ripped open the 50-pack of large, red birthday balloons. I had found, during my extensive research into the elasticity of different balloons in relation to their colors, that red seemed to tolerate not only the expansion from filling, but also the rapid acceleration experienced during launch. As I stretched the neck of the first balloon over the faucet, my beautiful bride sat down on the toilet next to me.

Our current situation was mostly my fault. I had taken an unreasonably long time to select the balloons at the store. Long enough that my wife developed the urge to go. During the ride back to our apartment she repeatedly expressed how badly she needed to pee which caused me to continuously tap the brakes and try to hit every bump I could. Because that’s what couples do.

So, I wasn’t surprised when she followed me into the bathroom and plopped down on the toilet next to me. Because I’m a gentleman, I averted my eyes and focused on the task at hand. This means I missed the part where she casually reached under the sink and retrieved a pregnancy test. She took said pregnancy test. Said pregnancy test….said she was pregnant. She got my attention when she said “uhhh….honey” as she held the pregnancy test in front of her face. I had just tied the neck of the biggest water balloon in the history of our apartment and was cradling it like a fat, squishy baby as I contorted my neck to read the small, blue lines on the pregnancy test, not yet comprehending what I was seeing.

That’s right, folks. I was holding a giant, red water balloon when I found out I was going to be a dad. I don’t think there’s a better example of just how unready someone could be for fatherhood.

Noisetopia

Seashells

Kid logic. Not for the faint of heart. Whereas adults will go from cause to effect, kids will often go from cause to shiny object to barbie playhouse to thirteen questions about dinosaurs to effect. I was recently interrogated by a very skeptical four-year-old. We spent a week at a lake house last summer and while there, each of the girls collected seashells from the lakeside to take home with them. My four-year-old, Aimee, collected a full quart-size ziploc bag of what she deemed to be the best and most beautiful of the lakeside shells. A couple weeks after we came home, the bag of seashells ended up as a prop in what I can only assume was a Shakespearean production the girls performed in our driveway. I guess the props department that was working that particular day decided to quit, because all of the seashells were left strewn about, intermingled with sidewalk chalk pieces and barbie dolls.

Fast forward approximately one month. Like most souvenirs we get for the girls during our family vacations, the seashells have been all but forgotten. They stayed in the driveway, casually blending in with the worn cement and slowly becoming just another unnoticed object the girls had to walk over to get to the car. These beautiful seashells, the ones the girls HAD to have, the ones we specifically brought quart-size ziploc bags to the beach for, were forgotten.

Until one day when we told the girls to go play outside. They were outside for about 5 minutes until Aimee swat-style kicked the back door open and ran to where I was sitting in the living room. She approached, accusatory look on her face, clutching one of the forgotten seashells in her raised and outstretched hand. As she held the seashell awkwardly close to my face she asked, “Daddy. Why didn’t you tell me we lived at the beach?”

Now, I can normally tell when my kids (especially Aimee) are being sarcastic. I’ll give you a hint– it’s A LOT. That’s what I presumed was happening here. For the faintest of moments I wanted to believe that my Dad joke abilities were rubbing off on Aimee and she would carry on my legacy of awkward puns and terrible punch lines. It makes sense, right? She brings in a seashell and a serious look, asks why I never told her we live at the beach, then her face changes and she begins to laugh, and then we all laugh, and then we watch a Disney movie and live happily ever after.

Problem is, the serious look never went away. Where there was supposed to be a punch line instead was suspicion and confusion (on the part of all parties). She continued to stare at me, holding the seashell near my face, one eyebrow slightly raised, patiently waiting for me to explain myself. I did the only thing I could. I lied to a four-year-old. Don’t judge me. You don’t know how intimidating a four-year-old can be. So I offered the the first explanation I could think of. I told her that her mother and I wanted it to be a surprise and we were waiting for her birthday.

That’s right folks. Ain’t no shame in my game. Here’s the best part– apparently my explanation was sufficient. She now held the seashell closer to her and examined it, all the while thinking about what I just said. After a moment’s hesitation she looked up, smiled, and said “I’m so excited! I’m going to tell all my friends we live at the beach!”

And I’m not going to stop her. Because sometimes you’ve just got to pretend you’re living beach side.

Noisetopia

Blood In, Blood Out

I’ve been sitting at this computer and trying to type up a new post for Noisetopia since 3 pm. In the three and a half hours that have elapsed, I’ve probably only been present in this seat for about 14 minutes. I begin to write, then have to press the pause button to go be a parent. My wife is doing what she can. She did just push a tiny human out of her lady parts a few days ago. So I can’t really fault her for not being able to administer swift justice or provide expert medical care for whatever event seems to be going on upstairs.

In the three and a half hours I’ve been sitting/not sitting here, I’ve come to the realization that what we have in this house is an inner city style gang neighborhood, albeit a much more condensed version. Bear with me on this one. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Just about everything I know about gangs comes from TV and/or my Facebook feed. So you can rest assured my gangland knowledge is both extensive and reliable. Everybody knows that if it’s on TV, it has to be true. I assume the same rule applies to Facebook.

Moving on. The first similarity I noticed was that, much like a Gangland neighborhood, the wife and I are pretty much immune to most screams and crashes. Our concern level has more than diminished over the course of raising four kids. Our first child had it pretty bad. If she let out a grunt or whimper from straining too hard trying to poop, the wife and I made an appointment just to make sure she didn’t have Necrotizing Butt-itis or something. If she fell down, we were the helicopter parents that would immediately scoop her up and kiss her boo boos and tell her she’s so awesome at falling. By our second child we had developed a better sense of what to expect. If she developed the ugly-face-farts we didn’t immediately suspect Ass Cancer-itis. When she fell down we still rushed over to help while only mildly giggling to ourselves. So far, our third and fourth child are getting the full benefit of our parenting experience. They pretty much need to be bleeding from multiple orifices and/or have bones on the outside of their body that aren’t normally there for us to get excited. The caveat to that statement is that my wife is a registered nurse and I’m a firefighter/EMT. It takes a little convincing for us to hand our child off to an ER doctor when we have most of what we need to handle minor scrapes and bumps here at the house. Our fourth child is in for a real treat. After she finishes her upcoming boot camp, we’ve got her enrolled in a free summer internship with a coal mining company. Kidding. Point is, after four kids you begin to develop instincts that enable you to gauge a child’s pain level based on tone, cadence, and volume of cry. As cruel as it sounds, sometimes the best course of action is to ignore the screams/crashes/cries and let your kid figure out their own shit. They might develop into a more independent adult because of it.

The second one is pretty easy to recognize if you’ve ever seen a gangster movie. It’s the concept of “don’t talk to The Man.” If the wife and I hear a scream or crash from upstairs that sounds especially concerning/interesting, then we rock/paper/scissors to see who is going to investigate. It’s almost a certainty that when the loser gets upstairs to check out what happened they will confront three stone-faced, tight-lipped little girls. “Crash? What Crash? Screams? Nobody screaming up here. Probably the dog. Or maybe check with the neighbors.” Tell me that doesn’t remind you of every episode of Cops you’ve ever seen. Didn’t see nothing. Didn’t hear nothing. Ain’t saying nothing.

Anybody ever heard “snitches get stitches?” It basically means that if you talk to the authorities, you’re going to get hurt or worse. Same rules apply at our house. Some time after our second child discovered the delightful Art of Combat with her older sister, we began to walk upstairs to investigate crashes/screams and heard faint whispers of “please, don’t tell Mom” or “I’m sorry I’m sorry please tell Dad you fell” or “I’ll cut you if you tell on me.” Okay, maybe not that last one. But it never fails that I’ll walk upstairs to investigate what I am certain was a death match involving medieval weaponry and/or armor only to find a tranquil tea party whose attendants all appear to be enjoying each others company. I’m not sure what kind of back-alley dealings are going on that’s keeping one party from ratting on the other but — whatever the agreement– it seems to work for all parties involved.

Uh oh. Sounds like someone just delivered a 300-style Spartan kick to somebody else’s chest upstairs. Time to gear up and head out. Probably won’t find anything when I get there. After all, nobody talks to the Fuzz. Not in this neighborhood.

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